Composer Jean-Philippe Rieu hailing from Eysden, recently performed in Oman. He brought homage to the Sultan, who in turn presented him a very high cultural decoration.
In a few weeks he will return to Oman to personally present his new CD, "Secrets of the Soul" to Sultan Quaboos Al Said. Composer Jean-Philippe Rieu is still under the influence of the concert he recently conducted for a select group of diplomats and governmental representatives in the little Gulf State of Oman.
At the invitation of Dutch Ambassador Stefan van Wersch, the classical musician traveled to the Mid-East. The diplomat, who hails from Maastricht, arranged for the ensemble, consisting of Rieu along with Inge Stallings-Gorissen, violin, Manou Liebert, harp, and for this occasion only, soprano Catharina Marquet, to perform for the personal advisor of the Sultan. "Unfortunately the Sultan himself was not present," reflects Rieu. "On that day he was attending a conference of all Gulf States". With his specially conducted "Ode to the Sultan", Rieu left an indelible impression behind. "I composed it as a tribute to him. His advisor Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Rowas wanted that music immediately. I will now place it on a CD and in March will present it to Sultan Quaboos Al Said".
After the concert, Rieu received the highest cultural award. "This was of course a complete surprise. In Oman I was treated with lots of love and respect. Art, music and culture are binding factors across the entire world. We, in the Netherlands have become quite intolerant. You could even say disorderly. In that aspect we surely could use the people of Oman as an example". For his performance in the capital city of Muscat, on the eve of the Sultan’s fortieth anniversary, the 52 year old Jean-Philippe Rieu composed a tailor made program. He played his own compositions and works from Vivaldi, Debussy, Salieri and Mozart.
In his tribute "Ode to his Majesty Sultan Quaboos Al Said" he describes the beauty and prosperity which Oman has known for the last forty years, and wishes the Sultan and his people happiness and peace. "Prior going, I had immersed myself deeply into the history of the country. In several decades
Oman went from the Middle-Ages and ended up in the Renaissance. The Sultan ensured that. Illiteracy no longer exists. More than thirty percent of the civil servants are women. Medical care is one of the highest developed cares in the Arabian World. All that information inspired me to write the ode." Rieu is inspired with awe by Oman.
Although he only performed just one concert, he did have the opportunity to see something of this Arabian country. "We were there for ten days, and those days just flew by. Oman is about eight times the size of the Netherlands, and we did go into the countryside and visited the oasis. It was wonderful to experience that. The country is very busy catching up, and Oman has its own symphony orchestra and they are building their own opera house". The presence of Jean-Philippe Rieu in Oman was big news. He conducted several interviews and the newspapers published several stories about him.