10/12/2020, 17.13
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The Custos’s Terra Sancta Organ Festival, stronger than the coronavirus

The 2020/2021 edition has kicked off with the first events in Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tel Aviv. In the midst of the pandemic emergency, organisers want to use the Internet and social media to reach the general public. The first concert before a live audience will be held in Beirut, in January, to honour to the victims of the explosions at the port.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The 2020-2021 edition of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival, the largest music festival of its kind in the Middle East and the Levant, just started in Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tel Aviv.

Sponsored by the Custody of the Holy Land, the festival includes 42 events held all over the world. The first ones were held between 5 and 8 October whilst the last ones will culminate in a grand finale in Washington (DC), on 16 May 16. In between, various cities, including Damascus and Beirut, will host concerts, the first one before a live audience in the Lebanese capital.

The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped one of the most important musical and cultural events in the region, although it has prompted organisers to come up with a new formula, one that will open up new horizons for the public.

"The new situation has happily forced us to consider a segment of the public that we had neglected so far, that is, the one that reaches us through the internet and social media,” said Br Riccardo Ceriani, delegate for music of the Custos of the Holy Land and festival superintendent.

For the religious, it is “an audience that among other things is more numerous and with whom one can interact. This is why we have planned the Internet Pipe Organ Season of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival.”

"The musical season on the internet includes ten live concerts, nine premieres of new or never previously performed concerts, and five repeat concerts for organ and orchestra,” explained Br Ceriani. “

This is a “total of 24 full concerts, plus a selection of video clips every Thursday for a total of 42 events until 16 May 2021, the date of the last live concert. After the first broadcast, these concerts will remain available on the festival's YouTube channel and Facebook page.”

Whilst waiting for the public to be allowed to attend these events and enjoy them in person, the concerts will be performed without spectators and broadcast via the internet on the Terra Santa Organ Festival website (which has the complete programme), YouTube channel, and Facebook page .

Starting this year, events will also be available on the website and social media of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.

This is why, the traditional season of concerts is accompanied by the Internet Pipe Organ Season, designed specifically for computers, smartphones and tablets, with live streaming concerts, new productions premiered and full concerts of past editions never available before.

The festival began on 5 October in Jerusalem, followed by an “organ marathon” in Nazareth, Br Ceriani said. These concerts lasted longer than usual with several musicians alternating on stage.

"Due to the difficulty of bringing musicians from abroad in this period, we took the opportunity to invite major organists residing in Israel such as Roman Krasnovsky, Alexander Gorin and Yuval Rabin. Sister Cecilia Pia Manelli's participation will be very interesting. She is the organist of the Holy Sepulcher, and will perform music and improvisations from the liturgy of the basilica.”

The first event with the public will take place during the Lebanese Organ Week, from 29 January to 7 February, 2021. This will be a “sign of life to restart after the explosion at the Port of Beirut, if the coronavirus lets us.”

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