Al Jahili Fort prepares for launch of 11th Al Ain Classics Festival

ABU DHABI – The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage will hold the eleventh Al Ain Classics Festival between March 3 – 11.
The Festival, which will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will present masterpieces from central Europe and Russia. They will be performed by some of the world’s most famous musicians.
On Thursday the Emirates Palace, in association with the Abu Dhabi Classics, will host the opening evening of the Al Ain Classics Festival. This classical evening will include a concert performed by Italy’s famous orchestra, the Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI. Juraj Valčuha will be conducting and the great Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma will make his debut in the UAE.
Other evenings of classical entertainment are due to be held at the Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain. The Fort has become a site that is associated with culture and heritage, and is a beacon for tourists in the region since it opened in December 2008. A great deal of restoration and renovation work has been carried out on this important site by ADACH.
The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies has announced that the Al Jahili Fort of Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is the winner of the 2010 International Architecture Award.
The Al Jahili Fort was selected from a cross-section of ninety-five distinctive and recently constructed buildings and urban planning projects from around the world.
The Al Jahili Fort is currently hosting; until May 2, 2011; an exhibition entitled “The Dawn of History: Revealing the Ancient Past of Abu Dhabi”.
The exhibition seeks to highlight the important work carried out by Danish archaeologists in Abu Dhabi between 1958 and 1972. Among the most important of these findings are those that date back to the Stone Age. They include drawings carved onto the cave walls at Qarn bint Saud, the Hafit graves, dating back 5,000 years, the Umm An-Nar civilisation and the Hili Grand Tomb.
Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of ADACH, said that the Al Ain Classics Festival strives to build bridges and strengthen ties between different cultures and traditions.
“This year’s Festival unifies world stars and the young artistic elite, bringing them together in this scenic oasis city. Al Ain is viewed as being the ‘heritage pearl’ of the UAE and plays a unique role in the cultural life of the region. The Al Ain Classics Festival invites children and students to attend rehearsals, and classical masterworks are performed in the unique ambiance of the Al Jahili Fort: this has created an exemplary creative dialogue between artists, different generations and cultures,” said Sheikh Sultan.
HE Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the Advisor for Culture and Heritage at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Director General of ADACH, stressed that the Al Ain Classics Festival has proven its ability to provide musical masterpieces in a beautiful atmosphere. It allows for these concerts to be performed in theatres that incorporate nature, and that are situated in important archaeological sites, such as the Al Jahili Fort.
“The Festival is an embodiment of the great efforts we have gone to in order to attract classical music lovers from around the world. It forms part of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to preserve our deep-rooted cultural heritage and boost interaction with different cultures and civilizations,” said Mazrouei.
HE Zaki Nusseibeh, Vice Chairman of ADACH, said “Today, at the opening of the eleventh edition of the Al Ain Classics Festival, we are proud to report that year after year this event has enjoyed continuous success. It plays a distinctive role in the development of the cultural character of Al Ain and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is also a key factor in attracting a large number of tourists from within the UAE, the region and Europe."
“The educational and cultural programs of both the Al Ain Festival and the Abu Dhabi Classics Festival form an important pillar in our strategy to promote Abu Dhabi as a global musical, artistic and cultural hub,” said Nusseibeh.
The new series of chamber music concerts, which will be held in the Courtyard of the Al Jahili Fort, will present pianist Evgeni Bozhanov and Prague’s Bennewitz Quartet. It will host many stunningly exciting young musicians who are currently conquering major concert halls and winning over audiences worldwide.
After previously hosting concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, the focus this year will be on the global importance of the Al Ain Classics Festival.
On March 4 at the Al Jahili Fort, the orchestra will present masterpieces taken from Russian concerts and operas. Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, performed by Evgeni Bozhanov, is based on two of the most famous melodies in Western classical music.
On March 5, Yo-Yo Ma will give a cello recital at the intimate Courtyard of the Al Jahili Fort. On March 9, 10 and 11, the Chamber Music Festival, held as part of the Al Ain Classics Festival, will continue in the courtyard. Pianist Evgeni Bozhanov will perform pieces by Chopin, Schubert and Liszt on March 9. He will then perform Dvořák’s and Schumann’s magnificent piano quintets together with Prague’s Bennewitz Quartet on March 10.
An American critic said “Evgeni Bozhanov can produce more nuances of tone in a single measure of music than most pianists can find in a lifetime.”
The Festival’s final concert on March 11 will allow music lovers to listen to some essential pieces of music from the classical repertoire, including distinguished string quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.
The press have described the Bennewitz Quartet as “triumphant; beautiful tone, colour and purity of performance. Very rarely does one experience such elaborate and effective harmonies. It is a great art.”
The Al Ain Classics Festival was launched in 2001 by a group of dedicated music lovers. They have since established "The Friends of the Al Ain Classics Festival", under the chairmanship of Zaki Nusseibeh.