AR Rahman to set up studio and orchestra for Expo 2020 Dubai

Published: 5 March 2020 - 11:41 a.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira
Renowned Bollywood and Hollywood composer / songwriter AR Rahman is working with Dubai's Expo 2020 on two projects - an all-women orchestra and a studio.

The Firdaus Women’s Orchestra will be creatively led and mentored by AR Rahman, who will compose music for the orchestra’s inaugural performance.

Rahman, who has earned numerous accolades including two Academy Awards and two Grammy Awards, will also put his name to the new Firdaus Studio by AR Rahman, which is being built on the Expo 2020 site and will become a permanent facility as part of Expo’s legacy plans in the future city of District 2020.

Rahman rose to prominence with his pioneering fusion of traditional orchestra arrangements and modern music, becoming one of India’s best-selling recording artists.

The state-of-the-art studio in Dubai will act as a base for the Firdaus Women’s Orchestra (Firdaus means ‘Paradise’ in Arabic), which will bring together 50 talented female musicians from across the UAE and wider MENA region to create a unique musical project.

The orchestra will feature women of a variety of ages and backgrounds, and will draw on inspiration from the UAE and region’s centuries-old rich musical traditions that have used instruments such as the oud, rebaba and darbuka.

It will perform on the global stage of Expo 2020, starring at two AR Rahman concerts, a special show for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2021, plus a number of other events and performances across the site.

A total of 100 women will be chosen for face-to-face auditions in Dubai, with 50 selected for a role in the orchestra.

Rehearsals will begin in summer 2020, and those selected will be based in Dubai for the duration of Expo 2020.

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