By Our Correspondent | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 23, 2018

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has announced an exceptional headline programme of concerts, performances and exhibitions as part of 15th Abu Dhabi Festival 2018 (ADF18)—a month-long festival of arts and culture—to be held in March 2018, celebrating the ‘Year of Zayed’ and the cultural wealth of India as the ‘Country of Honour’.

H.E. Navdeep Sing Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE commented, “It is a matter of pride that India has been chosen as the Guest of Honour for the 2018 edition of Abu Dhabi Festival. We look forward to working closely with HE Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo and her team to bring some of the finest elements of Indian culture to the arts loving people of Abu Dhabi.”

With more than 100 events, 26 productions, one co-production and 16 commissions across 30 venues, the Festival returns for its 15th year with an illustrious mix of artists, genres and nationalities as it celebrates India as the ‘Country of Honour’ and joins the nation in marking 2018 as the ‘Year of Zayed’—underscoring its commitment to future generations by championing cultural exchange, creativity and innovation in the arts.

Presenting more than 500 international artists from 30 different countries and featuring masterpieces by more than 40 composers, Abu Dhabi Festival 2018’s headline programme will include performances by world-renowned violinist Nicola Benedetti with UK’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; a theatrical spectacular of celebrating Indian dance The Merchants of Bollywood; the eminent Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia– Rome helmed by one of Europe’s most dynamic conductors, Sir Antonio Pappano and joined by pianist Beatrice Rana and violinist Kyung Wha Chung. Sarod Master Ustad Amjad Ali Khan also makes his Abu Dhabi Festival debut.

In line with its legacy to champion culture in all its forms, ADF18 will also recognise outstanding achievements in the music industry by prolific musical pioneers through the Abu Dhabi Festival Awards. This year’s recipients will include Krzysztof Penderecki in celebration of his prolific career as a composer and conductor, recognizing the cultural significance of his works for which he has been hailed as Poland’s greatest living composer, winning international awards including five GRAMMYs; Philip Glass, for his iconic contributions in redefining the parameters of contemporary classical music; and Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera House, London and Principal Conductor of Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia–Rome.

Marking the culmination of ADMAF’s year-round commitment to arts education and community enrichment, ADF18 will return with a series of Youth Platforms, empowering Emirati talent in the arts and culture field through the ADF Visual Arts Education Programme; Islamic Arts Workshops; Young Filmmakers’ Circle; Riwaq Al Fikr; Riwaq Al Adab wal Kitab; Riwaq Al Khatt Al Arabi; The Gulf Capital – Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award; the Gulf Capita – ADMAF Creativity Award; The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award; the Cultural Excellence Fellowship.

The Festival’s Community Programmes will include a calendar of events, exhibitions, performances and workshops to provide engaging, innovative and inspiring platforms for people of all ages to enjoy. Highlights during 2018 include the return of Festival in the Park with two nights of performances and workshops from an eclectic line-up of innovative musicians including Gilles Chuyen, The Raghu Dixet Project, Nesma Abdul Aziz and Zahed Sultan; Music in Hospitals; Festival in Focus; and Ministry of Science—Arabic, and film screenings from India amongst many others.

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