Toufic Maatouk is active in Lebanon, Bahrain, Italy, France, and the United States of America. He is currently Guest Conductor of the Lebanese philharmonic Orchestra, Artistic director of Beirut Chants International Festival, Artistic director of the chamber music season and the Antonine University chorus (Lebanon) Head of the vocal department in the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory and is a director and lecturer at the Antonine University/Faculty of Music in Beirut.
He holds a PhD in Musicology from the Istituto Pontificio di Musica sacra (Pims) in Rome where he conducted and published different studies on the syro-maronite chants. He furthered his studies in orchestra conducting and opera conducting with E. Nicotra, A. Polyanichko, M. Stringer, A. Polischuk… Moreover, on the stage podium he acquired a large active repertoire of operatic works as assistant conductor with Gabriele Ferro.
As chief conductor, Toufic Maatouk has led the Antonine University Choir for more than 12 years. He collaborated with Al-Bustan International Festival, Baalbeck International Festival, Byblos International Festival (Lebanon), Festival d’ile de France (Paris), Carnegie hall (New York), Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Roma), Teatro di San Carlo (Napoli), Académie de l’Opéra de Paris (France), Al-Ain International music festival (UEA), Bahrain International Music Festival (Bahrain).
While he pursued his studies, Maatouk worked as a vocal coach and at the National Conservatory of Beirut (Lebanon), he was musical assistant conductor at Teatro di San Carlo (Napoli) for different productions. As Founder of the Opera Studio of the Antonine University and the Lebanese National Conservatory, he conducted differents productions such Donizetti’s Elisir d’amore, Rossini’s Barbiere di siviglia, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.
In 2015, Maatouk debut as conductor for Puccini’s Messa di Gloria at Carnegie Hall (New york) and in 2016 he debuts with Mozart’s Requiem at Teatro San Carlo in Naples.
He collaborates with different Orchestras such as the: Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra (Lebanon), Orchestra di San Carlo (Napoli), Orchestra Giovanile Mediterranea (Palermo), Orchestra Roma sinfonietta (Rome), New England symphonic ensemble (New York), Orchestra Los Angeles sinfonietta (Los Angeles), Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Kiev symphony orchestra (Ukraine)… He collaborated with different world renowed artists such: C. Giannatasio, L. Giordano, M. G Schiavo, M. Palazzi, S.J. Cho, D. Masleev, E. Le Sage, X. De Maistres, F. Karaoui, G. Ferro, F. Dego, Modiglinai Quartet, Kodaly Quartet, B. Andrianov, A. Ghindin, C. Di Tonno, R. Bove, L. Cortellazzi, C. Malinverno, A.Karayavuz, D.Zanfardino, F.Vultaggio and others.
In 2016, Maatouk published his new book on the syro-maronite tradition with Geuthner’s edition in Paris (France). Different articles are published on international musicology journals and 11 CD on the maronite tradition with the Antonine University chorus. In 2017, two new CD’s with Orchestra of Teatro San Carlo-Napoli will be released featuring the Antonine University choir. Lately, Toufic Maatouk conducted the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra for a Barbiere di Siviglia production (April 2017) and a premiere of ŠamaŠ Itima (Obscure sun) a 32 voice acappella piece composed by Zad Moultaka and performed by the Antonine University choir to represent Lebanon for the opening of the Lebanese pavillon at the 57th venice biennale (May 2017).
Maatouk 2017-2018 upcoming concert season will include a concert with Académie de l’Opéra de Paris (December 2017) and a return to Teatro di San Carlo- Napoli (March 2018) with Donizetti’s Requiem, A production of Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra (April 2013) and his Bucharest debut with Romanian National Orchestra of The Radio (June 2018). Maatouk will be as well a jury member of the artistic committee at the Biennale des quatuors à cordes at the Philharmonie de Paris in January 2018.
“On my recent N.Y.C.B. visits, I noticed first that the orchestra is considerably improved (…) Fayçal Karoui has added rhythmic verve and a sensuous feeling for timbre. Karoui thrived especially on the Adès score, teasing lyrical lines and visceral rhythms out of its dark, dense orchestration”
What strikes first about Fayçal Karoui besides his great artistic talent is his extraordinary natural dynamism and remarkable commitment in whatever he is taking up. That is how he managed in ten years to bring the Orchestre de Pau Pays de Bearn to the high level they are at now. This is also what made all critics and professionals in New York praise his impressive artistic work with the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 2006 to 2012 and this is now what he is instilling to the Orchestre Lamoureux where he was appointed music director in 2012 until 2014, taking over from Yutaka Sado. Under his leadership, the orchestra has already been invited to major festivals in France and Japan, and has gained impressive interest and support from major media. His talent and personality also convinced the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées‘s general manager to choose Fayçal Karoui and the Orchestre Lamoureux for his production of Fauré’s Pénélope in 2013, with Roberto Alagna and Anna-Caterina Antonacci.
