Listen to AR Rahman's all-female Firdaus Orchestra ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai

The orchestra is entirely made up of women from the Arab region

Members of the Firdaus Orchestra at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, at the Expo site. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai
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Before the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai on October 1, a preview has been released of AR Rahman’s Firdaus Orchestra performing.

The all-female ensemble, which consists of women from the Arab world, will perform at various events during the expo, including International Women’s Day on March 8.

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here

Starting on Saturday, October 23, the concerts will also feature works composed by Oscar and Grammy winner Rahman for the orchestra’s inaugural performance on the global stage.

“Being in a professional orchestra is a dream come true, and the fact that it's at Expo with an all-female group is just out of this world and it's a privilege, and I'm just really excited to be a part of this. It's life changing,” said Ariel Azarian, a musician in the Firdaus Orchestra.

Rahman has won two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe for compositions across film genres, languages and industries.

One of his best-known songs is Jai Ho, from the Oscar-winning rags-to-riches film Slumdog Millionaire. His works from Bollywood hits such as Lagaan and Taal remain anthems more than a decade later.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to have founded and mentored the Firdaus Orchestra for Expo 2020 Dubai. This ensemble has a very unique character as it’s symbolic of our changing world and evolution in music, particularly in the Middle East,” said Rahman.

“The voices of the Firdaus Orchestra, comprising artists of more than 23 nationalities across the region, are so different from anything we’ve heard in the west or east; they represent a whole new sound which is very exciting.

“This has been a dear project for me."

He thanked UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation and director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, Reem Al Hashimy, and said her support and guidance made the extraordinary ensemble possible.

"I’m proud to say that the Firdaus Orchestra is a world-class collective of musicians. Witness their artistry at the Expo 2020 Dubai,” Rahman said.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at preparation for Expo 2020 Dubai's opening ceremony:

Updated: September 23, 2021, 7:25 AM