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Kristjan Järvi conducts first concert with spectacular solo performance from pianist Wayne Marshall. Sir Colin Davis and violinist Arabella Steinbacher close festival with landmark performances

7th Apr 2010

London Symphony Orchestra concerts bring Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 to a triumphant close

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) marked the closing days of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 last night with the first of two superb concerts featuring world-class composers and soloists.

For the first performance, the LSO conductor Kristjan Järvi led the Orchestra's rousing performance of symphonic dances from Leonard Bernstein and Sergei Rachmaninov, as well as a gorgeous rendition of George Gershwin's unique Rhapsody in Blue by pianist Wayne Marshall.

Marking the end of the festival, the second performance features eminent English conductor Sir Colin Davis, and one of the rising stars of the international music scene, violinist Arabella Steinbacher.  A new star of classical music, she will be the evening's featured soloist, and will be ably supported by the London Symphony Orchestra who, as a packed Emirates Palace Auditorium witnessed last night, are on incandescent form.  


Performance 1: Tuesday 6 April

Last night's audience at the London Symphony Orchestra’s first Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 performance were treated to three distinct concert pieces.  Beginning with Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, a concert adaptation of numbers from West Side Story, the piece reflected the intensity and energy of the iconic score, using the original arrangements by composer Leonard Bernstein. 

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was next – a landmark blend of pure jazz and classically inspired piano concerto – here played by one of its best-known interpreters, world-class pianist Wayne Marshall. George Gershwin, known as the ‘great musical border-crosser of the 20th Century’, was best known as a popular songwriter before composing what was considered his first piece of ‘serious’ music –Rhapsody in Blue in 1924.  An appreciative audience soon saw for themselves why the piece was regarded as an instant masterpiece, performed with expert precision and style by Marshall and the orchestra under the baton of dynamic young conductor Kristjan Järvi.

The second half of the concert was dominated by a single work – Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.  Ushering in a very different mood from the first half, the three dances within this work are the last pieces Rachmaninov composed, and among the most beautiful and moving of his career.  This sublime composition was expertly brought to life through the passionate intensity of the orchestra, and it was a clearly thrilled audience that took to their feet to applaud an incredible evening of musical perfection.


Performance 2: Wednesday 7 April

In a fitting finale for one of the region’s premiere cultural events, the Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 will come to a close tonight with a celebration of the association between one of the world’s most respected maestros, Sir Colin Davis, and one of its greatest orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra, featuring a true star of classical music, violinist Arabella Steinbacher.

The concert will start with one of the most popular of Mozart’s works, the overture from his opera The Marriage of Figaro, before showcasing the talented violinist Arabella Steinbacher with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.  The concert will finish with a unique treat – Sir Colin Davis’ iconic interpretation of Hector Berlioz’s five movement Symphonie Fantastique as he brings the Abu Dhabi Festival to a thrilling conclusion.

 Mrs Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival said:

“It was an extraordinary pleasure to have the London Symphony Orchestra perform such a superb concert for us on the penultimate night of the festival, and we are looking forward to tonight’s performance, which will bring this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival to an end.  There is no more fitting way to celebrate the last performance of what has been an extraordinary festival than to welcome Sir Colin Davis to Abu Dhabi to conduct the world-class London Symphony Orchestra, and I very much look forward to the three exquisite works they are set to perform for us tonight.”

The Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 is held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.  It began on 20 March and runs until 7 April. This year’s Festival is a feast of arts and culture with more than 90 events over three weeks, fusing world-class performances in traditional, classical and jazz music, drama, fine arts, and ballet and rich community and education programs.