Exciting performances by famous artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Hussain Al Jassmi and Ahlam Alshamsi undoubtedly helped make the grand opening ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai spectacular. But the goosebumps music of the all-female Firdaus Orchestra gave the eagerly awaited event an edge like never before. Founded and mentored by Oscar-winning Indian composer AR Rahman, the extraordinary ensemble captivated millions from around the world as well as the 3,000-strong audience at Al Wasl Plaza. And the artistic talent of the women will certainly continue to be a key talking point as they will play at all the major events and celebrations throughout the fair.
Two years of diligent work by the orchestra’s 50 musicians from 23 countries of the Arab world sees them ready to take the world stage by storm. The ensemble, which includes middle and professional players aged between 16 and 51, will hold their first official performance on October 23. The space day-themed event will feature works composed by Rahman, asked by the UAE Minister, Reem Al Hashimy. Head of State for International Cooperation and Managing Director of Expo 2020 Dubai will attend. Newfound fans can catch them at various concerts throughout the fair, including a special performance to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.
Audiences will be able to enjoy the fresh and interesting fusion of styles and genres they have perfected as they perform songs along dominant themes in a six-month celebration of creativity, innovation, human progress and culture. A wide variety of instruments, including Oriental and Arabic instruments such as Kanun and Oud, help create the unique rhythms of the Firdaus Orchestra. Leading the very special arrangements is Lebanese conductor Yasmina Sabbah, who is excited about conducting an all-female orchestra for the first time.
Sabbah, who is also the conductor of the Saint Joseph University Choir and President of Jeunesses Musicales du Liban, a Lebanese NGO that promotes music for extraordinary learning experiences, took to Instagram to share his excitement. The 33-year-old actress said she was “honored to lead this group of talented and inspiring women in the region.”
talking About herSabbah, a Cambridge University graduate who runs the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “When it comes to music, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female because in the end all that matters is the quality of the voice and the quality of the sound. interpretation of the orchestra. The purpose of having an all-female orchestra is a message of explanation and empowerment to the world to break stereotypes about women in the Middle East.”
With fraternity and community at its core and so much cultural diversity bringing different perspectives, the Firdaus Orchestra will definitely be making waves long after Expo 2020 Dubai is over. The plan is to have the members work their magic at the Firdaus Studio, an on-board orchestra that is the first recording studio in the emirates to be able to record a full orchestral performance in one go.