The Philharmonic Choir opens the season with the testimony of the power of the voice

Descriptive Text

The wonderful atmosphere with the magical voices of the choristers, with works of contrasts, brought a mosaic of sounds. Above all, the proof of the power of the voice in a play of works in contrasts of styles and colors. The concert came as a warning of an extraordinary season of the Kosovo Philharmonic. Conductor Memli Kelmendi and the choristers have been challenged with a program that travels through different eras

From the first moment, at the entrance of the Catholic church "Shën Ndou" in Pristina, the doors of another world open. This is what the Kosovo Philharmonic Choir does with an extraordinary program at the opening concert of the new season, 2023/2024.

The conductor and founder of "Siparantum", Memli Kelmendi, has taken over the leadership in a journey of choral works. It started with "Media Vita" for tenor, mixed choir and drum. The wonderful atmosphere with the magical voices of the choristers with contrasting works brought a mosaic of sounds. The concert was planned a long time ago also because of the international conference "Quo Vadis Choral Music", which will start on Thursday in Peja, where professionals in the field will be present. Attendees of this important event for the choral world in Peja will have the opportunity to see the choristers perform with this concert. With a few changes in the program, but with the same basis.

The conductor and founder of "Siparantum", Memli Kelmendi, has taken over the leadership in a journey of choral works (Photo: Arben Llapashtica)

The varied program of the concert in Pristina continued the magic with works such as that of Johann Sebastian Bach, "Come Sweet Death", "Before" by Mendi Nystedt and "Ater Umbra" for baritone and mixed choir by Memli Kelmendi and with baritone Shaban Behramajn.

"The Philharmonic Choir has opened the season with this concert, which has been planned for a long time, all because of the international conference 'Quo Vadis Choral Music'. We wanted to bring an attractive program for this conference since many professionals in the field will be in Peja. The program you heard tonight in Pristina can be heard in Peja with some minor changes", said Dardan Selimaj, manager of the Kosovo Philharmonic. Among other things, he has told more about the new season of the Kosovo Philharmonic, which, according to him, will be a very busy season with many invited conductors and instrumentalists.

"We can say that the 2023/2024 season will be an extremely busy season with many guest conductors and many current instrumentalists who will come to Pristina with very ambitious programs for which both the Choir and the Orchestra have a lot of work, but I believe that they always mobilize and are extremely prepared when the day of the concert comes. On the other hand, this season will have a special emphasis on the educational program, so we will do many concerts for small children and teenagers", he said.

The long work of the conductor Memli Kelmendi together with the Choir of the Kosovo Philharmonic was also appreciated by the audience. Hans Hermann Rehberg, director of the most popular choir in Germany, "Rundfunkchor" of Berlin, attended the concert among the audience.

He said that the concert held on Tuesday night was very powerful and, above all, it shows all the soloists and the power of the choir.

"I was very pleased because it was very good, very powerful and it showed all the wonderful soloists in the choir and the power that this group of musicians has. I was really happy," he said.

For this collaboration, the conductor Memli Kelmendi himself expressed his happiness because it was not a very long work as needed for such a program, the color that the difficult works for the choir contain. It has shown that each of them is stylistically different. The program, according to him, has been quite challenging and for this he has mentioned several reasons.

"My tendency is always to keep my atmosphere as a conductor and what I feel inside myself, of course, which is sometimes very easy, sometimes more difficult, and I believe that I have managed to do what I wanted to do . To be honest, if we had one more week, maybe I would have felt more comfortable, but I think it went well, maybe here and there there were moments where something could not work well, but those are relative, even if the trials had been a year", he said.

But the conductor's thanks to the tireless work of the choristers and the whole group were not missing.

"Anyway, I want to thank everyone present tonight, the fantastic audience, I want to thank the soloists for their contribution, Visar, Agron, Kaltrina, Etrit, the girls and all those who contributed to bring this concert tonight tonight at this level. I believe it was liked. From my perspective, I think that we have accomplished as much as we have worked, while from the perspective of the public, from the applause, it seems that it is okay", he said.

It didn't end there. He also mentioned the first collaboration with the Kosovo Philharmonic which, according to him, had the same atmosphere, but the second collaboration was stylistically more interesting.

"Actually, it's not my first project, it's my second project, even in the first project I had such an atmosphere, but I'm thinking that the second project was stylistically more interesting and I would say not easy because contains a not easy program for the choir, with the fact that there are different styles and the works are not so easy. However, I consider that it is a job that we managed to successfully complete, successfully present. I am satisfied with the work, I am satisfied with what the choristers gave, we all tried to do our best", said Kelmendi.

Beyond that, the concert had a special point in terms of the program but also as a dedication. Kelmendi dedicated the entire concert with the work composed by him "With a flower" to the member of the Choir of the Kosovo Philharmonic, Diellza Sylejmani, who is going through a health challenge.

The highlight of the whole concert was "Bohemian Rhapsody", the iconic song of the group "Queen". It was brought by the tenor Etrit Nura, accompanied on the piano by Agron Shujaku, and the audience could not stop their applause even for a single second.

Tenor Nura said that it was a wonderful experience for him.

"It was a wonderful experience where I was also the soloist of the song 'Bohemian Rahspody', from the group 'Queen', which was an extraordinary experience. Also, the program was wonderful by conductor Memli Kelmendi", said Nura.

The Philharmonic is clear about what it aims for this season as well. The Choir Concert is just the beginning.