Myrna Bustani – About Al Bustan Festival

It’s that time of year again when the cold turns warm with Al Bustan Festival. This year’s theme, Along the Danube to the Black Sea.

BNL asks Mrs. Myrna Bustani, President of Al Bustan Festival a few questions on her thoughts on this unique yearly festival. The woman, with little to say, expresses all her  energy into giving the country a festival to remember.

A little about Al Bustan Festival: It was founded in 1994 establishing a unique and tradition of a music season in winter in Lebanon.

The founders wished to revive the cultural life of a country remerging after seventeen years of war. The Festival has indeed reached its objective, presenting over thirty performers, including opera, orchestral concerts, choral concerts, dance, marionettes and theatre over a five week period (February and March).

The Festival presents a rich and homogeneous program each year, focused around a special theme, celebrating the culture of a country or a city, or exploring a special subject.

In keeping with its cultural vocation, the Festival organizes master classes and workshops, with the participating artists at the National Conservatoire in Beirut and other institutions across Lebanon. The Festival has commissioned works by contemporary composers such as John Taverner, Naji Hakim and Roxanna Panufnik. A Visual Art exhibition is organized each year during the Festival.

Given that the average capacity of the Festival’s venues is about 450 seats, an intimate bond is reached between the public and artists, who are also able to meet after the performances in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The Al Bustan Festival, a member of the European Festival Association (EFA), is a yearly event, not to be missed.

Everyone would like to know the woman behind the AL Bustan Festival that has gained success. Tell us about you?

I know very little about myself.

How did you first decide to set up this festival?

When I realised that there is no good music in Lebanon.

Why is the Festival in winter?

Music brings warmth.

What in your opinion, does it take to set up an event like that?

Perseverance in being stubborn.

What in your professional opinion does it take for an event like this to succeed?

To be off good quality.

Who has been your favourite performer and why?

I do not favour favouritism.

What’s extra special in 2011.

The Danube flowing in Beyt Meri.

For a full schedule on Al Bustan Festival 2011 check out BNL’s calendar of events.

Location: Emile Bustani Auditorium

Date:22 February – 27 March 2011