Abu Dhabi Classics, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, is in its ninth season. The series is set to bring a dynamic and diverse program of classical and traditional music to the Capital.
The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi is delighted to announce the new program of Abu Dhabi Classics which is produced by Flash Entertainment, the region’s leading entertainment business.
A highlight in the UAE’s cultural calendar, Abu Dhabi Classics 2019/20 concert-goers can expect a rich and diverse program which will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The programme will offer classical delights that include world-renowned orchestras and soloists, inspiring ballets, and renowned artists from the Arab World, and a vast variety of performing arts, bringing together the strongest line up to date.
The highly anticipated Abu Dhabi Classics 2019/20 will commence on Thursday 10 October and Friday 11 October at the Cultural Foundation with one of the finest orchestras in the world, the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra.
Abu Dhabi Classics will run from October 2019 and the further details of the program will be announced soon.
Mikhail Pletnev, conductor
Lucas Debargue, piano
UAE National Anthem (3')
G. Getty: Homework Suite (6')
P.I. Tchaikovsky: Piano concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23 (32')
P.I. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64 (44')
Russian National Orchestra
Pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra in 1990. Following its debut at the BBC Proms in London, the Evening Standard wrote: “They played with such captivating beauty that the audience gave an involuntary sigh of pleasure.” The RNO has been described as “a living symbol of the best in Russian art” (Miami Herald), and “as close to perfect as one could hope for” (Trinity Mirror).
Maintaining an active international schedule, the RNO performs in the music capitals of Europe, Asia and the Americas; is a frequent guest at festivals such as the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms and Festival Napa Valley; and presents the RNO Grand Festival each September to open the Moscow season.
RNO concerts are aired on National Public Radio, Russia’s Kultura channel and by the European Broadcasting Union. The orchestra’s discography, launched with a highly praised 1991 recording of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique (Symphony No.6), now numbers more than 80 critically acclaimed recordings. Notable releases include the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos on Deutsche Grammophon, Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies for Pentatone, and the RNO Shostakovich project, also on Pentatone, described as “the most exciting cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies to be put down on disc, and easily the best recorded” (SA-CD.net).
The recording of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Jean-Pascal Beintus’s Wolf Tracks, conducted by Kent Nagano and narrated by Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, received a 2004 Grammy Award, making the RNO the first Russian orchestra to win the recording industry’s highest honour. The recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, conducted by Paavo Järvi, was awarded the Diapason d’Or de l’Année as the best symphonic album of 2015, and was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award.
Mikhail Pletnev’s genius as pianist, conductor and composer enchants and amazes audiences around the world. His musicianship encompasses a dazzling technical power and provocative emotional range; a searching interpretation that fuses instinct with intellect. Pletnev was the Gold Medal and First Prize winner in the piano contest of the 1978 International Tchaikovsky Competition, aged just 21; a prize that earned him early recognition worldwide. An invitation to perform at the 1988 Superpower Summit in Washington, D.C. led to a friendship with Mikhail Gorbachev and the historic opportunity to make music in artistic freedom. In 1990, Pletnev formed the first independent orchestra in Russia’s history. The risks of this step, even with Gorbachev’s endorsement, were enormous but it was Pletnev’s reputation and commitment that made this long-held dream a reality.
Sharing his vision for a new model for the performing arts, many of the country’s finest musicians joined Pletnev in launching the Russian National Orchestra. Under his leadership, in just a few years the RNO achieved a towering stature among world orchestras. Pletnev describes the RNO as his greatest joy and continues to serve as its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. In 2006, he launched the Mikhail Pletnev Fund for the Support of National Culture, a non-profit that supports major cultural initiatives, including the RNO’s annual Grand Festival that opens the Moscow cultural season each September.
Pletnev’s recordings and live performances have proved him to be an outstanding interpreter of an extensive repertoire, both as pianist and conductor. The Daily Telegraph remarked, "from Pletnev’s fingers and brain come ideas that vitalise the music and make it teem with freshness and wit. [He] made the music positively leap for joy.” The Times describes his playing as “born of a prodigious virtuosity of imagination outrageous in its beauty”.
Pletnev’s recordings have earned numerous prizes, including a 2005 Grammy Award for his own arrangement, for two pianos, of Prokofiev’s Cinderella, with Martha Argerich and himself at the keyboards. He also received Grammy nominations for recordings of Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes (2004) and Sergei Rachmaninov and Prokofiev Piano Concertos No. 3, with the RNO and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (2003). His album of Domenico Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonatas (Virgin/EMI) received a 1996 Gramophone Award. BBC Music Magazine called the recording “piano playing at its greatest ... this performance alone would be enough to secure Pletnev a place among the greatest pianists ever known”. The New Yorker named his recording of the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos (Deutsche Grammophon) the ‘Best of 2007’.
Pletnev’s compositions include works for orchestra, piano, strings and voices. His transcriptions for piano of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite and Sleeping Beauty were selected, along with his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.2 and The Seasons, for the 1998 anthology Great Pianists of the 20th Century (Philips Classics).
