x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The UAE National orchestra announces piano competition

The winner will have the chance to perform with the UAE National Symphony Orchestra in October.

The pianist Ioannis Potamoussis. Courtesy UAENSO
The pianist Ioannis Potamoussis. Courtesy UAENSO

The UAE National Symphony Orchestra (UAENSO) has announced its first Artists Concerto Competition, which will be open to pianists age 18 and above, at Brighton College on September 28. The deadline for submissions is June 30.

The purpose of the competition, says Janet Hassouneh, the founder and director of UAENSO, is to provide educational opportunities and to recognise "exceptionally talented" musical artists.

The grand winner will perform with the UAENSO in the Mostly Mozart Night Gala, on October 12 at the National Theatre, Abu Dhabi, featuring Mozart's Violin Concert No 5 performed by the UAENSO concert master and international violinist Min Yang, and Beethoven's Symphony No 5.

"The next competition will be announced after the October 12 concert and will be open to a different instrumental category," says Hassouneh.

The event is held under the patronage of Sheikha Hissa bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who was UAENSO's guest performer during the inaugural concert A Night at the Movies in March.

The competition director and World Piano Competition medallist Ioannis Potamoussis says they will be looking for artists who excel at their instrument and wish to perform with a professional symphony orchestra. This will provide them with systematic musical growth to become the next generation carrying on these music traditions in the UAE.

"In every culture, music is intricately interwoven with the lives and beliefs of people. Music serves various functions and helps people come together," says Potamoussis. "Where music is a universal language, classical music inspires and moves the human spirit through an emotional palette of sounds."

Both he and Hassouneh believe music from pioneers such as Mozart still resonates with today's listeners because of its purity, simplicity and structure. To "spread the language of music", an increase in music organisations and collaboration is crucial.

The competition is set to grow into a festival with performances, masterclasses and competitions for young musicians, who can exchange ideas and experiences with teachers.

Eventually, this could lead to national talent getting global exposure, including in Middle Eastern classical music, says Hassouneh.

For more information, visit www.uaenso.org