UAE may lose only professional orchestra after conductor’s departure

Posted on: September 19, 2012

Tuesday (9/18) on the Time Out Dubai website, Rob Garratt writes, “Dubai is home to glitzy hotels, luxury resorts and exquisite fine-dining. It hosts world-class nightlife, attracts increasingly high-profile gigs and is home to a rapidly developing arts scene. Yet classical music is conspicuously absent from its list of cultural attractions. What little scene there is took a hefty blow recently: the UAE’s only professional orchestra suffered a huge setback after news that its conductor, Philipp Maier, has resigned. Maier established the Abu Dhabi-based UAE Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005, which became one of three internationally recognised orchestras in the Gulf, alongside the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. But this summer the conductor hung up his baton and returned to Germany, blaming a lack of financial support and awareness, and branding the UAE’s classical music scene as ‘an absolute disaster’. … There are a still a handful of amateur ensembles, such as the UAE National Symphony Orchestra, which launched in Abu Dhabi this year, and Dubai Chamber Orchestra, a group of amateur expats who perform about three concerts a year.”

Posted September 19, 2012