The son of musician parents, Pletnev was conducting and learning multiple instruments as a child. He entered the Moscow Conservatory as a teenager. Today, he is one of Russia’s most respected and influential artists. An advisor on Russia’s Cultural Council, Pletnev is regularly praised for his contributions to Russia’s artistic life. He received a Presidential Prize in 2007 and the Platonov Award in 2014. Pianist, conductor, composer and cultural leader — all are significant facets of his life as an artist but he considers himself simply a musician.
French pianist Lucas Debargue first revealed his talents to the world with his performances at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in June 2015. Although placed fourth in the final round, he was the only candidate across all disciplines who was awarded the coveted Moscow Music Critics Prize as a pianist, “whose incredible gift, artistic vision and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience”.
After this breakthrough, Debargue was invited as a soloist to join leading orchestras to perform at the most prestigious venues: the Grand Hall of Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow; Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Concert Hall and the Philharmonie; the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Salle Gaveau and the Philharmony in Paris; Milan’s Conservatory; London’s Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall; Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; Munich’s Prince-Regent Theatre and the Berlin Philharmonie; Stockholm’s Konzerthuset; New York’s Carnegie Hall; and concert halls of Tokyo, Osaka, Seattle, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Mexico, Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai and Seoul.
He collaborates with such famous conductors as Varely Gergiev, Vladimir Yurowski, Andrey Boreyko, Yutaka Sado, Tugan Sokhiev, Vladimir Fedoseev and Vladimir Spivakov. He also regularly appears in chamber formations with Gidon Kremer, Janine Jansen and Martin Frost.
Debargue was born in 1990 and his path to the performing arts was all but conventional: he began studying piano when he was 11, but soon switched to literature and graduated from Paris Diderot University (Paris 7) with a Bachelor’s degree in the arts. Nevertheless, he took the time to explore most of the piano repertoire on his own during his teenage years.
Debargue only started professional piano training at the age of 20. A life-changing meeting in 2011 with the celebrated piano teacher Réna Shereshevskaya, followed by the opportunity to join her class at the Paris Cortot Music School (École Normale de Musique de Paris ‘Alfred Cortot’) determined his commitment to music. In 2014, he won first prize in the ninth International Piano Competition in Gaillard, France, and was then a prizewinner at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition. In April 2016, he obtained his Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste and a Special Cortot Prize at the Cortot Music School. He worked with Shereshevskaya for one more year at the postgraduate level at the same school.
A performer of fierce integrity and dazzling communicative power, Debargue draws inspiration from literature, painting, cinema and jazz, and develops personal interpretations of his selected repertoire. Although the core piano repertoire is central to his career, he enjoys presenting works by lesser-known composers such as Nikolai Medtner Nikolai Roslavets and Milosz Magin. He also composes and performs his own music: a concertino, Orpheo di camera, for piano, drums and a string orchestra was composed in Cēsis (Latvia) in June 2017 with Kremerata Baltica, and a piano trio was created at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris September 2017.
Represented by Sony Classical, Debargue has released three solo piano recordings: Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, Grieg & Schubert (2016); Bach, Beethoven, Medtner (2016) and Schubert, Szymanowsky (2017), and a chamber music recording (Messian – Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps with Martin Fröst, Janine Jancen and Torlief Thedéen). In October 2019, he will release his fourth piano recording: 4 CDs with 52 sonatas of Scarlatti.
In 2017, Debargue was awarded a prestigious German ECHO Klassik prize and Bel-Air Productions released a documentary which follows the pianist after his success at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.
Vladislav Lavrik, one of the most talented musicians of his generation, is Russia’s finest trumpeter and a rising young conductor. Recognised for achievements in both classical and jazz performance styles, he was appointed principal trumpet of the Russian National Orchestra at the age of 20, the youngest person to hold a principal chair in the history of the orchestra.
Since 2008, Lavrik has been a member of the trumpet faculty of the Moscow State Conservatory. In 2011, he was elected to the board of the International Trumpet Guild, the first Russian to be given this recognition and responsibility. In 2016, he received the Russian Presidential Prize for Young Artists, the country’s highest honour for young artists.
In 2010, Lavrik made his conducting debut with the Russian National Orchestra at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. Since then, he has led the RNO in its regular concert season and at festival concerts, including the 2014 programme dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky. Pletnev, the RNO’s founding conductor, invited Lavrik to the podium for his 2012 return to the concert stage as solo pianist, and Lavrik again led the RNO with Pletnev as soloist in their 2015 concerts in South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan. The 2013 Minnesota Beethoven Festival marked Lavrik’s conducting debut in the United States, leading the RNO in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6.
In addition to his work with the RNO, Lavrik has guest-conducted other leading Russian orchestras, including the Symphony Orchestra ‘New Russia’, the State Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra Musica Viva’, the Krasnoyarsk Academic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Urdmurtia, the State Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Ministry of Defence, and the State Wind Orchestra.