Mohammed Fairouz’ Symphony# 5
at St Luke’s Church Old Street

by Steven O’Brien


On the last day of January, I had the great privilege to be invited to the live filming of Mohammed Fairouz’ new symphony. The London Symphony Orchestra were on fine form in the masterly hands of virtuoso conductor Lee Reynolds.

Symphony # 5 is inspired by the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayan, founding father of the United Arab Emirates. In four movements the work explores the story of the UAE and its values of peace and tolerance. Fairouz’ distinctive musical language melds middle eastern and western structures. His mixed Arab-American heritage has given him a cosmopolitan voice that is eminently Emirati in its optimism and creative flair.   

Symphony # 5 had its inception when Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo (founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival) approached Fairouz to write a celebratory work for the Abu Dhabi Festival 2022. The festival seeks to provide visibility to Emirati artists abroad and showcases the artistic talent of the UAE to a global audience.

As I sat in the gallery above the musicians in St Lukes the symphony unfurled like a dashing banner. This was optimistic music, full of aplomb. The glories of heritage and future possibilities are encapsulated in Fairouz work. It is a boldly crafted work. It is wonderful to see such a young nation producing cultural expression of such certainty and refinement. 

It will be streamed online in March 2022

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