Abu Dhabi Festival

Abu Dhabi Festival

Few events can, in the space of a month, attract performances from jazz maestro Wynton Marsalis, Spanish piano virtuoso Juan Pérez Floristán and China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra, among many others. The Abu Dhabi Festival is one such event.

The annual festival celebrates Arab creativity and diversity through a series of performances and collaborations with international acts and artists. The month-long festival brings together talents across a spectrum of arts such as theatre, dance, music, opera, literature and visual arts. Organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE Minister of Tolerance, the Abu Dhabi Festival strives to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue while inspiring a genuine interest in the cultures of the Arab world.

Founded in 2004 by Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, the Abu Dhabi Festival is a reflection of her vision to inspire artists to create, generations to innovate and communities to unite and prosper. Since 2008, the festival has gained further prominence by advocating cultural diplomacy. It has done so by re-commissioning works of global significance and presenting artists of Arab origin to the world.

In 2018, the event honoured the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, who was known as a firm advocate of openness and culture, through “The Year of Zayed”. It did so by notably hosting an opera performance by American soprano Deborah Voigt and Lebanese tenor Bechara Moufarrej, a concert by Indian classical sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, as well as a representation of Don Quixote.

Since 2012, the festival has recognised the contributions of eminent artists to the fields of music, theatre, multimedia, visual arts and culture through the annual Abu Dhabi Festival Award. The 2018 edition of the award celebrated Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki.

In its future editions, the Abu Dhabi Festival will continue to inspire tolerance, respect and enlightenment among its global audience.