Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra makes UAE debut with Louvre-inspired works

Two new pieces of music by the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, inspired by the Louvre Abu Dhabi project will receive their world premieres at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi this month.

The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, above, will be led by Christoph Eschenbach. TCA Abu Dhabi
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Two new pieces of music inspired by the Louvre Abu Dhabi project will receive their world premieres at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi this month.

They will be performed on March 16 – on a stage overlooking the museum’s distinctive dome – by the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, led by internationally renowned conductor Christoph Eschenbach. The event will mark the orchestra’s first-ever concert in the UAE. The commissioned pieces are by leading composers in France and the UAE, solidifying the continuing Emirati-French cultural exchange ahead of the grand opening of the Louvre, which it is hoped will take place this year.

Titled Universal Expressions: Inspired by Louvre Abu Dhabi, the programme begins with Emirati composer Faisal Al Saari’s Zayed’s Dream, which promises to “entwine the wide symphonic sounds of a classical orchestra with melodies and instruments from Emirati heritage”.

This will be followed by Once Upon a Time, a new work by French composer Bruno Mantovani, the director of the Conservatoire de Paris.

The concert will conclude with a performance of Debussy’s symphonic classic La Mer (The Sea).

“The Emirati-French cultural programme is a reflection of the long-standing cultural partnership between Abu Dhabi and France,” says TCA Abu Dhabi chairman, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak.

“Launching the programme with the renowned Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester performing for the first time in the UAE, with the world premiere of musical compositions, celebrates Louvre Abu Dhabi’s value of universality and its openness to world cultures”.

“This moment embodies the continued dialogue between the UAE and France,” says France’s ambassador to the UAE, Michel Miraillet. “In an important year for bilateral relations between our two countries, it will be wonderful to see works by an Emirati and a French composer performed by a European orchestra with one of the best French soloists, and directed by the former director of the Orchestre de Paris.”

Founded in 1986 by Claudio Abbado, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester is one of the world’s most-prestigious youth orchestras. The visiting musicians will enjoy a lengthy stay in the emirate, with a three-week residency that also includes two performances as part of the Abu Dhabi Classics concert series.

The orchestra will perform a variety of programmes, including classic Beethoven symphonies at Al Ain’s Al Jahili Fort on March 24, and at Emirates Palace on March 26.

• Ticket prices for the Manarat Al Saadiyat performance start at Dh80 from Visit for more information about the other performances