Fayçal Karoui has been invited to guest conduct such prestigious orchestras as the Accademia di Santa Cecilia di Roma, the Orchestre Philharmonie de Radio-France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestra Verdi di Milano, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris, the Hong-Kong Sinfonietta, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Brussels Philharmonic. In 2014 he will conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker for a ballet in Vienna.
Between 2006 and 2012, Fayçal Karoui was music director of the New York City Ballet and was soon noticed by New York critics and professionals, unanimously praising his work there. The New York Times wrote in 2008 that “One of the best reasons for watching City Ballet these days is listening, especially when its music director, Fayçal Karoui, is conducting”. Two years later the same paper wrote: “an important factor is the conducting of Fayçal Karoui: under his leadership, the sheer discipline of the company’s orchestral playing has returned to pre-1990 levels”.
In 2010 he launched the first edition of a festival involving a series of commissions to composers such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thomas Adès, Thierry Escaich at the Lincoln Center.
In Pau, where he has been music director since 2001, Fayçal Karoui also regularly commissions works and offers residencies to leading French composers. He has been extremely active in developing outreach projects and concerts to make music accessible to everyone. He and his dynamic team have managed to triple the number of subscribers in the last 5 years. He conducts a series of 15 yearly concerts, inviting international guest soloists such as Nelson Freire, Nicholas Angellich, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Xavier de Maistre, Patricia Petibon, Natalia Gutman…
In Paris with the Orchestre Lamoureux, Fayçal Karoui chose to return to the orchestra’s fundamentals and specialize on the French repertoire and commissions of new works, paying homage to the orchestra’s prestigious past in the early 20th century when they premiered such major works as Debussy’s La Mer, Ravel’s Bolero and piano concertos and many others.
Just months after obtaining a First Prize in Conducting at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris in J.S Bereau’s class in 1997, Fayçal Karoui was granted the Aida scholarship which allowed him to work during the season with Michel Plasson and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. In June 1998, Michel Plasson offered him to become his assistant. He has since then regularly collaborated with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse. In 1999 he was a prize winner at the Besançon International conducting competition.
Carlo Allemano was born in Torino. He studied with maestro E. Battaglia. In 1989 he was the first prizewinner at the Toti dal Monte Singing Competition in Treviso in 1989, and in 1990 he was the first prizewinner at the Mozart-Competition at the Wiener Staatsoper. Since then Carlo Vincenzo Allemano has established himself as a leading opera and concert singer. He regularly sings with conductors such as Christophe Rousset, Emmanuelle Haïm, René Jacobs, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Leopold Hager, G. Gavazzeni, Marco Guidarini, Fabio Biondi, Alessando DeMarchi. Carlo Vincenzo Allemano has appeared in many of the most important Opera Houses and Festivals: Teatro Alla Scala Milan, Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Volksoper, Bayerische Staatsoper München, La Monnaie Brussels, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Opéra national du Rhin Strasbourg, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Firenze, the New Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, Barbican Theatre in London, the Glyndebourne Festival, Salzburg Festival, Beaune Festival, Ravenna Festival, Festival in Martina Franca…
Carlo Allemano’s opera roles include: Don Basilio in Nozze di Figaro in Teatro alla Scala with Riccardo Muti and in Ferrara with Claudio Abbado (staged by Jonathan Miller); Clemenza di Tito in Venece, La Fenice with Dantone/Heermann; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni in Wiener Staatsoper staged by Gorgio Strehler; Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor in Teatro Regio Torino under the baton of Bruno Campanella; Cassio in Otello in Teatro alla Scala Milan, Bayerische Staatsoper München (Z. Mehta/G.Vick), Orfeo (title-role) in Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Barbican London, Festival Aix en Provence, Champs-Elysées Paris, Grand Theatre de La monnaie Bruxelles) with R.Jacobs/S.Keenlyside; Il Tempo in Händel’s Trionfo del Tempo e del disinganno (Festival Beaune, Champs-Elysées,Valencia,Poitiers…) with E. Haim and Le Concert d’Astrée; Hyllus in Händel’s Hercules in Händelfestpiele Halle under the baton of Alessandro De Marchi; Bajazet in Händel’s Tamerlano in Lille Opera, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with E. Haim; Ercole (title-role) in Vivaldi’s Ercole sul Termondonte in Teatro La Fenice, Wien Konzerthaus, Théâtre des Champs-Elysees with F. Biondi and Europa Galante; Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe in Musikfestpiele Potsdam Sanssouci, Provenzale’s Stellidaura in Innsbruck Festival under the baton of Alessandro de Marchi with Accademia Montis Regalis.
