Winter 2008 | ArteZine

Interview with Hoda Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and the Annual Classical Music Festival


Last year you created the Young Press Leaders Program (YPL) which has been extended and expanded into 2009. Why did you start it?

To give national students the opportunity to interact with professional journalists and to focus their creativity in producing something special. It is a platform in which they can voice their opinions.

The result of YPL last year was a magazine published in July. What did you think of the magazine? What was the reaction of ADMAF’s donors?

I was very pleased with the quality of the magazine, the articles, the photos, but above all the creative spirit. The reaction from the donors was universally positive and supportive, especially as the end result was so good.

This year YPL has been expanded and two issues will be published, one at the end of this year and one in June 2009. What do you hope to see this year from the students?

Now that the students can touch and feel an end product (magazine) that showcases their work, I expect creative competitiveness to be ever more present as well as an increase in the number of participants.

A group of students from Zayed University will be visiting New York City in January to learn how to write about culture. ADMAF is financing this trip. Why?

ADMAF has a complementary, yet fundamental role in education.  As for the trip itself, we feel the students would benefit from international interaction and gain valuable experience and improve their skills and methodology.

The Music and Arts Festival has been announced for 10 days from March 22-April 2. How will this edition be different from last year’s?

We look to build on last year’s achievements with more of what the public loved. Additionally we aim to increase community and youth participation.  This is the “People’s Festival”. There may be a few exciting surprises along the way, so please stay tuned.

What do you hope to achieve with future festivals after 2009?

The Festival showcases the best from around the world.  It will continue to evolve into new areas of multi-cultural interest.

The arts scene in Abu Dhabi is much more lively now than it was just three years ago. The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) conducts its own classical music festival that goes on for eight months with one or two major performances each month. Do you think there is room in Abu Dhabi for two festivals? 

ADACH has led Abu Dhabi’s cultural evolution and we are proud to work together now and into the future, as we have in the past.

The audience at the classical music festivals seems to be mostly made up of expatriates. How can you make Emiratis more aware of international classical culture? Are you satisfied with their progress?

We feel satisfied and encouraged by the participation from Emiratis at our events and feel this will increase as more young Emiratis become exposed to international classical culture.

In addition to Young Press Leaders and the Abu Dhabi Classical Music Festival, are there other initiatives in the arts that ADMAF is planning?

ADMAF is itself evolving its structure to meet the challenge of the future. We have many things we are working on and expect to announce them when ready. ADMAF has already established the Cartoon and Comic Strip Festival and has led the creation of performing and visual arts events in the Capital

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