The English Concert is set to take the UAE by storm
with a variety of classical performances

One of Europe's finest chamber orchestras is due to perform in the UAE for the first time. The English Concert is famous for its performances of Baroque and classical music.

According to Laurel Powers-Freeling, member of the board, the English Concert was formed 34 years ago playing traditional orchestral music used since the 1700's.

The conductor for the UAE's upcoming concert is Harry Bickett and Lucy Crowe as soprano singer. There will be a total of 28 musicians.

The programme will consist of four main parts representing what Freeling described as, "classical periods with authenticity and deliverance of the soul of what the music can play".

Namely: Water Music Suites in D and G by the late composer George Handel; The Wedding Cantata Weichet Nur by J Sebastian Bach; Three Arias for Cleopatra from Giulio Cesare (Tu la mia stella sei, Se pieta di me non senti, da tempeste il legno infranto) by Handel; and Ouverture (Suite) Number Three in D by Bach.

"I think our audience will be positively surprised with Bach's piece," said Freeling in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

"The Wedding Cantata is festive and lively. Our orchestra, is however particularly drawn to Handel. We are also looking forward to introducing classical music to the younger generation."

Worthy cause
As well as performing in auditoriums across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain, the musicians will meet children from different charities and introduce them to their musical instruments.

They will also visit children in the Dubai Autism Centre, Al Noor Centre, Al Khubairat School, Abu Dhabi and 250 special needs children and autistic centres.

According to Freeling, the number of audience members expected to turn up at the concerts will be around 1,100 from Abu Dhabi, 440 from Dubai and 600 from Al Ain.

Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director General of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), said the event was a bridge to better understandings among communities and nations.

"The baroque and classical periods have contributed some of the most loved elements of the Western musical repertoire. The English Concert is renowned for its prowess in interpreting such works. I am therefore certain that the tour will be a great success," he said.

The British Ambassador to the UAE, Edward Oakded, described the upcoming event as "excellence on the cultural level for both the UAE and the UK".

"This is not the first visit made by a leading English Orchestra but is certainly one of the most important and will set the pace for leading orchestras to accelerate in the days ahead," said Oakded.


  • Monday January 28 - Emirates Palace Auditorium, Abu Dhabi.
  • Wednesday January 30 - Madinat Theatre, Dubai.
  • Thursday January 31 - Shaikh Khalifa Auditorium, Al Ain.
  • Entry by invitation only.