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Abu Dhabi Classics: Creating Context in the Sand

img  Tobias

In fact, the Abu Dhabi Classics are part of a large-scale effort by ADACH of introducing their country to the magic of the classical repertoire. „Classical music or a classical composer are not the property of a single nation“, Janczukowicz stated, „Germany does not own Beethoven, France does not own Ravel. All nations have clear responsibilities of safeguarding the traditions of their composers, but in the end, all these geniuses have contributed to a universal language that is understood internationally. This is a great opportunity in a globalised world.” As  Janczukowicz explained in an interview for UAE's „National Newspaper“, he jetted over straight away to meet up with ADACH officials to explain his ideas for the Abu Dhabi classics, once the chance presented itself to him. And their concept always involved an accompanying educational program, which would correspond directly with the musical action during the series: „We need something that leads to audience development,” according to Janczukowicz “It’s not enough to bring these great artists here. We need to create context.”

The first edition of the Abu Dhabi Classics have been a major success. Cecilia Bartoli, Zubin Mehta, Lang Lang, Maxim Shostakovitch, Lorin Maazel and Petra Lang decided to drop by. By teaming up with travel agencies, visitors from Europe were offered enticing packages of travel, tourism and culture. The secon edition now looks set to repeat the trick. Spread out across such luxurious venues like the Emirates Palace, the Abu Dhabi Theatre or the Al Jahili Fort, described by the Abu Dhabi Classics team as „one of the great landmarks and symbols of the United Arab Emirates' cultural heritage“ with an „inner courtyard offering up to 450 visitors an atmospheric setting for chamber music“ this fruitful encounter between different cultures is sure to attract several new visitors in 2009 and 2010. And, as composer Jörg Widmann experienced when assigned a composition job in Abu Dhabi's neighbouring Dubai, the „exotic“ environment may spark a fresh perspective on these works.

Even if the concert series should one day wither away, the Abu Dhabi Classics have already managed to leave an indelible mark. The Abu Dhabi Classics Academy is not just offering introductions to practically all concerts, but a lot of ongoing educational events to further interest in classical music with both children and grown-ups as well. A „Young Talents“ special, meanwhile, is putting the spotlight on exceptional talent. With this in mind, the commitment of the sponsors looks like more than a short-lived marketing fad. Says H.E. M. Khalaf Al-Mazrouei of ADACH: „We cannot imagine enhancing the course of the overall renaissance of this beautiful Arab city, so rich in heritage, culture andcivilization, without further strengthening and developing the culturalscene in particular through this ambitious musical project, that represents one of our pivotal cultural strategies.“

Homepage: Abu Dhabi Classics
Homepage: Interview with Abu Dhabi Classics Executive Director Till Janczukowicz

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