Your guide to Abu Dhabi Festival 2017

The Abu Dhabi Festival supports emerging Emirati talent and advocates the importance of arts and culture in the UAE.

11:21 March 20, 2017

What is Abu Dhabi Festival?

Under the patronage of H.E. Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the Abu Dhabi Festival is the UAE’s leading celebration of arts and culture. Launched in 2004, it continues to attract the highest calibre of artists to the UAE capital every year. The Festival has secured its place as the Arabian Gulf’s largest cultural event and has established partnerships with some of the world’s most influential cultural institutions including the Institut du Monde Arabe, Institut Francais, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House and Carnegie Hall.

When does it take place?

March 1 to March  31 2017

Where is it?

Abu Dhabi Festival’s main headlining programme is held at the Emirates Palace Auditorium.

Additionally, the Festival Recital series take place at NYU Abu Dhabi in collaboration with their Arts Centre.

And the Visual Arts series and exhibition, The Art of Nature, will be taking place at Umm Al Emarat Park this year.

How much are the tickets?

Diamond Dh350, Pearl Dh250, Balcony Dh125

Mariza in Concert: All seats Dh250, Students receive 50 per cent discount (ID required).

Dress code

While there is no strict dress code for the main programme at Emirates Palace, guests are encouraged to dress formally

Performances to watch out for

China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra

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Timing Friday March 24 at 8pm, Saturday March 25 at 8pm Location Emirates Palace Auditorium

Night one features Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with pianist Haochen Zhang and Dvorák Symphony No.9 in E Minor.

Night two features Bach’s Chaconne in D Minor, the prolific violinist Siqing Lü with The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto – a masterpiece by He Zhanhao & Chen Gang – and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite.

Wynton Marsalis in Concert

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Timing Monday March 27 at 8pm, Location Emirates Palace Auditorium

After a legendary sold-out performance at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Festival, the Wynton Marsalis Ensemble returns to the UAE by popular demand, joined by a protégé from The Juilliard School.

The Queen Of Fado: Mariza 

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Timing Wednesday March 29 at 8 pm, Location Emirates Palace Auditorium

Affectionately known as the ‘Queen of Fado’, GRAMMY-nominated singer Mariza is the most celebrated champion of the Portuguese musical genre and has become one of the most widely acclaimed stars on the World Music circuit.

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

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Timing Friday March 31 at 8 pm Location Emirates Palace Auditorium

Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has redefined classical music for 21 century audiences.

Described as “vibrant and virtuosic” by the Wall Street Journal, “one of the 21st century’s great ensembles” by the Vancouver Sun, and a “roving musical laboratory without walls” by the Boston Globe, The Ensemble features musicians from more than 20 countries, including spellbinding Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh.

The visual arts program during Abu Dhabi Festival at Um Al Emarat Park from March 23 to April 23 

The Art of Nature

The exhibition is free to attend and open to all

There are also lots of education and community events happening throughout the month in Abu Dhabi as part of the festival, including workshops and events in Umm Al Emarat Park. 


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