First Published: 2010-09-21


Abu Dhabi Classics season announces third season of concerts


Third Abu Dhabi Classics season focusing on world’s finest symphony orchestras.


Middle East Online

October 2010 to May 2011

ABU DHABI – The third Abu Dhabi Classics season was announced in Abu Dhabi Sunday by Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.

With two hugely successful seasons already behind it, the third Abu Dhabi Classics season continues presenting the world’s most distinguished symphony orchestras in glamorous evening concerts at the Emirates Palace Auditorium and at the atmospheric Al Jahili Fort. Many of them will also perform Young People’s Concerts the next morning that are especially designed for Abu Dhabi schools.

Abu Dhabi Classics opens on Wednesday, October 6 at the Emirates Palace Auditorium with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and Daniele Gatti making their United Arab Emirates debut. The concert continues the Abu Dhabi Classics Mahler cycle which has already presented Symphony no. 2 with Zubin Mehta and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Symphony no. 1 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert. Launching the composer’s double-anniversary season under Maestro Daniele Gatti, a noted interpreter of Mahler’s works, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is featured in the spectacular Fifth Symphony, an emotional roller-coaster that includes the lovely “Adagietto” for strings and harp, made famous in Visconti’s film Death in Venice.

On Tuesday, November 9 the Berlin Philharmonic’s debut performance at the Abu Dhabi Classics marks a „historic return“ to the Arab world. Recognised as the world's greatest, the orchestra performed in 1951 under Wilhelm Furtwängler in Cairo and under Herbert von Karajan at the 1968 Baalbeck Festival. In 1975, Karajan conducted the orchestra in Teheran.

Exactly 35 years later, lead by Sir Simon Rattle, the concert at the Emirates Palace Auditorium will underline Abu Dhabi’s dominant role as the region’s leading cultural hub.

Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Sir Simon Rattle is one of the most revered and dynamic conductors of our time. To experience Mahler with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Haydn and Brahms with the "Berliner Philharmoniker" in two consecutive months is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Besides the continuation of the Mahler-Symphony-Cycle, program highlights also include Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 4 and 5 with Daniel Barenboim in January 2011.

Equally famous as a pianist, Daniel Barenboim will also appear as soloist in a Mozart piano concerto while conducting his "Staatskapelle Berlin". Abu Dhabi Classics will continue its association with the Al Ain Classics, taking place in early March 2011 under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Highlights include concerts with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, one of Italy’s leading symphony orchestras under the direction of Chief Conductor Juraj Valcuha, featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Dvorak’s cello concerto. On March 5, Yo-Yo Ma will give a cello recital at the Courtyard of the Al Jahili Fort. After concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic in previous seasons, this musical highlight underlines the growing international importance of the Al Ain Classics Festival.

Strengthening Abu Dhabi’s artistic relationship with Venice, one of Europe’s most important cultural cities, the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice returns with a glamorous opera gala featuring Giaocchino Rossini’s "Barbiere di Siviglia". The performance in April will feature an exciting cast of young singers.

The closing concert of the 2010/2011season marks a journey from New York’s Broadway to Hollywood. London’s BBC Concert Orchestra and Chief Conductor Keith Lockhart will present highlights from movies, musicals and special guests.

Almost no orchestra will leave Abu Dhabi without contributing to the Abu Dhabi Classics education programme. Performances that are especially designed for Abu Dhabi’s young generation and the highly successful series of Young People’s Concert will be continued by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice. In addition to the evening concert on October 6, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will present a Young People’s Concert at the Emirates Palace Auditorium on Thursday October 7 at 11.30 am. Daniel Barenboim will explain

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice prepares a special "opera for kids" event.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, said that “the association between Abu Dhabi Classics and Al Ain Classics is of significant strategic importance. Underlining the unique role of the scenic oasis city of Al Ain, this artistic association will assist in creating international visibility for Al Ain, the heritage pearl of the UAE. I am happy to see that the concert series successfully motivated European cultural travellers to visit Abu Dhabi and Al Ain – a phenomenon that will continue this season”.

“We are thrilled to present the third concert season with a world-class line-up of international orchestras in the United Arab Emirates,” said Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). “The first two Abu Dhabi Classics season were enthusiastically embraced by audiences and showed that we have a big public for quality classical music performances. I am especially happy to see thousands of children witnessing the Young People’s Concerts."

Abdullah Al Ameri, ADACH Director of Arts and Culture, pointed out that "... Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Classics stand for the determination and persistence of the UAE capital to make art, music and culture part of everyday life. We are on our way to become a leading centre in the cultural world."

Executive Director Till Janczukowicz referred to the mission of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Classics to present classical and romantic masterpieces in the best possible way: “We are proud to host the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and personalities such as Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma in one season. Let me quote one of our this year’s musicians, Sir Simon Rattle, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker: ‚Music is no mere luxury, but instead a fundamental need. Music must be a vital and essential element in the life of each individual’."

As pre-opening event of the 2010/2011 season, ADACH and Abu Dhabi Classics present the "Abu Dhabi Classics Run" on September 29, 30 and October 1st at the Corniche: a classical music and health awareness charity event that challenges the time it takes Beethoven's 5th Symphony to be played. A FAMILY WALK, CHILDREN'S WALK & ELITE RUN will produce proceeds towards Abu Dhabi Classics music education and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City diabetes prevention programs.

Abu Dhabi Classics is the first year-round performing arts series in the Arab World and was launched in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan. The series forms a central part of the ambitious cultural vision of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is part of a wider strategy to make art, music and culture part of daily life in the United Arab Emirates. Besides presenting the classical and romantic core repertoire in atmospheric indoor and outdoor venues, Abu Dhabi Classics is initiating various educational programs in collaboration with schools, universities and some of the world’s most distinguished music institutions. The season regularly attracts numerous of European travellers that come to visit Abu Dhabi and Al Ain for the first time because of the Abu Dhabi Classics. Besides its cultural and educational importance, Abu Dhabi Classics plays a significant role as a creative force in tourism.

For more information about Abu Dhabi Classics, a full schedule, travel information and tickets visit


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