Romantic Programme Led by ‘Poet of the Violin’ renders Audience Awe-struck

(Abu Dhabi, UAE: 23 March 2013): The lyrical sounds of Grammy-award winning American violinist Joshua Bell’s 300 year old Huberman Stradivarius entranced a sold-out audience at Emirates Palace last night with a virtuoso performance that commenced the final week of the landmark 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Festival.

Conductor Jiří Bĕlohlávek led the Czech Philharmonic, one of the world’s most sought-after orchestras, through the passionate notes of Bedřich Smetana’s ‘Vltava’ from ‘Má vlast’, Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 led by Bell’s plaintive, soaring violin, and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No.7. As the last notes faded away, the crowd rose in a thunderous ovation.

H.E. Mrs. Hoda I. Al Khamis – Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, spoke after the performance: “It is an honour for us to host a musician of the stature of Joshua Bell, and a greater privilege still is watching the impact of a performance like this on Abu Dhabi audiences, who are so receptive and were so deeply touched this evening. This is the most adventurous classical concert of our tenth edition, and the audience’s reception tonight proves that Abu Dhabi audiences are open to new influences, and eclectic in their tastes. That an instrument made 300 years ago could move an audience so profoundly today is testament to the universal language of music and the unrelenting power of culture, the essence of which drives the Festival to grow year on year.”

Known widely as ‘the poet of the violin,’ Joshua Bell has been a soloist and recording artist for over 30 years, performing in concert halls around the world as well as on numerous award-winning soundtracks. His most notable film work is the Oscar-winning soundtrack to the film ‘The Red Violin.’ Bell is Music Director of the renowned Academy of St. Martin-in–the-Fields, and recently recorded Beethoven’s 4th and 7th symphonies with the Academy for Sony Classical.

The last week of this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival will see some of its most high-profile guests perform in the capital. Tonight Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil will take the stage at Emirates Palace with his fusion Afro-Brazilian sounds, and on March 24 Chinese piano virtuoso Yundi will perform some of Chopin’s and Beethoven’s best-loved works. On March 25, the Festival will welcome Lebanese composers and inheritors of a musical dynasty Ghadi and Oussama Rahbani together with a host of stars for ‘The Rahbani Legacy,’ and on March 26 during the Festival’s Double Gala, Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel will perform after the world premiere of a symphonic piece especially commissioned by the Festival for its 10th edition, ‘Poème Orientale’ by Lebanese composer Bechara El-Khoury.

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