Recent projects include: Verdi’s Requiem with Diego Fasolis, Tito in Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito in Inssbrucker festwochen and in Saint-Etienne with Denis Podalydès: Mozart’s Finta Giardiniera, Podestà, with Emmanuelle Haïm in Dijon and Lille Opera, Pasquini’s La Sete di Cristo in Krakow; Porpora’s Germanico in Innsbruck with Alessandro De Marchi; Cavalli’s Serse in Lille with Emmanuelle Haïm; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in Torino, Teatro Regio… and future projects include: Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Il Testo, with Giovanni Antonini in european tournée; Handel’s Messiah with F. Biondi in Palermo, Teatro Massimo; Handel’s Tamerlano, Bajazet, with le Les Talens Lyriquec, Christophe Rousset; Vinci’s Didone in Florence; Vivaldi’s Teuzzone with Jordy Savall in Barcelona, Liceu; Vivaldi’s Incoronazione di Dario, Dario, in Torino, Teatro Regio, with Ottavio Dantone; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in Liége, Opéra Wallonie; Monteverdi’s Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria, Iro, in Innsbruck ; Mozart’s Lucio Silla in Bruxelles; Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe in Valencia under the buton of Fabio Biondi…
Since 2010 Carlo Allemano has become Gestalt therapist at NGI (Norsk Gestalt Institutt ,Oslo)
Very much on demand around the world, Sonia Prina is one of the leading contralto of her generation. She studied at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan where she graduated in trumpet and voice. In 1996 she was offered a place at the Teatro alla Scala’s vocal Academy for young singers. At only 23 years old, Miss Prina made her debuts as Rosina Barbiere di Siviglia at Teatro alla Scala under the baton of R.Chailly, featuring a young Juan Diego Florez as Almaviva.
Her rare contralto voice is quickly noticed on the international lyric scene. She is the winner of numerous prizes including the prestigious Italian prize of critic “Abbiati” in 2006 and the “Tiberini d’Oro” in 2014 in both cases as best singer of the year.
She is collaborating regularly with conductors such as Rinaldo Alessandrini, Giovanni Antonini, Harry Bicket, Fabio Biondi, Ivor Bolton, Alan Curtis, William Christie, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Christopher Hogwood, René Jacobs, Paul McCreesh, Marc Minkowski, Jean Christophe Spinosì, Patrick Summers, Jordy Savall and appears in productions by Robert Carsen, David McVicar, Pier Luigi Pizzi, John Copley, David Alden.
Highlights include the title role Rinaldo (Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Zurich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival), title role Ascanio in Alba (Salzburg Festival), Clarice La Pietra di Paragone (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), , title role in Gluck’s Ezio (Frankfurt Oper), Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with René Jacobs (Brussels), Polinesso Ariodante (Aix en Provence Festival), and La Resurrezione with Emmanuelle Haïm and the Berliner Philarmoniker. More recently she performed Smeton Anna Bolena at Teatro El Liceu (Barcelona) with Editha Gruberova and Elina Garanca, Isabella Italiana in Algeri (Teatro Regio, Torino), and La Maman, La Tasse chinoise, La Libellule L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (Palermo and Naples). With Jordi Savall she performed Vivaldi’s Farnace (Madrid) & Teuzzone (El Liceu, Barcelona).
Alongside the baroque repertoire, Sonia Prina has made her debut in a more romantic repertoire with roles including Quickly Falstaff in Parma and Turin with conductors D. Renzetti and R. Frizza, Federica Luisa Miller and Beethoven 9th symphony at the at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.
Sonia Prina is particularly fond of Handel and has performed his works wildly including the title roles of: Giulio Cesare (Dresden), Orlando (Sidney, Paris, Dresden), Tamerlano (Munich) Amadigi (Naples), Rinaldo (Zurich, La Scala and Glyndebourne), Silla (Rome). Subsequent handel roles performed are Bradamante Alcina (Paris), Polinesso Ariodante (Barcelona and San Francisco), Bertarido Rodelinda (London and Vienna), Goffredo Rinaldo (Chicago), Amastre Serse (San Francisco and Houston).
Sonia performs the Monteverdi operas Trilogy in which she sings Ottone L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Rinaldo Alessandrini, Penelope Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Ottavio Dantone, Messaggera and Speranza Orfeo with William Christie in Madrid Teatro Real.
A fine recitalist, in 2017 she is “artist in residence” at the Wigmore Hall, London, where she regularly gives recital every year since 2012.
