28th Sep

A new season of Abu Dhabi Classics - an eight-month-long series of classical concerts and performances by some of the world’s leading musicians and orchestras – is due to begin in October across the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

With a new and expanded programme of 26 performances in the UAE capital, Saadiyat Island, Liwa desert and historic sites in the emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain, the new season will run until May 2016 and include performances from some of the most prestigious names in Western and Eastern classical music.

The season is presented by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) as part of the Authority’s Music Programme 2015/16, with a theme of ‘Music and Poetry’ and explores how the two come together, especially in light of the emirate’s affinity to poetry.

The TCA Abu Dhabi Music Programme also includes the Emirati Music Series, Bait Al Oud Concert Series, the World Intangible Heritage through Music Series and, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Umsiyat events in Mushrif Park.

Opening its doors to orchestras from Asia, the 2015/16 Classics programme will start with the Symphony Orchestra of India performing on 7th October in Abu Dhabi city and 8th October in Al Ain with a classical repertoire inspired by Indian culture. The visit of the 70 musicians will be their first in the emirate.

Later in May 2016, the celebrated China Philharmonic Orchestra from Beijing, under the baton of leading conductor Long Yu, will take centre stage for the first time in the region with two concerts in Abu Dhabi city and Al Ain dedicated to Gustav Mahler and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

H.E. Mohammed Khalifa Ahmed Al Mubarak, Chairman, TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “By promoting traditional Emirati music along with international classical music and regional artists, TCA Abu Dhabi can offer world-class performances to everyone in the UAE. We want our youth to feel inspired by what they hear and see, and encourage them to bring music into their lives; whether that is learning a traditional Emirati instrument like the rebabah, or a classical instrument like the violin, or creating their own musical pieces, or simply taking an active interest in the lives and achievements of the great musicians here, and around the world.”

Among the highlights of the season will be Jordi Savall’s tour of the emirate with his creation ‘Ibn Battuta Traveller of Islam’, this time in the inspiring settings of Mushrif Park in Abu Dhabi city and Liwa Oasis in November; and the return of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from the UK, who will perform Beethoven’s iconic 7th Symphony at Emirates Palace and also present a stunning film music night dedicated to the famous British spy James Bond at the historic Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain.

In January, Abu Dhabi will host the rising ensemble of the Iberian Peninsula, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, with two concerts, including Gustav Mahler’s impressive 6th Symphony and Manuel de Falla’s symphonic homage to his country’s Hispano-Arabic past, ‘The Nights in the Gardens of Spain’.

A few weeks later, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain will see the first appearance in the Gulf region of one of classical music’s greatest stars, the Argentinian/Swiss pianist Martha Argerich, together with violin virtuoso Gidon Kremer and his Baltic string ensemble, Kremerata Baltica.

Dr Ronald Perlwitz, Head of TCA Abu Dhabi Music Programme, Culture Sector, said: “We are looking forward to a dynamic new season of classical music here in Abu Dhabi. Again some of the world’s greatest musicians are among the line-up. What we are aiming to achieve is to find those musicians that share and progress our artistic convictions. Music has always been about dreams, building new worlds and understanding each other. This year’s theme, ‘Music and Poetry’ also leads to that and explores how written words and notes can work together to answer our questions. A magnificent season lies ahead of us, we can’t wait for it to begin.”

Abu Dhabi Classics will also welcome in March 2016 for one month, the world-leading Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra that will play three concerts dedicated to Beethoven’s Symphonic work and to contemporary music, including a world premiere by the leading French composer Bruno Mantovani.

For these concerts, some of the world’s most renowned soloists will be coming to Abu Dhabi such as cellist Gautier Capucon, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and the acclaimed conductor Christoph Eschenbach.

Given this year’s theme and the link between music and poetry, the prestigious poets, Adonis and Gulzar, as well as major musicians such as Oud master Naseer Shamma and German baritone Matthias Goerne will also make appearances during the Classics season.

The Abu Dhabi Classics Awards for Young Performers in February 2016, will also be part of a truly international and prestigious music programme across the emirate.