LAU Hosts Czech Musical Ensemble for Its First Concert in Lebanon
The Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri merges cultures with the Department of Communication, Arts and Languages in their inaugural concert at LAU.
At noon on June 13, harmonies of classical choral repertoire resonated in the Irwin Hall Auditorium as the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri lined up on stage. Adorned in their cassocks and surplices, the choristers of Boni Pueri performed a medley of Czech folk songs and Broadway selections to a full house.
Led by the conductor Marek Štilec, who has been the main choirmaster of Boni Pueri since 2019, the choir delighted the audience with a cultural exchange of its own kind from the comfort of their seats.
As part of the First International Choir Festival “The Boys are Singing,” the Boni Pueri choir has held numerous concerts around the world and, through the assistance of Artist in Residence Reem Deeb, came to perform at LAU in the titular event.
This event is one of many she has held in support of the Performing Arts program. In doing so, Dr. Deeb is not just helping to provide exposure for students to global artists, but also welcoming the outside art world, as always, to LAU.
Dr. Deeb opened the concert with Ave Maria in an emotive and full timbre, using the light vibrato of her soprano voice to set the atmosphere for orchestral highs and lows. Accompanying her, Pianist Vartan Agopian showcased his virtuosity on the piano as he navigated intricate melodies with flair. Along with Danish diplomat and flutist Jacob Faber Silén, these talented musicians brought the compositions to life, evoking a range of emotions and leaving the audience spellbound.
“I thought that bringing the choir boys to LAU would be an amazing idea for their concert tour in Lebanon,” said Dr. Deeb. “I put my conditions that LAU should hold the first concert on the tour … I wanted to promote LAU as an institution that supports and promotes culture through concerts.”
When Dr. Deeb approached LAU President Michel E. Mawad with her suggestion, he “was eager to jump on the idea,” he said. Dr. Deeb managed to obtain a budget to follow through.
To set up the event, Dr. Deeb coordinated with Dr. Agopian – a friend and a colleague who had accompanied her on the piano at several performances. The thought of having Lebanon as the choir’s primary host before other countries felt like a calling they needed to answer.
Dr. Agopian was “honored to be performing with the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri in their first-ever concert in the Middle East, especially here at LAU,” he noted. “This is the initial concert among many which will be held throughout the month of June. As the only Lebanese in the group, I am proud.”
In attendance were representative diplomats from the British, Columbian, Ukrainian and Danish embassies, as well as the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Lebanon Mr. Jiří Doležel. The concert culminated with Dr. Mawad distributing awards to Dr. Deeb, Dr. Agopian and Maestro Marek Štilec along with the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri for their vivid display of culture and tradition.