German Conductor Hopes to Launch Dubai's First Orchestra

Classic Arts News   German Conductor Hopes to Launch Dubai's First Orchestra
German conductor and pianist Philipp Maier hopes to establish the United Arab Emirates' first professional orchestra.

"It's really time for an orchestra to be resident in the UAE. I think with the Opera House and Culture Village, Dubai needs one — not a stuck-up, stiff orchestra smelling of mothballs but one that involves local elements," he told the Dubai-based 7 Days. Neither the Culture Village nor the Opera House have been built yet, however.

Maier's varied career has included stints as an airline pilot, pianist, conductor, rock music producer and film composer. He moved to South Africa in 1999, where he wrote musicals and ran The Soundfactory, his own recording and production studio. In 2000 he was appointed artistic director of the Durban City Orchestra, the oldest orchestra in South Africa.

Maier told 7 Days that he finds it frustrating trying to launch an orchestra in a country where nobody has heard of him. On the other hand, he said, the wealthy UAE is ready for his ambitious plans and can afford them. "My budget to run an orchestra is 10 million dirhams a year [roughly US$2.7 million at today's rates]. In the bigger scheme of things, it's nothing."

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