Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra
Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra with Elli Choi Image Credit: Supplied

It’s been 25 years since the formation of UAE’s Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra, and to celebrate the milestone the ensemble will be playing a special concert at the ‘Royal Ballroom’ of the One & Only Royal Mirage, on November 16.

Violinist Elli Choi, who has played with the orchestra before, will be part of a line-up that includes players from Poland and China. A medley of Bach, Bizet, Mozart and other composers is what’s on offer.

Ahead of the concert, Gulf News spoke to Riad Kudsi, a Czech-Syrian violinist, director and conductor, and founder of the orchestra in 1994.The show is presented by by dcc Dubai Concert Committee as part of its World Classical Music Series. Here are the excepts from the conversation.

What can the audience expect?

This year, we celebrating the 25 anniversary of the orchestra. [In] 1994 I established the orchestra and this is very big occasion for us to celebrate - and for that we invite Eli Choi, who has already played four times before with us, [at the] age of seven and eight, nine and 12. Now, she is 18 years old. She plays in the biggest shows in the world and she plays as one of the premier violinists in the world. We are very proud that she accepts to come to play with us. For this concert we [also] invited from China 5 players from Music University - they will play Chinese instruments with our orchestra. [besides this] 18 players from Poland, from Youth Symphony Orchestra of Poland [will also be playing].

Talk to us a bit about the orchestra’s evolution and that of classical music in the UAE.

The orchestra [has] developed so much, we have now branch in Abu Dhabi, in Dubai and we are about 60 players.

I am very happy that [in] general in UAE people will demand [more such music now] and they would like to come to the concert for the classical music. And [I am] more happy that the government of the UAE is taking care now for this kind of music, because they found that it is a well-developed generation, and we have been asked from Ministry of Education to help them with that. And we will have some programmes with that develop music situation generally in the UAE.

What does the future hold for the UAE music scene?

We [just] had a meeting with the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates, Noura Al Kaabi, the government are serious to establish the National Symphony Orchestra. And we are in the process [of doing so]. Hopefully, in another 10-20 years, you will see for sure the UAE National Symphony Orchestra – with people from across all the emirates - is real.