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Co-commissions include Ravel’s Mother Goose at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Naseer Shamma & The Global Music Ensemble at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, and Babel Theatre’s international tour

Faisal Al Saari and Luzia Von Wyl 8th Feb 2016

Abu Dhabi Festival 2016 goes global with series of international co-commissions and presentations

The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) is this year taking Abu Dhabi Festival to the world with a series of international performing arts co-commissions and presentations. Aiming to shine a spotlight on the UAE’s support of the arts, the co-commissions will see the Festival’s presence at a number of initiatives across the world, including Los Angeles, Paris, Beirut, London, Casablanca and more.

Commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Festival, 6 February 2016 saw the world premiere of a collaboration between Emirati oud player and composer Faisal Al Saari and Luzia Von Wyl, Suisse composer and pianist. The performance was hosted by Abu Dhabi Festival and the Madinat Theatre in Dubai. Faisal Al Saari and Luzia Von Wyl will also be performing at a concert in Switzerland later this year, supported by the Festival.

Taking Abu Dhabi Festival to the USA for the first time between 12-14 February 2016, the world premiere of a new multimedia production of Ravel’s Mother Goose will take place at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, Music and Artistic Director, and the Abu Dhabi Festival, with an installation by Ars Electronica. Creating an immersive multimedia experience, the concerts are enhanced with video installations and artistic elements to engage both the audio and visual senses.  This co-commission is historically significant, as the UAE becomes the first Arab country to collaborate with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It will also be the first co-commission by Abu Dhabi Festival in the USA.

On 19 February, Abu Dhabi Festival presents Naseer Shamma & The Global Music Ensemble at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. The Iraqi oud master joins renowned musicians from France, USA, Brazil, Tunisia, Turkey and Paraguay for an unforgettable journey testifying to the unifying power of music. Set to appeal to a universal audience, the concert will combine instrumental, jazz, fusion, world, and improvisation music in a high-energy performance.

Throughout 2016, Abu Dhabi Festival is also supporting an international tour of The Baghdad Bath House by Babel Theatre, written and directed by Jawad Al Assadi, the award winning Iraqi playwright. Visiting Beirut, London and Casablanca, the Arabic-language production, starring Haida Abou Haidar and Aboud Dhaidan Al Hargani, follows a day in the life of two brothers, who begin to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves and their past. The acclaimed production results in the two brothers trying to cleanse their bodies, and souls, in a bathhouse.

In March 2016, Abu Dhabi Festival joins The Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research (AMAR) for a third collaboration – the worldwide release of a CD box set commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mohammad Al Qasabgi (1892-1966), the Egyptian musician and composer.

Launching at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2016, ADMAF along with the Emirates Fine Arts Society (EFAS) are introducing The UAE Art Archive - a definitive, comprehensive and official historical resource for the country’s visual arts sector. With over 10,000 items in its continually growing collection, The UAE Art Archive will be the only resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers, footage and records of the visual arts in the UAE.

Looking ahead to 2017, Abu Dhabi Festival has commissioned the acclaimed afro-tarab jazz composer and musician Tarek Yamani to embark on a research project - Portraits in Khaleeji Rhythms and Jazz – which will explore the connections between jazz and Khaleeji music. Born and raised in Beirut, Tarek is an American-Lebanese jazz pianist and composer who is reinvigorating the genre by exploring relationships between African American jazz and Classical Arabic music.

The Abu Dhabi Festival has also commissioned Mohammed Fairouz, the acclaimed Emirati-American composer, to create his fifth symphony, which will explore the story of the UAE and the universality of its values. The work will receive its world premiere at the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2020.

Taking place throughout the month of April this year, the 13th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, will welcome internationally acclaimed artists including Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri in Recital (10 April), Lang Lang in Recital (14 April), Orchestre de Paris (15 and 17 April), The Little Prince (21 and 22 April), and Carlos Acosta and Friends (25 - 26 April).