She also performs recitals all over Europe, South America and Japan, with orchestras such as the Venice Baroque Orchestra, Il Giardino Armonico, Accademia Bizantina, Le Concert d’Astrée, Europa Galante, Kammerorchester Basel, Ensemble Matheus.
Miss Prina is regularly invited to return at La Scala in Milan, Théâtre des Champs Elysées and Opéra National de Paris, Teatro Real of Madrid and Teatro el Liceu in Barcelona, Sydney Opera, Barbican Centre, London, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, Munich Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, Aix en Provence Festival, Zurich Opera.
Recognised as an Italian artist, Miss Prina was invited to sing Vivaldi’s Magnificat at the Vatican under the baton of Zhang Xian for S.S. Pope Benedict XVI and the Italian president Mr Giorgio Napolitano.
The Choir of Université Antonine belongs to the Faculty of Music at Université Antonine. Being faithful to the monastic tradition of the Antonine Maronite Order, the choir has contributed since the eighties in the cultural enrichment of the Lebanese musical life by its repertory focusing on the Antonine musical tradition. Its repertory is also rich in classical and contemporary music. The Choir of the Université Antonine has performed concerts and has done tours in Rome, Milan, Nice, Lyon, Monaco, St. Etienne, Doha, Dubai Al Aïn United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Tbilisi, Paris, New york, Los Angeles, Muscat, Naples, Venice etc.… It has participated in the Classical Music Festival of Al Ain (Emirates Arabs Units 2008-2009), Al Bustan International Festival (2009-2016), Byblos International Festival (2010-2011-2013-2014), Baalbeck International Festival (2011), Beirut Chants Festival-Lebanon (2008-2016), Ehdeniyat (2016), Tbilisi Opera Festival (2012), Festival d’Ile de France (2012-2013), and Bahrain International Music Festival (2013) . In May 2010, April 2013 and May 2015, the choir performed at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York. It made its Los Angeles debut in April 2014, performing at the Marsee auditorium at El Camino College, and the LA City Hall. In November 2016, the choir made his debut at the San Carlo opera house season performing Mozart’s Requiem together with the choir of Teatro San Carlo at the Duomo in Naples. Lately, the choir has represented Lebanon in the opening of the Lebanese Pavillon at the 57th Venice Biennale (May 2017) and performed the premiere of ŠamaŠ Itima (Obscure sun), a 32 voices a cappella piece composed by Zad Moultaka.
The Choir performed with several orchestras such as the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Romania Timisoara (Qatar), Orchestra of Teatro di San Carlo- Napoli, New England symphonic ensemble (New York), Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra (Georgia), Musica Sinfonia de Los Angeles, The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia, Orchestra dei pomeriggi Musicali (Milano) Orchestra Giovanile Mediterranea (Palermo) etc.…
The numerous CDs of the Maronite religious traditions for the Choir of Université Antonine have been produced by the editions of Université Antonine.
The Ninth Symphony of Ludwig Van
Beethoven is one of the Masterpieces of
the entire musical world.
And with the first performance in Vienna in 1824, this piece of music turned the musical world upside down. Regardless of the
common rules for composing a symphony, Beethoven included voices in the final movement: The words were taken from the ‘Ode to Joy’, a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785 and revised in 1803, with text additions made by the composer himself.
In the first verse of the poem, it says: “All men shall become brothers”, and with this ode to international brotherhood, the symphony became fully loaded with meaning from its beginning.
It is only natural that this music is often used to show unity and to promote freedom in the world.
Since 1972, the melody of the last movement is used as the European Anthem.
And since the beginning of the 20th century, it became a tradition for many German orchestras to play the Ninth at New Year’s Eve.
In 1818, Ludwig Van Beethoven’s hearing started deteriorating to the point that conversations became difficult, thus necessitating the use of conversation books. Nevertheless, Beethoven’s urge to create music was much more significant than his suffering, thus pushing him to finish his glorious symphony. Beethoven directed the premiere totally deaf, which was irritating, as the concertmaster had to help him keep together the orchestra, choir and soloists as well. Still, the applause at the premiere was astounding. The impact of this magnificent musical piece on the composers who came after Beethoven was tremendous.
Some of them didnot know how to handle the symphony genre, prior to the great composer’s Ninth. Forexample, Johannes Brahms needed more than 14 years to write his first symphony, and noted: ‘You have no idea how it feels to hear behind you the trampling feet of a giant like Beethoven’.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony 9th d-moll op. 125
First performance May 7th 1824 at the Kärntnertortheater Vienna. Dedicated to King Frederick William II of Prussia.