x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Philharmonic orchestra ends on sour note

Philharmonic Orchestra quits UAE because of lack of funding.

After seven years of struggling to build a classical musical scene, the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra has played its last tune and closed it doors.

Philipp Maier, founder, conductor and artistic director of the orchestra, has announced the end of the programme, citing a lack of opportunity for musical education and financial backing as the main reasons for the programme's demise.

The programme was featured in international publications as one of only three classical orchestras in the Arabian Gulf, after the Royal Omani Symphony Orchestra and the Qatar Philharmonic.

"I wanted to build a musical identity and culture in the UAE," Mr Maier said. "The problem in the UAE is not the audience. The problem is the funding and the utter lack of understanding from both officials and the private sector that an orchestra like [this] needs a proper financial structure and support.

"The money invested in orchestras is never a financially viable investment, but an investment into the future of the country ... a philanthropic contribution to the society."

He said the orchestra had not received any government money.

malkhan@thenational.ae