ABU DHABI // The New York Philharmonic will make its UAE debut in October, it was announced yesterday. The group, the oldest active symphony orchestra in the United States, will feature in the opening night of this year's Abu Dhabi Classics season, hosted by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach). The show, on October 23, will be part of Asian Horizons, the orchestra's international tour of the region.
The tour, which begins in Tokyo, and moves on to Seoul, Singapore and Hanoi, marks the beginning of the conductor Alan Gilbert's tenure as the orchestra's music director. Gilbert is an American violinist whose Japanese mother, Yoko Takebe, plays violin in the orchestra. According to The New York Times, his first season with the orchestra will include a Stravinsky festival to be conducted by Valery Gergiev, commissions by Magnus Lindberg, a Finnish composer, and the presence of Thomas Hampson, a baritone as artist in residence.
Although Adach will not release full details of the Abu Dhabi performance until next month, Mohammed Khalaf al Mazrouei, the director general, said last year's events had "surpassed all expectations". "Only six months after its launch, Abu Dhabi Classics won a 'What's On' award, and the series immediately started to attract its own growing and enthusiastic public," he said. More than 15,000 tickets were sold over the eight months of concerts, and organisers hope that this year will be even more popular.
Visiting stars in the next season will include the violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Frank Peter Zimmermann, the pianist Emanuel Ax, and the conductors Seiji Ozawa, Myung-Whun Chung and Lorin Maazel. The Bavarian State Opera from Munich will present a Wagner Gala, and Venice's Teatro La Fenice will perform two full acts of opera from Verdi's Rigoletto and La Traviata. The Abu Dhabi festival will include the beginning of a Beethoven symphonies cycle, family events, children's concerts and a Valentine's Day gala concert.
The Classics director Till Janczukowicz said that in addition to performances, an educational programme for young musicians will be launched in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic as well as the Philharmonia of London. The Al Ain Classics Festival will take place during the first half of March 2010 under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Al Ain festival will host the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra as residents. The complete Abu Dhabi Classics programme will be available online later this month. firstname.lastname@example.org