Abu Dhabi Festival to thrill audiences with star-studded line up of concerts and performances

Press release
Published March 15th, 2011 - 10:19 GMT
Abu Dhabi Festival 19th March – 4th April to celebrate diversity and harmony of the arts
Abu Dhabi Festival 19th March – 4th April to celebrate diversity and harmony of the arts

Preparing for its eighth successive season, the Abu Dhabi Festival held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, promises to delight audiences with a feast of artistic talent from 19th March to 4th April. With a selection of the world’s best performers gathering in Abu Dhabi, the Festival gives residents and citizens of the UAE an amazing opportunity to experience the magic of the arts.

Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival Her Excellency Mrs. Hoda I Al Khamis Kanoo said: “The Abu Dhabi Festival is a celebration of the arts’ overwhelming and enveloping spirit of harmony. We are committed to bringing the world-class performers, artists amd musicians to Abu Dhabi and this year is no different. Our programme in 2011 seamlessly combines opera with jazz, ballet with contemporary dance, the musical poetry of the great classical composers with the poetry of Shakespeare’s written word and explores the great historical traditions of our own Arabic culture in the unique Zaha Hadid Pavilion.” 

Highlights of the main programme

The Festival will enrapture those who are encountering different genres of the arts for the very first time as much as those who are already familiar with their beauty. The main programme brings together the world’s greatest talents. With classical music, traditional Arabic music, jazz, opera, chamber music, ballet and contemporary modern dance productions, and visual arts there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

Kicking off this year’s Festival the theme being ‘Harmony for Humanity’ is the GCC premiere of the Path of Roses exhibition by eminent Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi from March 19 to April 4. Extending the theme of ‘Harmony for Humanity’, each year the Festival welcomes a country of honour to share cultures of understanding and mutual appreciation. This year, that honour goes to Belgium. In celebration of this, the music of classical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, presented by The Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and performed by the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Belgium’s most illustrious classical ensemble conducted by virtuoso violinist Augustin Dumay, will inaugurate the Festival in 2011, performing an evening of Mozart Masterpieces on Saturday, 19 March. Soloists will include the acclaimed pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha alongside soloists Christia Hudziy on piano, Maxim Rysanov on Viola and Nikitia Borisa-Glebsky on violin, all members of the eminent Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, Belgium. 

Committed to showcasing new and exciting forms of art in Abu Dhabi, the Festival is delighted to host the ground-breaking contemporary dance production PUSH on Wednesday, 23rd March. The Sadler’s Wells London production will be performed by award winning dancer and choreographer Russell Maliphant and Sylvie Guillem, widely regarded as the greatest ballerina of her generation. A fusion of ballet and contemporary dance, this stirring production has thrilled audiences world-wide, rousing the senses through an interplay of music, dance, rhythm and light.

Performing a more traditional programme of classical ballet will be Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko in a ballet gala evening on Friday, 1stApril. Maxim and Irina will be joined by a selection of the world’s best dancers from The Bolshoi and Marinsky. Accompanied by the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Maestro Valery Ovsyanikov the repertoire will include some of ballets most beautiful and iconic dances including excerpts from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.

On Saturday, 2nd April, the Festival’s orchestra-in-residence, the Russian National Orchestra, will be joined by Grammy award winning pianist Yefim Bronfman for a spectacular performance entitled ‘Bronfman and Brahms’. Conducted by Italian maestro Nicola Luisotti, this unmissable evening of entertainment will celebrate three of classical music’s greatest composers – Brahms, Beethoven and Verdi. The spine-tingling overture to Verdi’s opera ‘La Forza del Destino’ will open the programme, followed by the Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat when the orchestra will be joined by Yefim Bronfman. The programme will close with possibly the world’s most instantly recognisable piece of classical music, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor. 

For the second year in a row jazz comes to the Abu Dhabi Festival, this year in the form of the seven-time Grammy Award winner Al Jarreau. Undoubtedly one of the greatest cross-over artists of all time, Jarreau brings his unique vocal talent to Abu Dhabi audiences on Sunday 3rd April. 

Bringing the curtain down on what is sure to be the most successful Abu Dhabi Festival to date is a fabulous evening celebrating some of the world’s most famous and much-loved operatic works by Mozart, Rossini and Verdi. Performed by Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and soprano Ekaterina Siurina alongside the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti on Monday 4th April, the programme will be jam-packed with audience favourites.

Zaha Hadid Pavilion: Celebrating Arabic Creativity

The unique chamber hall structure of the Zaha Hadid Pavilion will host a programme developed to explore the legacy of Arab art, music and culture in 2011. This futuristic temporary structure, designed by acclaimed Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was co-commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Festival with partner festivals the Manchester International Festival and the Holland Festival. This intimate venue, seating only 200 will be located on Emirates Palace Lawns.

The diverse programme offers both music and song and visual arts. Musicians from The Academy – an ensemble group comprised of performers from Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute will collaborate with Emirati opera singer Sara Al Qaiwani in an intimate evening of Mozart, Schubert, Ravel and Schumann. Other leading Arab artists participating include Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi, Jordanian vocalist Macadi Nahhas, Lebanese chanteuse Soumaya Baalbaki, composer and member of the Lebanese musical Rahbani dynasty Oussama Rahbani. Virtuoso cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will also take to the stage to perform a recital of four of the Bach Cello Suites, having performed in the same structure at the Holland Festival 2010.


To find out more about the programme for the Abu Dhabi Festival 2011, please visit www.abudhabifestival.ae.

Tickets for the Abu Dhabi Festival 2011 can be purchased online from www.timeouttickets.com or at the Emirates Palace ticket desk open daily from 3 to 7 pm. For further information, please call 050 907 6158.

Background Information

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation

Through arts education, community arts and special projects, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has been nurturing creativity across the UAE for more than two decades. Since its establishment by Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo in 1996, it has been at the forefront of the UAE’s arts sector, inspiring young people, the public and artists, enabling creative expression through a wide range of programmes and projects. By bringing together audiences and institutions, the Foundation has helped embed arts and culture in the heart of the nation.

It seeks to nurture the arts, education, culture and creativity for the benefit of society and the advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision, motivated by the belief that culture is the key that unlocks a nation’s creativity and the language that transcends borders. Culture is the anchor that unites a nation and ADMAF undertakes a broad range of initiatives and events each year to bring together diverse audiences in the UAE and internationally. As well as fostering close communities and cross-cultural dialogues, the Foundation also recognises the fundamental right for every person, regardless of age or ability, to access, understand and appreciate cultural expression.

Abu Dhabi Festival

Abu Dhabi Festival is organized by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. The Festival is the UAE's foremost celebration of art and culture bringing together the greatest musicians, performers and artists from both the East and West in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. It seeks to reflect the determination of the capital to take the lead in cultural understanding.

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