Abu Dhabi Festival line-up for 2016 announced

Chinese pianist Lang Lang and France’s Orchestre de Paris will perform as part of the festival in April.

Chinese pianist Lang Lang will perform at the Emirates Palace Auditorium on April 14. Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
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Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang and France’s Orchestre de Paris will be among the highlights of next year’s Abu Dhabi Festival in April 2016.

Lang will perform at the Emirates Palace Auditorium on April 14, while the Orchestra de Paris will hit the same stage for two performances on April 15 and 17.

As part of the first round of announcements for the event, France has been unveiled as the festival’s country of honour, so expect a few more French artists to be added to the bill.

Classical music lovers will be thrilled by the return of Lang. The 32-year-old has achieved a crossover status similar to violinist Joshua Bell, due to his ruthlessly technical proficiency, delivered through flamboyant performances.

He has already notched up some huge gigs, the biggest of which was performing to an estimated television audience of one billion people during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has also performed at the White House and Buckingham Palace.

His festival performance will mark his return to the capital after six years. In 2009 he gave a sold-out recital at Emirates Palace, alongside the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, with a programme that included works by Mozart, Schumann and Liszt. He followed it up a month later with a masterclass for regional students as part of his Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

Heralded as one of France’s most popular classical-music ensembles, the Orchestre de Paris will also take the Abu Dhabi Festival stage.

Founded in 1967, the orchestra is conducted by the famed Estonian Paavo Järvi. Fans of his should savour the Abu Dhabi performance as it is part of his final series of engagements, with his tenure set to end at the conclusion of his contract in the summer of 2016.

The orchestra managed to score an unlikely pop hit in Holland in 1989 with their treatment of Ravel’s Boléro, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music Arts and Foundation, which organises the festival, says the new edition will be a cultural and creative feast.

“The Abu Dhabi Festival works in line with the vision of the Abu Dhabi Government, seeking to reaffirm the capital’s global profile as a destination for creativity and meeting place for culture,” she said.

“As the inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi approaches, the Festival welcomes France as the 2016 Festival Country of Honour, which will highlight the strength of bilateral cultural relations as well as the spirit of creativity shared by both countries, particularly in the fields of arts and music.”

For more details, visit www.abudhabifestival.ae