Friday, 16 April 2021 08:31 GMT

From jazz to oud, April offers creative best in Abu Dhabi

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) At just 12 years old, Joey Alexander has been nominated for two Grammys and has already performed with jazz giants like Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis.

The young jazz prodigy will make be one of the special appearances at the 2016 Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), where he will make his Middle Eastern debut.

The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), organiser of ADF, has announced on Tuesday its full programme for the festival, which will have several out of the ordinary performances.

Taking place from April 3-30 2016, ADF will present 16 productions and 73 events in 30 venues across the country.

"In the face of conflicts, we are in dire need of arts, which open dialogues and build cultural bridges between nations," said Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, founder of ADMAF.

Making a pledge for culture with ADF's programme, Al Khamis-Kanoo also announced that the festival's country of honour in 2016 will be France.

Hence, two French opera icons, Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri will open ADF's main programme at Emirates Palace on April 10 with a recital of French arias.

France's premier symphony orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, led by its inspirational music director Paavo Järvi, is also part of the main programme with two concerts, featuring - for the first time in 13 years of the festival - works by Sibelius.

Altogether, though, ADF 2016 will celebrate the creativity of 23 countries.

There will be the Chinese piano "superstar" Lang Lang, heralded by the "New York Times" as "one of the hottest artists on the classical music planet"; there will be Antoine Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, one of the most cherished and well-known stories of all times, "told" in musical form by composers Nick Lloyd Webber and James D Reid; there will be the contemporary dancing of Carlos Acosta, described as "a virtuoso performer who soars across the stage as if suspended from the sky".

As in its previous years, the ADF's performing arts are complimented by art exhibitions, workshops, arts and culture debates and storytelling.

Since 2016 was declared by the UAE leadership as the year of reading, ADF will bring back next year its New Writing programme, based on a partnership between ADMAF and the Emirates Writers Union.

Thus, ADF will be supporting six publications written by Emirati authors, culminating in a public book launch and signing during the festival.

The festival's art exhibition will take place next year at the end of ADF, throughout the month of March and this time it is dedicated to the UAE.

Portrait of a Nation will presents 20 brand new commissions, celebrating ADMAF's 20th anniversary, created by UAE artists.

After barely testing the waters in previous years with a few events oversees, ADMAF will take its festival abroad next year with a full programme.

Part of ADF's latest series of co-commissions, the world premiere of a new multimedia production of Ravel's "Mother Goose" will take place at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and ADF.

One of ADF's oldest friends, oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma will perform a concert in Paris in February with the Global Music Ensemble.

Following the February 6 world premiere at Dubai's Madinat Theatre of a new work commissioned by ADF by the Emirati composer and oud player Faisal Al Saari and Switzerland's Luzia Von Wyl, the Luzia Von Wyl Ensemble's Jazz Meets Classic and Orient will move to Zurich for another of the festival's recitals abroad.

"It is important to have cultural cross over and bring our culture closer to other parts of the world," pointed out Al Khamis-Kanoo.

The ADF full programme is available on Tickets will go on sale today.

UAE art archive to be launched

The Emirates Fine Arts Society will launch the first ever UAE art archive during the Abu Dhabi Festival, in March 2016.

"The project documents the history of Emirati visual arts, tracing its origins and evolution from the very beginning," said Nasser Abdullah, chairman of the Society.

"We were established in Sharjah, in the 1980, so the first entries in the archive will be from those times, but this is only the beginning. We are planning to extend in the future to include data from earlier years," he told Khaleej Times.

The electronic art archive, which will be available on, will offer documents in both Arabic and English language, as well as search engines for Emirati artists, art events and exhibitions for free.

"The website will store up to 10,000 books, magazines and catalogues published by the Emirates Fine Arts Society since its foundation in 1980. These will be complemented by news and coverage reports and other archival artefacts and documents, all catalogued chronologically," explained Abdullah.

Silvia Radan
I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!

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