Abu Dhabi Festival Presents Virtuoso Nicola Benedetti Telling the ‘Story of the Violin’
In words and music, Benedetti passionately tells the story of four famous compositions by Biber, Bach, Paganini and Ysaÿe
Under the sponsorship of its lead partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), the 18th edition of the Abu Dhabi Festival, held under the theme ‘The Future Starts Now’, unveils The Story of the Violin, a unique performance by star violinist Nicola Benedetti, CBE on 29 June.
The intimate virtual concert will feature Benedetti, alone on a rustic stage, vividly describing the little-known histories and intricacies that make four violin compositions from the last 350 years seminal to the instrument’s captivating story. Following each narrative, Benedetti will then play the composition with the passion that has grown out of the deep connection she feels to each of these pieces by Biber, Bach, Niccolò Paganini and Eugène Ysaÿe.
The performance will be presented across Abu Dhabi Festival’s digital channels, in cooperation with the Benedetti Foundation. In addition, a piece composed by Wynton Marsalis for a special project by the Benedetti Foundation will be played by violin proteges around the world.
Her Excellency Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Our strong partnership with the Benedetti Foundation presents unparalleled musicians at Abu Dhabi Festival, and we are delighted to work with the most sought-after violinist of her generation. Nicola Benedetti’s passionate performances of compositions by Biber, Bach, Paganini and Ysaÿe, as well as her narration of the stories behind each, highlight the emotional power and journey of the violin. Her historic collaboration with jazz legend Wynton Marsalis to invest in young violinists will reach a global audience including the next generation, bringing the Festival abroad with a unique virtual concert experience.”
Nicola Benedetti said: “I am so excited to share this project with Abu Dhabi Festival’s audiences. This is a unique and personal performance celebrating the history and emotional power of this magical instrument. Through these four seminal works – which stretch some 350 years – we will explore the extraordinary story and sound of the violin. I am also thrilled that through the Benedetti Foundation we were able to work with violin students from around the world on a specially composed piece by Wynton Marsalis. I can’t wait.”
HE Mansoor Abdullah Khalfan Belhoul – UAE Ambassador to the UK added: “The United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom have enjoyed a long history of cultural collaboration. This is reflected in initiatives and partnerships which include art exhibitions, cultural exchange programmes, music and the performing arts.
“I am looking forward to what is sure to be a memorable performance by Nicola Benedetti, who is an incredibly gifted musician. I’m proud that the Abu Dhabi Festival is bringing this performance to an international audience and it is fitting that this celebration occurs as we mark 50 years of our strong bond with the United Kingdom. I am sure that this performance will inspire musicians and music lovers of all ages in the UAE, UK and around the world.”
HE Patrick Moody – British Ambassador to the UAE said: “I am very excited to hear that Nicola Benedetti CBE will be performing for the Abu Dhabi Festival later this month. Nicola is a multi-award winning British violinist and one of the most influential classical artists of her generation. She is a passionate advocate of classical music and musical education. I have no doubt that Abu Dhabi Festival’s virtual audience will be captivated by Nicola’s musical performance.”
Held under the theme ‘The Future Starts Now’, the year-long programme for the 18th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival combines a unique hybrid programme of virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions and events leveraging the latest digital technology, and with the participation of over 500 artists from more than 50 countries. The Festival will provide audiences with 16 exciting world premieres, 12 festival productions, eight global co-productions and four exclusive commissions, with 1 global music tour.
Based on its clear vision to adapt to the rapid digital transformation and the sustainability of cultural initiatives, Abu Dhabi Festival combines a unique hybrid programme of virtual and in-person performances, exhibitions, and events leveraging the latest digital technology.
