By Julian Francalanza
The special 10th anniversary edition of the InClassica International Music Festival has arrived in Dubai, organised by the European Foundation for Support of Culture in conjunction with SAMIT Event Group. Starting on the 15th of August and running until the 26th of September, the United Arab Emirates city has been transformed into a hub of classical music, with concerts, competitions, and masterclasses set to take place around every corner.
Throughout its 43-day duration the Festival is presenting a staggering 37 soloists, consisting of a number of the biggest names working in the world of classical music today. Some of the participating musicians include:
Grammy Award, twice Gramophone Classical Music Award, Classic Brit Award and five times Edison Classical Music Award winner, violinist Maxim Vengerov (Monaco);
ECHO Klassik Award winner, Gold Medal of Salzburg and Vienna recipient, pianist Rudolf Buchbinder (Austria);
Winner of the Tchaikovsky International Competition, pianist Denis Matsuev (Russia);
Gold medallist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and multiple First Prize Winner at numerous other international competitions, Yekwon Sunwoo (South Korea);
Exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, five-times recipient of the Record Academy Prize in Tokyo, three-times recipient of the Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis award and multiple Grammy Award-nominee, cellist Mischa Maisky (Belgium);
Exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, 2016 Vladimir Spivakov International Violin Competition Winner and “Young Artist of the Year 2017” award recipient at the Festival of Nations, virtuoso violinist Daniel Lozakovich (Sweden);
Gramophone’s Instrumental Album of the Year winner, Critics’ Choice at the Classic BRITS awards and CBE recipient, cellist Steven Isserlis (UK);
Recipient of the Music Prize of the city of Duisburg (2017) and International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Freedom, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion, four-times ECHO Klassik Award-winner, pianist Fazil Say (Turkey);
Multiple-times Grammy Award-winner, Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or and Avery Fisher Prize recipient, violinist Gil Shaham (USA);
Seven-times ECHO Klassik Award winner, violinist Daniel Hope (UK);
Emmy, ECHO Klassik and Orphee d’or award winner, opera soprano Danielle de Niese (USA/Australia);
First Prize-winner at the London International Piano Competition (2009) and Decca Classics recording artist, pianist Behzod Abduraimov (Uzbekistan);
Exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, two-times Opus Klassik Award-winner and Principal Clarinettist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Andreas Ottensamer (Austria);
Winner of the 1986 Rostropovich International Competition in Paris, BMG (RCA), Sony and EMI recording artist, cellist Gary Hoffman (Canada/USA/France);
First Prize winner in the Rome Piano Competition and prizewinner of various other international competitions including the Grand Prix of the Montecarlo World Piano-Masters and F. Busoni Competition, recording artist for labels including EMI Classics and Dinemec Classics, pianist Roustem Saitkoulov (Russia/France);
2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels winner, pianist Denis Kozhukhin (Russia);
Recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant, 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and Robert Levin Award (Harvard University), top prize winner of the Tibor Varga International Violin Competition, youngest ever prize winner of the Menuhin Competition and Winner of the 2019 Queen Elisabeth Competition (Brussels), violinist Stella Chen (USA);
Metropolitan Opera Star, Grammy-nominated exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, award-winner at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, winner of the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan, prize-winner in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia (1999), featured soloist at the 2011 Nobel Prize Concert in Stockholm, recipient of the 2014 International Opera Awards’ Readers’ Award, Malta’s first cultural ambassador since 2012, lyric tenor Joseph Calleja (Malta);
Artist-In-Residence of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and “Artist-In-Resonance” at the Musikkollegium Winterthur, recipient of the Beethoven-Ring by the German society ‘Bürger für Beethoven’, pianist Kit Armstrong (USA), and many others.
Appearing at the famed Dubai Opera and Coca-Cola Arena, these soloists are accompanied by a total of 7 orchestras, namely the Russian National Orchestra (Russia), Armenian State Symphony Orchestra (Armenia), Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra (Slovakia), Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (Israel), Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (Malta), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany), and the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra (Russia).
Led by a variety of distinguished conductors from around the world, including Mikhail Pletnev (Russia), Sergey Smbatyan (Armenia), Felix Korobov (Russia), Gergely Madaras (Hungary), Daniel Raiskin (Russia/Netherlands), Marius Stravinsky (UK), and Alexander Sladkovsky (Russia), among many others, the orchestras are interpreting a vast variety of concertos, symphonies and other music from the pens of some of the most beloved composers in the romantic and classical canons, along with contemporary work by Composer-in-Residence Alexey Shor.
This special edition of InClassica also sees the debut of the Middle East Classical Music Academy (MECMA), which ranges from the 4th to the 23rd of September. Organised under the auspices of the EUFSC and SAMIT, the inaugural edition of this Academy sees a host of preeminent musicians and professors from all over the world leading a series of lectures, seminars and masterclasses in the fields of piano, strings, and wind over the course of three weeks.
In addition, the MECMA also includes a number of daily lunchtime concerts throughout its run, with select Academy students being given the unique opportunity of performing on stage alongside various celebrated soloists and two international orchestras.
Moreover, this August, visitors to Dubai were also able to attend the grand finale of the EUFSC’s Classic Piano International Competition, having commenced on 15th August and finished on 3rd September. Serving as the culmination to the 2-year international ‘14 Ways to Dubai Project’, this competition saw all the top performers of the preliminary contests testing their musical abilities against each other over four gruelling rounds, with a total prize fund of €300,000 up for grabs at the end.
(Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of European Foundation for Support of Culture)
“I am incredibly excited to announce the arrival of InClassica to Dubai. After 10 years this festival has now garnered an impressive reputation throughout the classical music world, and it is only fitting that it enters the Middle East for the first time in history to mark its 10th anniversary. An absolute celebration of classical music is taking place around us, with various projects and events being presented every day throughout this beautiful city for almost two months. There is something for everyone’s tastes, and the quality of the soloists who have joined us, not to mention the orchestras, conductors, and even the venues that have been selected, means that this will undoubtedly turn out to be a truly memorable and delightful experience for all those here as well as those yet to arrive” – Konstantin Ishkhanov, President of the EUFSC.
Tickets for the 2021 edition of the InClassica International Music Festival are currently available. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the official website at inclassica.com.
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