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Press release

ADF 2014 Press Conference 12th Nov 2013

Abu Dhabi Festival 2014 Unveils Most Diverse Line-up in its History

Celebrating its 11th edition in 2014, Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF) today announced the Festival’s most diverse programme since its inception in 2004. ADF 2014 will bring a spectacular programme of world-class and innovative artistic talent to the UAE capital, further affirming itself as one of most dynamic cultural events in the world.

Launching the festivities with a special pre-festival event on 27 January is the UAE debut of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel, one of the most exciting conductors in the world, leading the exuberant Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, whose youthful spirit and infectious energy has taken the world by storm. In March, the Festival kicks off with its visual arts component welcoming one of the world’s leading artists, Bill Fontana, whose work ‘Acoustic Visions’ (an ADF Commission) will capture the sounds of the UAE capital. The acclaimed Mohammed Kazem (who represented the UAE at the 2013 Venice Biennale) will also present a new work, especially commissioned for ADF. With the United States of America as the Festival’s Country of Honour, jazz icon Herbie Hancock, opera diva Renée Fleming and the acclaimed American Ballet Theatre will all perform for the first time in the UAE as part of next year’s star-studded headline programme.


The 2014 Festival theme ‘Creative Innovation’ reflects ADF’s commitment to demonstrating the power of the arts as a positive force to unlock the potential of individuals as well as local and global communities. Through a colourful array of performances, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and initiatives, audiences will have the chance to explore the unique relationship between the arts and technology, the impact of youth empowerment and the benefits of cultural diplomacy. In addition to the main programme, the Festival’s extensive education and community programmes embrace the 7 Emirates, upholding the spirit of ‘Bilad Al Khayr’ (The Land of Blessings). Offering over 100 meaningful and memorable experiences, Abu Dhabi Festival is the largest cultural festival in the region.


H.E. Mrs Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The 2014 programme highlights the Festival’s on-going commitment to creative innovation. By bringing cultural practices and artistic expression to the forefront of public thought, the Festival will generate debate, discussion, engagement and enjoyment across audiences of all ages.”

“We are delighted to extend the Festival period in 2014 with an incredible pre-launch concert in January. The world premiere of the Festival commission by Bill Fontana, Herbie Hancock’s Arab world premiere and Renée Fleming’s UAE premiere exemplifies not only the array of talent from our Country of Honour, the USA, but also reflects the diverse line-up of artists and performers that make-up next year’s programme.”


“Culture is the key that unlocks a nation’s creativity, and sparking innovation in the hearts and minds of young people is crucial for the future wellbeing of society. Through participation with, and presentation of some of the most exceptional artists today, the people of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE will have the opportunity to savour world-class experiences that will inspire, inform and ignite the imagination for many years to come.”


H.E. Michael Corbin, United States Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said: "The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation is a leader in the UAE when it comes to supporting arts and music awareness and education.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in its annual organization of the Abu Dhabi Festival, an impressive display of local and international artistic talent as well as community outreach programming that reaches tens of thousands of people in the UAE.

“The designation of the United States as the Country of Honor for the 2014 Abu Dhabi Festival is very significant, and I am proud to partner with ADMAF to promote the exchange of cultural values, traditions, and ideas and to support a greater mutual understanding between our two countries. The presence of prominent American artists such as Herbie Hancock, Bill Fontana, Renee Fleming, and the American Ballet Theater at the 2014 Festival will be a high point of our collaboration and reflects the best of the U.S.-UAE relationship."


Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Herbie Hancock, Renée Fleming and Bill Fontana, will be joined in the ADF main programme at Emirates Palace by the guitarist Milo¹, one of the hottest properties in classical music today. Continuing the Festival’s reputation as a centre for classical music, the Dresden Philharmonic will take up residence, while the European Union Youth Orchestra conducted by the legendary Vladimir Ashkenazy with the renowned French cellist Gautier Capuçon will take to the stage as part of the Festival’s ongoing endeavour to inspire youth in music.


Following Milo¹, at the Emirates Palace will be one of the premier dance companies in the world, the American Ballet Theatre, performing the delightful, family-friendly ballet Coppelia. The final concert will star Lebanese pianist, Michel Fadel. Renowned for his extraordinary compositions that effortlessly combine Arabic tradition with innovation, Fadel features in the Festival’s Bayt Al Farabi series, which also plays host to The Asil Ensemble earlier in the month.


H.E. Mrs Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo was joined at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2014 Launch by distinguished guests including:Kamal Kassar, Founder and President, the Foundation for Arabic Music Archiving and Research (AMAAR); Bill Fontana, artist; and representing the United States Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Michael Corbin, Ali Lejlic, Counsellor for Press and Cultural Affairs at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.


Combining music, theatre, dance, the visual arts and heritage, the Festival commences on 2 March with its nationwide education and community programmes. The main programme runs from 21 to 31 March (excluding Gustavo Dudamel & the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela pre-festival concert, which takes place on 27 January). Bill Fontana’s exhibition will continue until 20 April

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Ticket sales            

Purchase points include all Virgin Megastore outlets across the UAE, and online at: An ‘Early Bird’ offer allows Festival-goers to avail a 25% discount on tickets booked from 13th November to the 14th December 2013. For further details, call the Abu Dhabi Festival info hotline number 00971 50 129 9103.

Performance: Emirates Palace

Ticket Prices

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela: 27th January

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)

Herbie Hancock: 21st March

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)

Renée Fleming & the Dresden Philharmonic: 23rd March

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)

European Union Youth Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Askhenazy

with Gautier Capuçon: 24th March

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)

Milo¹: 26th March

All Seats (AED150)

American Ballet Theatre: 28th March

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)

Bayt Al Farabi: Michel Fadel: 31st March

Diamond (AED 350); Pearl (AED 250); Balcony (AED150)


Performance: Abu Dhabi Theatre

Ticket Price

Bayt Al Farabi: Aseel Ensemble: 17th March

All Seats (AED50)


Throughout the duration, Students may benefit from a 50% discount upon presentation of valid student ID at any Virgin Megastore outlet or through the link online:

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