Abu Dhabi shuts down its orchestra

Abu Dhabi shuts down its orchestra


norman lebrecht

February 16, 2018

Apparently, there’s too much competition from visiting orchestras.

Statement by Janet Hassouneh, the orchestra’s founder and executive director:

‘NSO Symphony Orchestra has delighted discerning music lovers for the past seven years, both at the Emirates Palace and in venues across the emirates. With a growing number of world-class facilities opening in the UAE, attracting international soloists and orchestras, I feel it’s the right time to pass on the baton to these new purveyors, so that audiences can enjoy ever-more outstanding musical experiences.’

The last concert will take place in April.





  • Carlo says:

    Plastic country. Musical prostitution to go there and play

  • urania says:

    It is a pity – Abu Dhabi is a bit better than ‘Disney Land Dubai’. But we have also to see that many ‘managers’ from Europe and US have taken over the classical field and do bring in a lot of people they know. Above this, more than 50% of art there has to be called Show Business. Cultural ministeries do not interfere since they strive to be so much up to Western civilisation. Maybe the Sheika (wife of crown prince) of Abu Dhabi could help – she has founded a cultural institution and is involved in art – maybe only on the level of the ‘Louvre’ ??? He is a lover of poetry.

    • Olassus says:

      Yes, but this is the oldest story in the book — where you have many visiting orchestras. Someone should have made the Emir(s) aware of it, and plans should have been in place to ensure the local musicians had long-term support, both financially and with regard to an audience. In a few years’ time, they will realize that they do, after all, want a local orchestra, and will have to start from scratch.

  • Helen Tuckey says:

    As a musician who has visited there, I was very disappointed not to meet any local musicians and am sad to read that our tour was part of a movement to cause the demise of another orchestra. What is orchestral touring about, if not cultural exchange? However, I question whether orchestras should tour to countries that practice racial/nationality discrimination, as Israelis are unable to tour there.


    • Frances Barton says:

      hahaha. This is the latest press release from NSO – – In a cross-cultural collaboration, the NSO Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director, Andrew Berryman, conducted the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Florence, Italy, on 25 March, in a concert that featured NSO Principal Flutist Christian Plouvier and Emirati Composer and Pianist, Hamad Altaee, performing his own compositions for piano and orchestra.

      For the first time for an Emirati musician in Italy, Hamad performed his compositions, which included Le Cheval and Journey of Life.

      NSO Music Director Andrew Berryman conducted the 16-piece string ensemble, the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina at the Auditorium di Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence, which was attended by music enthusiasts, including the UAE Consul-General, His Excellency Ibrahim Al Nuaimi.

      NSO’s participation in the concert was a cross-cultural collaboration, following a visit by Giuseppe Lanzetta, Music Director for Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina, who conducted works during NSO’s concert in November 2017, A Night at the Symphony, at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel Auditorium.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Tis a shame, and an ignorant one, to eliminate those jobs, unless they weren’t anywhere near good enough to compete with the visitors, which could be the case.

    • Frances Barton says:

      Hi, the musicians in the orchestra are all UAE-based music teachers who love the tax-free salaries, the safety of the wonderful UAE and the sunshine!
      Some of them have played for their national orchestras and the orchestra also does contract work, ie, supporting Andrea Bocelli in his outdoor concert, with an audience of 10,000 spectators, etc.