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Al Ain music festivals will feature wealth of local talent next month

Fans of classical music will have much to enjoy.
Al Ain Chamber Orchestra performing at the Al Ain Music Festival last year. Paolo Rossetti
Al Ain Chamber Orchestra performing at the Al Ain Music Festival last year. Paolo Rossetti

Al Ain will be a hub of music next month with two festivals running simultaneously.

The Al Ain Music Festival returns for its second edition on October 31. The three-week event will feature local and international artists and a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from rock and blues to folk and classical.

A more competitive atmosphere can be found in the Al Ain Festival Competition: The Gardens of Sheikh Zayed, which runs from November 11 to 16.

Organised by the Elite Music Institute in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the event will also feature guest performances by international artists.

The Al Ain Music Festival

Year two is bigger and better than the inaugural event, according to the

organiser and Al Ain resident Martin Hill, who says the festival will continue to feature its mix of local and international acts.

The opening night will be a rocking affair, with The Halloween Rock and Blues Evening at Sands Club. It will feature minor music royalty, with Bryan Dedman fronting his own band. The American is an insructor at the House of Arts Music Institute in Al Ain and an acclaimed multi-­instrumentalist who has performed with the likes of B B King, Jewel and Hootie and the Blowfish.

“He is a world-class talent,” says Hill. “And he lives only a few kilometres away, so the festival is a great place to see some of the local talent we have.”

The Al Ain Festival also has an ­educational element, with woodwind instruments this year’s key topic of discussion. A woodwind evening will be held on November 14, featuring performances and discussions by the Auburra Duo at the Al Ain International School.

The bill also includes a folk music night, with the English duo Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton headlining the Sands Club on November 20.

The festival rounds off the following night at the Al Ain International School with Classics and More, a concert featuring a performance by the Al Ain Chamber Orchestra.

The Al Ain Festival Competition: The Gardens of Sheikh Zayed

This new event aims to cater to classical-music lovers and children, says organiser and Elite Music Institute managing director Marina Zamfir.

“It’s about promoting musical and cultural traditions,” she says. “We want to encourage children and young people to study music, while at the same time enhancing Emirati talent.”

The festival has two components: on the live music front there will be two free piano recitals by international guests at The Municipality Theatre.

On November 12, South Africa’s Richard Lewis will bring his minimalist compositions to Al Ain. The following night the acclaimed Russian performer Polina Fedotova and Ioannis Potamousis from Greece will take to the stage for a joint performance.

All of the international performers will also take part in lectures and workshops during the festival.

November 15 is reserved for the competition, with sections for piano, stringed instruments, wind instruments and percussion, singing, acting and poetry.

All of the categories are open to contestants of all nationalities, with categories for children and adults.

The winners will receive diplomas, gifts and a chance to perform at the festival’s closing concert.

Al Ain got talent

Hill says the aim of the Al Ain Music Festival is to showcase the city’s talents to the whole country, and the people of Al Ain in particular.

“We want them to believe in the talents they have in their community,” he says. “There is this deception that all good music is outside, with concerts on Yas Island and at Meydan racecourse.

“What we are saying is that there are plenty of talented people living nearby and it would be unfortunate if people don’t see that.”

Zamfir says that the Al Ain Competition is about implementing a musical culture among the locals: “We want to plant the seeds of development and provide the necessary talent to enrich the minds of all music lovers.”

For more details about the Al Ain Music Festival, visit www.alainmusicfestival.com. For information about the Al Ain Competition, call Elite Music Institute on 02 445 4909 or 050 102 7978


Updated: October 15, 2014 04:00 AM



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