Heart strings

Top Stories

Heart strings

Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra organises festival to promote peace

By Mohamad Kadry

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 29 Mar 2011, 9:59 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:13 AM

The 7th Emirates International Peace Music Festival is back this year, playing at various locations throughout Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah. The annual cultural and charitable event, organised by the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO), will be held from March 30 to April 3 and will feature local talent alongside 40 other nationalities.

The festival will include the Prague Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in addition to world-renowned young music prodigies Ely Choi, the nine-year-old violinist and Sarina Zhang, the 14-year-old pianist and cellist. Award-winning Syrian singer Miral Faisal will also lend her vocal talents to the festivities.

The EYSO, founded by Director and Conductor Riad Kudsi, has organised six annual festivals so far to showcase indigenous talent in the UAE and encourage the participation of emerging musicians. Kudsi hopes to help youth develop the necessary aptitude to contribute to the budding national symphony orchestra in here.

“Young musicians living in the UAE must engage in music education and aim to enrich the country’s talent,” Kudsi said. “In doing that, they will automatically gain a wider forum for showcasing their special skills. Creating a UAE-based orchestra is a major step towards nurturing a rich base of talent within the country and facilitating a platform for an international audience.”

Kudsi’s call for more Emirati talent is relevant, he explained, because during the last 17 years running the EYSO National Conservatory, he has lost more than 500 highly trained students due to migration of expatriate members. Cultivating local musicians means retaining prized talent.

Eight-year-old Emirati violinist Khawlah Al Raihy is a testament to his efforts. After only two years of formal training, she has shown impressive growth and has been showcased in concerts throughout the country. She began learning the violin after being awarded a scholarship from Dubai Media City. The media hub announced that it will offer a special scholarship this year to another budding Emirati musician.

“The festival has proved a perfect avenue for young musicians in the country,” Al Raihy said. “Similar events will help more young musicians to set long-term goals and learn from experts across the globe.”

Kudsi, who is originally from Syria, has studied and played in the most prestigious musical institutes in the world after learning the violin from his father at the age of seven. He has lived in the UAE for 25 years and has been pivotal in popularising classical music among local youth. “If we are going to build and cultivate local talent, we need more support from cultural organisations and ministries,” he said. “We spend large amounts of money bringing internationally acclaimed orchestras here, which I respect, but they come, they play and then they leave. We should begin focusing those investments on our own local youth so we can establish an orchestra that rivals the best around the world. The talent is here, but we need financial backing.”

Entry to the various concerts taking place around the UAE is free, and proceeds from donations will be allocated to various charitable causes. This year’s festival is dedicated to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims.


More news from