Paying the UAE’s piper
The UAE Philharmonic Orchestra, which is performing Mozart's 'Requiem' on May 29 and 30, is hoping to be recognized and funded by the country’s government.
May 29, 2009 4:24 by Aarti Nagraj
“When I came here [to the UAE] I simply couldn’t believe that there was no resident orchestra here,” says Philipp Maier, the CEO, artistic director, composer, producer; in short, he’s the creative force behind the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra. And that inspired him to start an orchestra in the country three years ago, which has grown from 12 to 72 members since.
The orchestra is currently all set to perform Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ on May 29 and 30, after a lot of practice, and Maier assures us that the event will be a musical treat for anybody and everybody. It’s free of cost for attendees, but donations are welcome. “We are hoping for donations,” he says.
The financial crisis has not spared the orchestra, and its organizers are scouting for sponsors. “We will hopefully get through the economic crisis more or less undamaged like everyone else does,” says Maier.
But what the organizers of the orchestra are more keenly hoping for is that it will be officially recognized by the UAE government, and hence, will have access to some state funds on a more regular basis.
Oliver Stelling, the principal of Futurescore, which supports the orchestra, says that because this was a private initiative, it was essential for the orchestra to first establish itself and prove its credibility. And though it is a “labor of love,” now that it has been a successful growth story, it needs money to sustain itself. “At some point money is important. No orchestra in the world survives on sponsors,” he says.
He adds that the orchestra not only performs western classical music, but brings all streams of music together, including Arabic. “The orchestra is very open to try new things, open to all kinds of musical influences. It [doesn’t practice] cultural imperialism. It’s in fact the best representation of the diversity that you have in this country in terms of musical styles and forms. And we think it deserves recognition and we see that the support at grassroots level is already there,” he says.