The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) – one of Britain’s longest-established musical institutions - will perform for the first time in Abu Dhabi this December as part of the revitalised Abu Dhabi Classics international concert series.
The orchestra, which was founded in 1920 and whose first conductor was the celebrated English composer Sir Edward Elgar, will deliver two performances in the emirate, including one on a floating stage on the Arabian Gulf as part of the celebrations to mark Abu Dhabi city’s hosting of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race fleet.
A highlight of the CBSO tour will come on 15th December with the floating stage performance at Abu Dhabi city’s Corniche Breakwater. The following night, the orchestra will perform at the historic Al Jahili Fort - a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Abu Dhabi’s Oasis City of Al Ain.
The tour comes at the invitation of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) which has reintroduced, after a three-year break, the Abu Dhabi Classics season which will run in the emirate until May.
CBSO’s Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater concert will include Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1, which ranks among the most difficult violin pieces ever written, with Canadian violin soloist James Ehnes, widely regarded as one of the best violinists of his generation. The orchestra’s Al Jahili Fort performance will feature extracts from Holst’s The Planets and music by one of Hollywood’s greatest film composers, John Williams, as well as the work of prominent Indian film composer A.R.Rahman. The orchestra will play Williams’ compositions from film classics such as ET, Superman and Star Wars alongside music from Rahman’s Taal, Bombay and Lagaan.
The orchestra will be conducted by CBSO Associate Conductor Michael Seal, who took up his eminent position in March 2011. The appointment recognised his work as Assistant Conductor, the first in the CBSO's history, and the special relationship he has built with the orchestra.
CBSO chief executive Stephen Maddock said: “We are thrilled that the CBSO has been invited to perform in the UAE for the first time. The CBSO tours regularly, this season taking in Munich, Paris, Vienna and Madrid to name but a few. As classical music becomes ever more popular around the world, this opportunity to perform for new audiences in the UAE is very special. We hope that this visit to Abu Dhabi will be the first of many.”
Performances by the CBSO were high on the agenda of TCA Abu Dhabi from the start of planning for Abu Dhabi Classics 2014/2015.
“There are very few orchestras in the world able to play this range of repertoire at a world-class level: Elgar and Bruch the first night and the music from Star Wars or Bollywood blockbusters on the second. We were very happy when they accepted to be part of Abu Dhabi Classics and are looking forward to two amazing classical music nights that, we hope, will also be very attractive to new audiences,” said Dr Ronald Perlwitz, Head of Music Programming, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“The chance to link the visit with the high profile Volvo Ocean Race hosting was an exceptional opportunity not to be missed and we hope will bring value to the many residents and visitors expected to turn out for the race stopover celebrations which will run from December 12 to January 3. This inclusion in the Volvo Ocean Race stopover calendar is extremely apt, given the entire Abu Dhabi Classics season 2014/2015 is themed on ‘The Traveller’ and there cannot be any more well-travelled people than the professional sailors who take on the challenge of racing around the world.”
Tickets, which are priced starting from AED200 (£34) for adults and just AED30 (£5) are available from www.ticketmaster.ae