Our guide to classical music concerts coming to Dubai

What to expect from new seasons of both the World Classical Music Series and Emirates NBD Classics.

Clarinettist Martin Fröst performs as part of Emirates NBD Classics Season IV. Courtesy Mats Bäcker
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This weekend, we can celebrate as the cultural calendar gets back in full swing with the return of two popular classical-music concert programmes.

On Thursday, September 10the World Classical Music Series returns with a concert by The French Wind Quartet.

Known for showcasing renowned western classical chamber ensembles, the series has been crafted as a partnership between promoters M Premiere and the long-running Dubai Concert Committee.

The latter formerly hosted regular concerts at Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (Ductac) – where, incidentally, a new season of Emirates NBD Classics begins on Friday.

This fourth season of the Classics begins with a loud (if ­pretty-sounding) bang, courtesy of a recital by renowned Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst.

However, this series promises an altogether different recipe, with a programme that focuses on classical and world-music performers from all around the globe, including India, Lebanon and Iran.

Here’s what you can look forward to from both ­programmes between now and the end of the year.

World Classical Music Series

The French Wind Quintet (Thursday, September 10))

The self-aggrandising name here rings true – all five members of The French Wind Quintet have achieved the highest honours from the Paris Music Academy, where they teach tomorrow's stars. Collectively, they have studied under maestros including Rampal, Pierlot, Portal, Audin and Barboteu.

As soloists, the members have appeared with the Orchestre National de France and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. On Thursday, September 10, they perform a programme of works by Mozart, Rossini, Taffanel, Ravel and Ligeti, in a concert backed by the Alliance Française Dubai.

The Piano Quartet (October 9)

The Munich-based Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra enjoy an esteemed reputation worldwide. They were ranked sixth on a list of "the world's greatest orchestras" by the British music magazine Gramophone in 2008, and fourth in a similar list by the Japanese music magazine Mostly Classic in 2010. The Piano Quartet bring together four soloists from the orchestra for an intimate chamber recital: violinist Daniel Nodel, violist Benedict Hames, cellist Hanno Simons and pianist Milana Chernyavska. They will perform three complete quartets from Mahler, Mozart and Brahms.

Night of Opera (November 7)

The full programme for this populist opera pick ’n’ mix is yet to be announced, but it seems a safe bet that we can expect stripped-back, chamber-style renditions of familiar arias from the masters. Italian soprano Susanna Branchini will be joined by mezzo-soprano Renata Lamanda and tenor Massimiliano Pisapia, under the direction of pianist and conductor Marco Boemi.

Vazgen Vartanian (December 11)

Russian pianist Vartanian's pedigree is outstanding – he studied at the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory and New York's Juilliard school. The prodigy has toured the world and collaborated with musicians and conductors including Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Yuri Bashmet and Nikolai Petrov, as well as American composer Lukas Foss. Vartanian is known for his interpretations of romantic masters Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, captured on last year's eponymous CD release. In Dubai, he will perform three late, relatively obscure Beethoven sonatas – numbers 28, 30 and 32 – as well as Schubert's Sonata in B-flat major, and a selection of Liszt Études.

All concerts are at One&Only Royal Mirage at 8pm. For more information, visit www.mpremiere.com. Tickets are Dh250 from platinumlist.ae

Emirates NBD Classics Season IV

Martin Fröst (Friday, September 11))

Stockholm-born Fröst, a heavy-hitter on the classical-­music scene with more than 20 recordings to his name, is a resounding, inclusive way to launch the season’s typically diverse programme. As well as reinterpreting familiar repertoire, the clarinettist has worked to move the music forward, as the recipient of a long list of special commissions, including works by Anders Hillborg, Krzysztof Penderecki and Kalevi Aho. His two-hour performance promises to be a mix of crowd-pleasing favourites from his repertoire, including works by Brahms, Bartók and Schumann.

Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (October 2)

Indian-music pioneer Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is renowned for inventing his own unique instrument, the "Mohan Veena", a 19-string slide guitar-harp made from a modified Hawaiian guitar. His unique sound and style has been showcased on more than 40 albums of musical fusions. Internationally, Bhatt, 64, is best known for A Meeting by the River, an album of sensational 1993 crossover duo recordings with American blues legend Ry Cooder that was rewarded with a Grammy.

Charbel Rouhana (November 6)

For lovers of instrumental Arabian music, and those curious about the region’s traditions, this is not to be missed. Lebanese musician Rouhana is one of the most-established contemporary oud players in the world, credited with helping spearhead a renewed interest in the renaissance period of Oriental-Arabian music, ushered in through innovative approaches to ancient instruments. He has collaborated with fellow oud luminaries, including Marcel Khalife and Elie Khoury, while his academic writings on the subject have advocated an influential new methodology to approaching the instrument.

DastanEnsemble (December 4)

True to its mission statement of shedding light on classical traditions from around the globe, here the programme turns its gaze to Persia. Founded in 1991, the DastanEnsemble claim to boast some of the modern masters of classical Persian music. The quintet features barbat player Hossein Behroozinia, tar and setarist Hamid Motebassem, kamancheh player Saeed Farajpouri and percussionists Pejman Hadadi and Behnam Samani. A rare chance to unlock the traditions of the UAE’s geographic neighbour.

All concerts are at Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, at 8pm. For more information, visit ductac.org. Tickets are from Dh150 at platinumlist.ae