Jaloul Ayed, composer, at the Kennedy Center/World Leadership Forum
Composer and Tunisia Minister of Finance, Jaloul Ayed
Tunisia's revolution/Wikimedia Commons/Rais67
To pay tribute to the first anniversary of the January, 2011 uprising in Tunisia which ultimately cascaded into Arab Spring triggering the people's revolts against harsh regimes in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, the Embassy of Tunisia with the Tunisian Ministry of Culture hosted a gala concert Monday evening at the Kennedy Center, composed for the occasion by none other than Tunisia's minister of finance, Jaloul Ayed.
Premiering in the U.S., Hannibal Barca, the Symphony commemorates composer Ayed's longtime hero, Hannibal Barca, who in the third century B.C., marched with 40 elephants and 80,000 warriors across the Pyrenees and Alps Mountains from Carthage into Rome, defeating an army twice the size and capturing Italy for 15 years.
With resounding clashes and horns heard gloriously throughout the hall, Conductor Jean-Charles Biondi enthusiastically led the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, augmented by many Tunisian musicians who joined in making triumphal music for the audience of 2,000 which excitedly applauded at the end of the three movements, The Pride of Carthage, The Long Crossing, and The Glorious March.
Ayed composed the music to honor not only the feats of Hannibal Barca but to link his victories with that of a young fruit vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, who, in December, 2010, set himself aflame, so frustrated by despicable acts of the Tunisian government. The cause for Bouazizi's action enraged the Tunisian people who, one month later, took down their government, laying the foundation for other nations to follow.
Said one listener afterwards, "I heard a lot of Arabic influences," but others disagreed, hearing only the powerful sounds of victory.
Beginning the evening's performance were the Tunisian and the American anthems followed by Verdi's Overture to La forza del destino which the Opera House Orchestra played with the vigor and polish of the expertise it owns.
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