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Expo 2020 Dubai reveals plan for A.R Rahman-led music studio

By Razak Dubai

DUBAI: Expo 2020 Dubai on Saturday announced that a world class music recording studio will become a permanent facility as part of its legacy plans in the future city of District 2020.

The first project to make use of the studio will be Expo 2020’s all-female orchestra, the Firdaus Women’s Orchestra led by renowned Bollywood and Hollywood composer and songwriter AR Rahman.

He will mentor the musicians and compose music for the orchestra’s inaugural performance, as well as putting his name to the new studio, a statement said.

The Firdaus Studio by AR Rahman and the orchestra are both part of ambitious plans to push Dubai and the UAE as an international hub for music recording and score production, it added.

The Firdaus Women’s Orchestra will bring together 50 women musicians from across the UAE and wider MENA region to create a unique musical project that will use the new facility as its rehearsal base.

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

Marjan Faraidooni, chief pavilions and exhibitions officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Firdaus Studio by AR Rahman and the Firdaus Women’s Orchestra are both inspiring projects that will be responsible for so much creativity in the run-up to Expo 2020, during the event, and for many years afterwards. Music brings the world together – this project is doing that in every sense, and is a true celebration of Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.”

Rahman has won numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards (Oscars) and two Grammy Awards and is best known for his soundtrack to hit movie Slumdog Millionaire.

He said: “This world-leading studio will attract the cream of the industry to Dubai. Working with the most exciting female musical talents of the region, the Firdaus Women’s Orchestra will enable Dubai to become a focal point for making ground-breaking new music, and I look forward to being part of that.”

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.

Expo 2020 Dubai runs from October 20 to April 10, 2021, and will be the first World Expo and largest event ever to be held in the region.

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