Legendary Violinist Maxim Vengerov returns to Dubai for InClassica 2024

The artiste performed at the music festival organised by SAMIT Event Group on February 14

By CT Desk

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Published: Mon 4 Mar 2024, 3:24 PM

The InClassica International Music Festival, organised by SAMIT Event Group, prides itself on its ability to bring some of the world’s top artists and musicians to Dubai’s shores, allowing audiences across the Middle East and beyond to experience these amazing talents in live performance.

The event, which this year was celebrating its 13th edition, is renowned for its lineup of acclaimed maestros, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the concert that took place on the February 14, which was headlined by the living legend that is violinist Maxim Vengerov, performing alongside Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Widely acknowledged as the one of the world’s greatest living string players, Vengerov has spent 40 years performing on stage. First making headlines as a child prodigy, he studied with Galina Tourchaninova and Zakhar Bron, becoming a solo violinist at the age of five and making his first recording at the age of 10. Since then, he has gone on to win multiple Grammy and Gramophone artist of the year awards, and was recently appointed Classic FM’s first ever solo Artist in Residence, among many other accolades and awards, including a Classic Brit Award and five Edison Classical Music Awards.

We met up with Vengerov after his concert, and spoke to him about what continues to bring him back to Dubai, and his experience of this latest visit.

You have now been presenting performances in Dubai for quite a few years. What is it that continues to draw you back to this city?

I absolutely love Dubai! I love coming here because there is an international vibe and everyone feels at home, and I feel at home. This is a very rare thing, when one feels absolutely at home right from the first step – you step into a country and it feels like it’s your own – and Dubai really has this. There’s a lot of great activities here, it’s not only a renowned business centre of the world but it’s a centre for great emergent technologies and also culture. Culture is part of it and it’s developing quite rapidly I feel.

Would you say you have seen a change over the years, and if yes, in what way?

Yes, definitely, and it’s actually really staggering to see the change, especially from the first time when I came to the Emirates! I came to the Abu Dhabi East West Festival back in 2012, and since then I’ve seen the emerging market of classical music just grow more rapidly than I've ever seen before! And the best thing about it is that it’s still on the rise, it’s still going uphill, and I feel it will be 10, maybe 20 more years, until we see it reach its full peak and potential, which is just so amazing to see.

Can you tell us a bit about the concert you performed that night?

I played today with the wonderful pianist Behzoud Abbdiuiam, and we gave a recital as part of the InClassica International Music Festival in the beautiful Dubai opera, which is such a great building and a great institution. InClassica is an amazing event; it invites the absolutely greatest and most wonderful stars, absolutely fantastic musicians, and we both feel very lucky to be here amongst so many other stars.

The audience was exceptional, and I think that’s what makes Dubai so special, because these are international audiences, so there are people from everywhere. It’s very cosmopolitan, everyone comes here from somewhere and everyone has his or her own taste in music and in background and culture. And we’re all here for a musical event and that’s what makes it so special to come here.

What was the thought process behind the programme you performed this evening?

Well, I always like to think of a programme that will have a diversity of emotions, a programme in which everybody will find something for themselves. Here we had the composition from Alexey Shor, the Composer-in-Residence; we performed the marvellous sonata that he has written for me. I really enjoy playing this piece a lot; wherever I have played it, it’s been a lot of fun, and we’ve played it in many, many capitals of the world, including Paris and Brussels, and now we brought it here tonight. Then there were also various other absolute masterpieces like the sonatas of César Franck and Sergei Prokofiev, both absolute pinnacles of the violin and piano repertoire.

Now that your stay at InClassica is over, do you think you’ll be back to Dubai again soon?

I would very much love to come here again. Dubai is one of my favourite stops in general. Whenever I go to Australia or the Far East I always stop here to break the jet lag, so I will definitely be returning again!

For more information about the InClassica International Music Festival, please visit the official website.

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