Abu Dhabi Festival returns: Over 1,000 artists to perform live and online

Annual event will include music, dance performances, with a preview concert to take place in December

Photo: File
Photo: File

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Wed 17 Nov 2021, 11:32 AM

More than 1,000 performing artists from around the world will take part in Abu Dhabi's festival where they will present more than 300 live and digital events.

Running under the theme Emirates State of Mind: Creation, Innovation and Joy, and organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), the year-long Abu Dhabi Festival will return to the UAE Capital in January 2022.

The annual festival will feature live and online programme of events, including music and dance performances, with a preview concert to take place in December. Also, among the festival events are two world tours and 16 world premieres.

The programme also features a unique combination of local events set to take place at the Emirates Palace Auditorium, Umm Al Emarat Park and Expo 2020 Dubai, in line with ADMAF’s efforts to enrich the UAE’s cultural vision and further its position as a cultural hub worldwide.

Emirati Ihab Darwish’s world premiere ‘The Abrahamic Symphony: Unity of Three’, to be hosted in October 2022, is expected to be the centerpiece of the festival. The Emirati composer’s new work celebrates the historic opening of the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi.

Darwish will bring together Grammy- and Academy Award-winning film composer David Shire and one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers, three-time Emmy winner John Debney, with top international composers, musicians and vocal ensembles from Christian, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds.

They will be joined by a line-up of internationally leading singers and choirs, as well as the acclaimed Beethoven Academy Orchestra, led by conductor Diego Navarro.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

During a press conference to announce details of the festival, Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival said, “ADMAF has strived to support visionary artists who allow us each year to witness this intricate process. Over the last 25 years, we have been privileged, as an organization, as individuals and as citizens, to be part of a vision that was brought to life by our late founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who crafted the UAE and shaped our society.


“Sheikh Zayed knew that the nation’s heart is its people. With wisdom, patience and humility, he crafted a multi-cultural country – diverse yet united, rooted in its place yet open to the entire world, proud yet friendly, strong yet peaceful, traditional yet innovative.”

Ihab Darwish, an Emirati composer, said, “This year, I’m here to present a new piece of work titled The Abrahamic Symphony: Unity of Three, which reflects the UAE’s core values of peaceful co-existence between diverse religions and cultures, tenets on which this nation was established 50 years ago. This is a land that embraces all - a creative hub that thrives on tolerance.”

Sheikh Mahmoud Al Tohamy from Egypt said, “Abu Dhabi Festival has played a significant role in keeping the civilisation thriving throughout the challenging period of the pandemic.

“In 2022, I will take part in the Abrahamic Symphony, a compelling artwork that combines the three monotheistic religions to deliver noble values and confirm the deep ties between humans, regardless of their beliefs.”

American music producer, Robert Townson said during the conference, “This year the UAE celebrates its 50th Anniversary, and while that truly represents a glorious history, I would suggest that it is merely the beginning or opening act, if you will.

“Contributing in such a powerful way to world culture and the arts, with commissions like this, through the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and Abu Dhabi Festival, is an enormous gift to the world. Truly great music is timeless and eternal. I believe that the Abrahamic Symphony: Unity of Three, will take a place among the great classics of the repertoire and share its message with mankind for all eternity.”


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