DEC 23 / 8:00 PM

Antonine University Choir. United Strings of Europe Orchestra 

Valentina Mastrangelo, Soprano. Mira Akiki, soprano

Raffaele Pe, Counter-Tenor. Roger Abi Nader, Bass-Bariton.


Artistic director and conductor:

Toufic MAATOUK                                             


The Choir of Université Antonine, that is an integral part of the Faculty of Music, is celebrating this year its 40th anniversary of foundation. The choir has contributed since the eighties in the cultural enrichment of the Lebanese musical life with a repertory rich in classical and contemporary music, focusing on the Antonine musical tradition and being faithful to the monastic tradition of the Antonine Maronite Order. The Choir of Université Antonine has performed concerts and done tours in: Rome, Milan, Nice, Lyon, Monaco, St. Étienne, Doha, Dubai, Al Aïn in United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Tbilisi, Paris, New york, Los Angeles, Muscat, Naples and Venice… It has participated in the Classical Music Festival of Al Ain (United Arab Emirates 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 also made its debut at the San Carlo opera house performing Mozart’s “Requiem” together with the choir of Teatro Di San Carlo at the Duomo in Naples. Recently, the choir has represented Lebanon in the opening of the Lebanese Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 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 (Naples), 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) and Orchestra Giovanile Mediterranea (Palermo)…

The numerous CDs of the Maronite religious traditions of Université Antonine choir have been produced by editions of the university itself, as well as the new CD “Psalms Vol.2” (Joseph Waked oam, with Orchestra of Teatro di San Carlo – Naples).

Upcoming engagements include Donizetti’s “Messa di Requiem” at Teatro di San Carlo (Naples) in March 28, 2018 and many other concerts are to be expected.


The United Strings of Europe

The United Strings of Europe (USE) is made up of young professionals from across the European Union and Switzerland who celebrate cultural diversity through musical performance, interdisciplinary collaborations, and educational initiatives.

Under the direction of Artistic Director Julian Azkoul and Principal Conductor Franck Fontcouberte, the ensemble has gained recognition for its exciting performances, diverse programming, and wide-ranging pedagogical activities.

With a track record of bringing music to new audiences, USE has worked closely with a number of composers and festivals. Recent premieres include works by Stevan Hristic, the world premiere of Mateja Marinkovic’s Violin Concerto ‘Balkan Tales’ in 2013, works by Arturo Corrales, Bechara El-Khoury and Charbel Rouhana, as well as the world premiere of American composer David Winkler’s Double Concerto No. 3 written for pianist Walter Delahunt, violinist Julian Azkoul and the United Strings of Europe in 2016.

Formed in 2012 at the Royal Academy of Music in London, all the members of the United Strings of Europe are distinguished chamber musicians, orchestral players and soloists who share a passion for ensemble playing. USE has developed an innovate programme of workshops tailored to young people, budding and confirmed musicians, as well as university students in the UK, Switzerland, France and Lebanon. The 2017-18 season includes appearances at Les Voix de Maguelone Festival in France, performances in the U.A.E., the Beirut Chants Festival, recordings for Auddict, conducting masterclasses, as well as educational and performance residencies in Switzerland, France, Lebanon and the UK.


Concert Program

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria in D Major

  1. Gloria
  2. Et in terra pax
  3. Laudamus te
  4. Gratias agimus tibi
  5. Propter magnam gloriam
  6. Domine Deus
  7. Domine, Fili unigenite
  8. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei
  9. Qui tollis peccata mundi
  10. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris
  11. Quoniam tu solus sanctus
  12. Cum Sancto Spiritu

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759): Excerpts of „Messiah“


“Gloria” is Vivaldi’s most famous sacred work and it is among his most important church music compositions. Vivaldi wrote the “ Gloria” as a self-contained work in the style of a concertante mass. However, it was probably also performed within church services.  The scoring of the solo voices suggests that the work was written during his period at the Ospedale della Pietà, one of the orphanages of Venice in which young girls received a thorough musical training. The musically representative work is divided into 12 sections which differ in scoring, movement type, key and expressed emotions.


„The Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other subject. The Subject is Messiah”.

Georg Friedrich Händel’s „Messiah“ is one of the best-known oratorios in western classical music. And the words in the beginning came from Charles Jennes who made the libretto, a compilation of extracts from the bible. The oratorio is structured in three parts. Beginning in the first part with the Messiah’s coming and the virgin birth, predicted by the Old Testament prophets.  Going on in second part with Christ’s Passion and his death, his resurrection and ascension, the first spreading of the gospel through the world, and a definitive statement of God’s glory summarised in the “Hallelujah”.  The third covers the promise of redemption, the prediction of the day of judgement and the final victory over sin and death and the acclamation of Christ. The first performances of this masterpiece took place in Dublin in December 1741 and have been a great success. But when Händel tried to introduce the oratorio to the London audience he found himself in trouble.  The press found the subject of the oratorio as too exalted to be performed in a theatre, particularly by secular singer-actresses. In an attempt to deflect such sensibilities, in London Händel avoided the name Messiah and presented the work as the “New Sacred Oratorio”.