Twelve accomplished musicians, under the artistic direction of award-winning musician and composer Layth Sidiq, graced the stage. The extraordinary performance was infused with elements of improvisation and a fusion of traditional and contemporary Arabic sounds.
Guests were invited to embark on a captivating journey through the diverse and rich world of Arabic music and culture, as the concert provided an unforgettable evening featuring an eclectic repertoire that spanned different eras and regions of Arabic music. Audiences enjoyed a tapestry of sound that included original compositions, interactive elements, and unique arrangements.
Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, emphasised the Festival’s significant position on the international stage. She highlighted its role in promoting cultural diplomacy and introducing Arab cultural heritage and music legacy to the world, as well as building bridges between cultures through dialogue.
She said, “The Abu Dhabi Festival takes pride in its strategic partnership with the Middle East Institute in Washington, and its collaboration with the institute’s Arts and Culture Center to promote Arab culture and music. One of the ways we achieve this is by presenting the New York Arabic Orchestra, under the artistic direction of award-winning violinist and composer Layth Sidiq. The orchestra, consisting of 12 talented musicians, cements the presence of Arab music and culture in the United States and the wider world.”
She concluded by saying, “We recognise the influential role culture, and the arts have in promoting the values of coexistence and global peace, as seen in the masterpieces of the Rahbani Brothers, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and Zaki Nassif. We follow in their footsteps through the collaboration with one of the world’s leading Arabic music ensembles, as they perform at the renowned venue, The Barns at Wolf Trap in Washington. This historic music venue welcomes more than 80 artistic performances each year, spanning from legendary vocalists to chamber musicians and jazz greats.”
The New York Arabic Orchestra (NYAO), founded in 2007, has been at the forefront of transforming Arabic music education in New York City and influencing audiences globally. Over its 15-year existence, NYAO has delivered powerful performances and workshops in prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Damrosch Park, and Detroit Symphony Hall. The NYAO’s influence extends internationally, with appearances at events like the Festival Musicas Do Mundo in Portugal and the Taipei Silk Road Music Conference in Taiwan.
Through its concerts and classes, NYAO has inspired countless individuals, both Arab-American and non-native, to connect with the music and culture of the Arabic world. Layth Sidiq, a Grammy-nominated violinist, composer, and educator, serves as the current artistic director of the New York Arab Orchestra. He has shared the stage with major artists such as Simon Shaheen, Danilo Perez, and Jack DeJohnette, performing in renowned venues including the London Jazz Festival, Boston Symphony Hall, WOMEX Expo, and the Panama Jazz Festival.
Sidiq is also featured on multiple award-winning albums and has received prestigious awards, including 2nd place at the Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition and the title of ‘Best International Artist’ at the 2020 Boston Music Awards. He is the lead vocalist and violinist for the new Assassin’s Creed game ‘Mirage,’ set to release in 2023.
About the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF)
Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, cultural organisations in the Arabian Gulf. Pioneering new artistic practices, it seeks to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in the creativity of the UAE and Arab world. Often in partnership with leading national and international institutions, it delivers multidisciplinary initiatives for people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities through the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round youth platforms and community programmes.
For more information, please visit ADMAF website at: www.admaf.org
About Abu Dhabi Festival
Founded in 2004, the Festival was generously granted the patronage of the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from 2007 to 2011. The first Abu Dhabi Festival was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then Minister of Information and Culture (currently the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation).
Abu Dhabi Festival is the festival of “Bilad Al Khayr”, the land of blessings, the land of Zayed, and embraces the values of dialogue, tolerance, respect and peace.
For more information, please visit www.abudhabifestival.ae