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Al Ain Classics Festival to run during March 3-11

By Staff

The 11th Al Ain Classics Festival will be held during March 3-11, presenting central European and Russian masterworks performed by some of the world’s most distinguished and interesting musicians.

The event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Continuing its association with the Abu Dhabi Classics, highlights of the Al Ain Classics Festival include concerts with Italy’s famous Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI under conductor Juraj Valčuha, the UAE debut of cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The new series of chamber music concerts in the Courtyard of the Al Jahili Fort will present pianist Evgeni Bozhanov and Prague’s Bennewitz Quartet: stunningly exciting young musicians that are actually conquering the world’s major concert halls and audiences.

After concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic in previous seasons, this year’s highlights underline the international significance of the Al Ain Classics Festival.

Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, said that the Al Ain Classics Festival will continue to build bridges between cultures and traditions: “This year’s festival unifies world stars and a young artistic elite in the scenic oasis city. Al Ain is viewed as the heritage pearl of the United Arab Emirates and plays a unique role in the cultural life of the region. The Al Ain Classics Festival invites children and students to rehearsals and classical masterworks are performed in the unique ambiance of the Al Jahili Fort: this is an exemplary creative dialogue between artists, generations and cultures.”

On March 3, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI under the direction of its Chief Conductor Juraj Valčuha opens the Al Ain Classics Festival at the Emirates Palace with masterpieces from the Romantic concert and opera repertoire. The soloist in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto is one of the world’s best-loved musicians, the great Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma. On March 4 at the Al Jahili Fort, the orchestra presents masterpieces from the Russian concert and opera repertoire. Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by Evgeni Bozhanov, is based on two of the most famous melodies in Western classical music.

On March 5, Yo-Yo Ma will give a cello recital at the intimate Courtyard of the Al Jahili Fort.

On March 9, 10 and 11, the Chamber Music Festival within the Al Ain Classics continues in the courtyard. Pianist Evgeni Bozhanov presents pieces by Chopin, Schubert and Liszt on March 9, and Dvořák’s and Schumann’s magnificent piano quintets together with Prague’s Bennewitz Quartet on March 10. An American critic said “Evgeni Bozhanov can produce more nuances of tone in a measure of music than most pianists find in a lifetime”. The Festival’s final concert on March 11 will allow music lovers to listen to some “musts” of classical music repertoire: distinguished string quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.