Exploring the legacies of Arab music Filed on February 16, 2011

ABU DHABI—Initially, it was designed for Bach, but now Sara Al Quwaini, Maccadi Nahas and Oussama Rahbani will be among those performing in Zaha Hadid pavilion.

Along with Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, Russian ballet and some of the finest classical music, the Abu Dhabi Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), is unveiling something unique this season — the Zaha Hadid Pavilion.

To be set at the Emirates Palace from March 22 to 29, the movable concert hall is dedicated to Middle Eastern talent.“This unique space will bring together some of the Arab world’s most exciting performers and artists, including Rumi-inspired artist Rachid Koraïchi, Jordanian vocalist Macadi Nahhas, Lebanese singer Soumaya Baalbaki, composer and member of the Lebanese musical Rahbani dynasty, Oussama Rahbani and the young talented Emirati opera singer Sara Al Qaiwani in collaboration with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute,” revealed Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of the ADMAF.

The result of a recent agreement signed between the ADMAF and Carnegie Hall in New York, the legendary musical empire from the Big Apple, the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute’s orchestra will come down to Abu Dhabi to accompany the first Emirati opera singer Sara Al Qaiwani on March 22.

The Algerian artist Rachid Koreichi, whose ‘Path of Roses’ exhibition inspired by Sufi poet Rumi will run throughout the festival (March 19 to April 4) at the Emirates Palace will also be part of the Zaha Hadid Pavilion with a lecture about his artistic practices and influences on March 24.

With an angelic voice and intoxicating passion, the Jordanian Macadi Nahhas will be here on March 25 to talk and sing from her traditional Levant music, while on March 28, unheard of as it may be, the Lebanese singer is planning to perform Arabic tango songs.

The pavilion programme will come to an end on March 29 with a piano concert by Lebanese composer Oussama Rahbani, accompanied by Hiba Tawaji and Gilbert Jalk, stars of the recent musical production ‘Zenobia’.

“In addition to these leading Arab artists, the venue will also host Jean-Guihen Queyras the virtuoso cellist who performed to a sell-out audience at the Zaha Hadid Pavilion during the 2010 Holland Festival,” added Al Khamis Kanoo.

Designed by the Iraqi-born architect and Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid, the pavilion was first created in 2009 for the Manchester Art Gallery as a Bach chamber music hall.

The intimate chamber hall created with dynamic acoustics in mind is an elegant, visually inspiring black and white setting with 200 seats under a swirling ribbon meant to follow musical harmonies.

After the Bach concert in Manchester, the pavilion travelled to Holland last year for another classical music performance and it will now be in Abu Dhabi.

The pavilion is a touring venue that will showcase dynamic cross-cultural projects under the theme Arab Creativity in the Architecture of the Future and will feature performances celebrating Arabic cultural and artistic influences.

“Within this beautiful structure we hope to explore the legacies of Arab art and music and reflect on its power to inspire future generations of young Arab artists, poets, musicians. Our commitment to preserving our own musical heritage will be reinforced this year with the beginning of a long-term project to archive our traditions and build a library of written work that will document our history for future generations,” said Al Khamis Kanoo.

Silvia Radan

I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!

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