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An Extraordinary Quintet Of Musical Debuts In The Capital

Abu Dhabi Classics continues its inspirational initiative in February, educating and entertaining with a unique musical offering

The Abu Dhabi Classics season continues to gather momentum, next month presenting two consecutive weekends of world-class concerts along with a ground-breaking musical masterclass targeting the younger audience. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, February’s programme features no fewer than four exciting concerts and a stimulating masterclass: an eclectic mixture of genres ranging from the works of eminent Scandinavian composers to an epoch-making Oscar®-winning film score. An exclusive five-day masterclass series entitled Maestro of the Maestros, aimed at the capital’s aspiring musicians, will start the month off in style. The classes, free and open to the public, will be held daily on 1-4 February from 4-9 pm at the city’s Al Khubairat British School. The four sessions will open up the realm of classical music to the emirate’s younger generation. Presided over by world-famous conducting teacher and Sibelius Academy professor Jorma Panula, the workshop will bring together an orchestra of some 70 musicians aged between 18 and 25 to play with ten visiting up-and-coming young conductors from Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Korea, Finland and other countries. The combined lecture-rehearsal programme is designed to develop the young musicians’ knowledge of the classics, and inspire them to pursue their personal musical ambitions. The last day of this exceptional masterclass series, free and open to everybody, will take place at the Emirates Palace on 5 February. Embracing both music education and a distinctive programme, February’s dual-concert weekend begins with a selection of favourite masterpieces from the doyens of Scandinavian composition on Friday, 6 February, at 8pm in the Emirates Palace Auditorium. The evening’s programme, entitled Scandinavian Landscapes, features the internationally acclaimed Sibelius Academy Orchestra from Helsinki, under the baton of Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who in his distinguished career has championed the work of both popular and lesser-known Scandinavian masters. The wide-open Nordic landscape will be evoked through the romantic music of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite – composed as incidental music to Ibsen’s play of the same name - and the unfailingly energetic Humoresques by Jean Sibelius, which will display the exceptional talents of Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud. A change of musical pace takes place on Saturday, 7 February as the Emirates Palace Auditorium resounds to the haunting strains of Beethoven, Brahms and Rachmaninoff with an evening of chamber music celebrating The Romantic Cello. The great Latvian-born cellist Mischa Maisky – the only person to have studied with both 20th-century Russian cello masters, Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky - will treat the audience to an evening of intensely poignant cello sonatas, accompanied by the award-winning pianist and teacher Pavel Gililov. With not one, but two consecutive weekends of musical entertainment this month, Friday, 13 February also brings The Lord of the Rings Symphony at the Emirates Palace Auditorium in another concert first for the emirate. A stellar line-up of artists from Europe and the Emirates has been assembled to perform this spectacular contemporary musical milestone. Showcasing the combined talents of musicians and singers from both East and West, the concert will feature the renowned German Radio Philharmonic and the spellbinding voices of the chorus Orpheus from Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as the youthful enthusiasm and emerging talent of the United Abu Dhabi Children’s Chorus, the established vocal skills of the Abu Dhabi Chamber Choir and the Al Khubairat Singers. At the helm will be Markus Huber, who has conducted The Lord of the Rings Symphony around the world. Abu Dhabi Classics are delighted to present the music of the legendary Canadian composer, orchestrator, conductor and producer Howard Shore, who created the score for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. An Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy recipient, he is also the name behind the music for such famous films as The Silence of the Lambs, Dead Ringers, The Fly, Eastern Promises, Philadelphia, Ed Wood, Se7en, Dogma, High Fidelity, Panic Room, Gangs of New York, The Departed and The Aviator. Finally, bringing February’s world-class international calendar of concerts to a passionate and dynamic close on Saturday, 14 February, is the King of the Gypsy Violinists, Hungarian Roby Lakatos. In this fitting event for Valentine’s Day, the romantic and elegant setting of the Emirates Palace Terrace, will welcome “the devil’s fiddler”. Lakatos, who has collaborated with such violin masters as Vadim Repin and Stéphane Grappelli, was greatly admired for his virtuosity by the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin. His playing embodies his deep-seated gypsy roots, and his flamboyant manner and flying fingers, effortlessly combining the classics with his own cultural heritage, never cease to leave his audiences wanting more. Tickets for February’s concert programme are available at,, at Virgin Megastores, or by calling the toll free number 800-4669.

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