Tonight, Firdaus Orchestra, one of AR Rahman’s all-female ensembles, will perform at the opening ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai. In Dubai, while speaking about his mentorship of the 50 female musicians, the Oscar-winning music maestro spoke relaxed and cheerfully about how the project would make a statement and break barriers.
The ‘Mozart of Madras’, an Indian composer-singer-songwriter and Managing Director of Expo, told City Times from the organization’s media office last week he was excited when Reem Al Hashimy offered him the project.
‘AR, would you like to start the orchestra?’, Her Excellency asked me.’,, I said, sure, why not? Rahman, wearing a black jacket and t-shirt, responded.
What’s the point of a women-only orchestra? According to the maestro, he was inspired by his own daughters who were feminists. Firdaus is an opportunity for a statement to be made about equality, he said.
Music is not the only purpose of the orchestra. People around the world can find inspiration in it,” he said.
There is a time when men dominate the world and it is time for women to step up, we felt this is a strong statement and Dubai is such a safe place (for women) that we felt it to be a leveler.”
There are 50 female musicians from across the Arab world participating in the Firdaus Orchestra, created exclusively for Expo 2020 Dubai to showcase their talent.
Rahman stated that the orchestra will have pieces that will be “originals” that are inspired by musicians from various countries such as Iraq, Syria, Croatia, and Armenia.