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BEIRUT CHANTS FESTIVAL 2023 : Jesus, The Son of Man


13/12/2023 à 20:00

Henri Zgheib, Text adaptation
Iyad Kanaan, Music
Philokalia Choir
Sr. Marana Saad, Conductor


Philokalia choir

Founded in 2010 under the leadership of Sr. Marana Saad, Philokalia Choir (previously known as the Saint Rafqa Institute Choir) has firmly established itself as a prominent choir in Lebanon and the wider region, presenting an extensive and diverse repertoire covering classical music (Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, and Dvorak), Arabic music (Sayyed Darwiche, Rahbani Brothers, Marcel Khalife, Charbel Rouhana, etc.), and Syro-Maronite music (traditional music, Toufic Succar, Iyad Kanaan, etc.).

The choir appeared in numerous festivals, both in Lebanon and and on the international stage, including Baalbeck International Festival, Byblos International Festival, Beirut Chants Festival, Les Musicales du Liban à Paris, Zouk Mikael International Festival, Lebanese International Choir Festival, Amchit Festival, and the Crossroad Festival in Cyprus. The choir has also had the honor of performing in prestigious venues like the Presidential Palace in Baabda, the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerke, and Casino du Liban. Their performances spanned cities across the globe such as Virginia and Washington (USA), Frankfurt, Rome, Paris, Limassol, and Krakow, where they participated in World Youth Day with Pope Francis.

Over the years, the choir has forged an enduring collaborative partnerships with distinguished artistic figures, such as Marcel Khalife, Charbel Rouhana, Iyad Kanaan, George Khabbaz, Khaled Mouzannar, Majida El Roumi, Lubnan Baalbaki, Oussama Rahbani, Hiba Tawaji, Lena Farah, Rafca Fares, and Lucas Sakr, to name a few.

To date, the choir has released a total of 12 albums, which include “Maronite Mass”, “Rafca” (2014) and “Salami ma’ik” (2016).

 Sr. Marana Saad

Founding president of Philokalia Institute and Organization, Sr. Marana Saad holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Saint Anselm’s University in Rome and a Ph.D. in Musicology from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik. In addition to her academic achievements, she possesses an Executive Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership from George Washington University in the USA, and has followed a Sensitization to Music Therapy training from the Nantes Music Therapy Institute in France. She is an instructor in both Theology and Musicology at various universities and institutes. As of 2022, she is a member of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO in Lebanon.

Her journey in choral conducting began under the tutelage of Maestro Walter Marzilli at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra in Rome. In 2010, she founded the Philokalia Choir (formerly known as the Saint Rafca Institute Choir) and later went on to establish two more vocal ensembles, “Hymnos” and “Ashtar,” specializing in western polyphonic and Arabo-Oriental music. With the choir and the vocal ensembles, she went on global tours performing in France, Cyprus, Italy, Poland, Germany, and the United States. 

As a lecturer, Sr. Marana participated in numerous conferences and workshops (Vatican, Rome, Tallinn, Richmond, Limassol, Zagreb, and Stockholm). She published several articles covering topics in theology and spirituality, sacred music, choir management and leadership.

ORATORIO “Jesus the Son of Man”

“Jesus the Son of Man” is the longest book that Kahlil Gibran ever wrote (1928). It relates Jesus’s words and deeds as told and recorded by those who knew him personally.

Out of 79 characters in the book, and upon the request of Sister Maestra Marana Saad, the poet Henri Zoghaib chose the testimonies of 5 characters and set a scenario and a dialogue for them as well as for the chorus. The composer Me Iyad Kanaan wrote the music for the oratorio that will be the Philokalia gift to the believers for this Christmas 2023.




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