New album from Nicola Benedetti on Decca Classics: Baroque
Decca Classics has announced a new Baroque album from Grammy award-winning violinist Nicola Benedetti. This is the first album Benedetti has released on a period set-up including gut strings, and she is joined by a leading group of freelance baroque musicians, forming the Benedetti Baroque Orchestra for the very first time. The album features a selection of concerti by Vivaldi plus Geminiani’s incredible arrangement of Corelli’s ‘La Folia’, one of the oldest western classical themes which has been arranged by many composers over time, particularly in the baroque era. Geminiani was one of the greatest violinists of the era and Corelli was one of his teachers whilst growing up in Italy. Later when he moved to London, Geminiani reworked a number of Corelli’s works for local audiences including this arrangement of ‘La Folia’. Singles will be released on 4, 25 June and 2 July in the lead-up to the full album being available from Friday 16 July.
Baroque Virtual Sessions: July 2021
Baroque music is a gift to the world of music education and for the first time the Benedetti Foundation presents the Baroque Virtual Sessions for three weeks in July. Following the enormous success of the four Virtual Sessions which have taken place during the pandemic, the Benedetti Foundation will work with musicians of all ages and stages on Geminiani’s La Folia which features on the Baroque album. This work is a ‘Theme and Variations’ and will be especially arranged by the Ayoub Sisters for all levels of playing from beginner to advanced. The Sessions will be led by experts in baroque performance and supported by the Foundation’s brilliant team of tutors. Together they will pull apart the fundamental elements of baroque music, working on expression, interplay, structure, bass lines, improvisation, dance, rhythm and virtuosity. The Foundation will also collaborate with a group of young and innovative dancers, who will help participants to set their bodies free to explore rhythm and expression.
8 concerts at Battersea Arts Centre in London
UK audiences can enjoy a series of eight intimate, live concerts of music featured on the new album in the beautiful setting of Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall from 18 – 21 July, the same venue Baroque was recorded in. These concerts will last approximately one hour and are presented by Nicola Benedetti with Askonas Holt. The atmosphere will be conversational, spontaneous, uplifting and personal. The concerts will prove to be a unique offer bringing much needed joy as we emerge from the pandemic, and audiences are welcomed back into the COVID-secure concert hall.
About Nicola Benedetti
- Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.
- With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe and frequently makes appearances in the world’s leading concert halls.
- In April 2021 Nicola gave the world premiere of Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and gives the German premiere with WDR Köln in June.
- Winner of the GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo in 2020, as well as Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her latest recording of Elgar’s Violin Concerto entered at number one in the UK’s Official Classical Album Char Other recent recordings include her GRAMMY award-winning album written especially for her by jazz musician Wynton Marsalis: Violin Concerto in D and Fiddle Dance Suite for Solo Violin.
- Her past recordings on Universal/Deutsche Grammophon include a varied catalogue of works from Shostakovich & Glazunov Violin Concertos and Szymanowski Concerto (London Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding) to Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, which made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official U.K. Albums Chart.
- Nicola Benedetti was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours List, for services to music and was the Winner of the Best Classical Award at The Global Awards 2019.
About Abu Dhabi Festival
Founded in 2004, Abu Dhabi Festival was initially a small arts and culture platform that soon graduated to one of the world’s premiere annual events. Held in the UAE, it celebrates artistic and creative excellence, and promotes the role of music and the arts in bringing nations closer. It also promotes Abu Dhabi as a leading global hub for creativity and as an Emirati beacon for respect and tolerance.
Strengthened by a growing network of 30 international partners, the festival brings audiences together each year to enjoy world premieres and exclusive commissions in the UAE and around the world.
Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation
Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, not-for-profit 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.
About Mubadala Investment Company
Mubadala Investment Company is a sovereign investor managing a global portfolio, aimed at generating sustainable financial returns for the Government of Abu Dhabi.
Mubadala’s $243.4 billion (AED 894 billion) portfolio spans six continents with interests in multiple sectors and asset classes. We leverage our deep sectoral expertise and long-standing partnerships to drive sustainable growth and profit, while supporting the continued diversification and global integration of the economy of the United Arab Emirates.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala has offices in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Beijing.