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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
While the major costs for the orchestra are its venues, Maier says that they have been lucky to have sponsors so far. “If the auditorium in Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is free, then we can have it. And same is the case for the American University in Dubai,” he says.
But they do have to pay some of the professional musicians for performances. “That’s our biggest cost factor,” he says. The orchestra is also starting to attract attention from several overseas artists who are interested in performing with it.
“But we can’t accept right now because we don’t have the means to do that here. We can’t just invite guest artists and do major concerts because we [don’t have] infrastructure in terms of finances and administration,” says Maier.
But the country is not ignoring culture; in fact Abu Dhabi has been promoting itself as a cultural destination, and has been inviting and sponsoring several artists from abroad to perform in the city. So why is it not willing to support something homegrown?
“It’s a natural progress that will happen,” says Maier. “It is wonderful to witness all the top artists performing here, and I think we are highly privileged for what we experienced at the Abu Dhabi Jazz Music Festival this season. But I mean everybody agrees to the fact that a healthy music culture in life is not only based on visiting guest artists,” he adds.
“It’s complimentary. You bring in the world’s best, and at the same time you also showcase what is possible within the UAE, a homegrown orchestra,” says Stelling.