Abu Dhabi: Classical music enthusiasts in the capital who are searching for a special way to welcome the New Year now have the perfect way to do so. The Unesco Artists for Peace, World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of maestro Valery Gergiev will make their way to the Emirates Palace Hotel for their highly anticipated concert on January 4.

"This is in fact our first performance in any Arab country and we are extremely happy that it should be in Abu Dhabi. For this concert there will be 76 musicians, representing 62 orchestras from 30 countries in addition to musicians representing the Lebanese Philharmonic, Egyptian Philharmonic and West-Eastern Divan Orchestras," Charles Kaye, Director and General Manager of the World Orchestra for Peace, said.

The event, which is organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (Admaf), will see the orchestra perform popular classics including Rossini's William Tell Overture, Prokofiev's Symphony No 1 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 5.


"Our invitation from Admaf was the first we received from any Arab country. When I visited Abu Dhabi for preliminary discussions last March, it became clear to me very quickly how important to this country are the concepts of tolerance, humanity and peace — and how genuine their wish to bring these messages to a worldwide constituency," Kaye said.

The idea for the orchestra came about at a concert given at Buckingham Palace in 1992, to celebrate acclaimed composer Sir Georg Solti's 80th birthday.

Three years later, Sir Solti was asked by the UN to organise a special concert to celebrate its 50th anniversary and the World Orchestra for Peace was born. It has since gone from strength to strength, and in August 2010 it became the first orchestra in the world to be designated as a Unesco Artist for Peace.

"We are immensely proud to have been the first major orchestra to receive this designation. As we promised Unesco, when we received the designation from Irina Bokova, Unesco director-general, all of us will carry the ideals and aims of that organisation with us wherever we perform, both collectively and individually," Kaye said.

Peaceful cooperation

"We can only do our best to convey through music the message of peaceful cooperation and intercultural dialogue…we live in hope that the politicians of this world will pick up this example," he added.

The capital is the only city that The World Orchestra for Peace is performing at in 2011, the following year is expected to be quite busy .

Information on how to get tickets

  • What: Unesco Artists for Peace, World Orchestra for Peace performance
  • When: January 4, 2011
  • Where: The Auditorium at Emirates Palace Hotel
  • Time: 6pm
  • Website: www.abudhabifestival.ae

Tickets can be purchased online from www.timeouttickets.com and from the Emirates Palace ticketing desk from December 20th, open 3pm to 7pm daily, or by calling the ticketing hotline on +971509076158.

Prices start from Dh195 to Dh495. A limited number of tickets have been made available free-of-charge for students living and studying in the UAE. Email: student.tickets@admfau.ae.