Best classical music festivals in the Middle East, Japan and Taiwan

Paul Riley picks out some of the best classical music festivals to look out for in the Middle East, Japan and Taiwan

Best classical music festivals in the Middle East, Japan and Taiwan

Best classical music festivals in United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Festival

United Arab Emirates

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Year-long

‘The future starts now’ is the strapline for a multi-arts festival celebrating the founding of the United Arab Emirates half-a-century ago. Some of the celebrations are digital, others are live – and by no means confined to Abu Dhabi. Highlights include the October premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s Symphony No. 5 (recorded in London by the LSO), Nicola Benedetti and (premiered at the Aix-en-Provence Festival) Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s new opera The Arab Apocalypse.

Best classical music festivals in Israel

Israel Festival

Jerusalem, Israel

3-19 June

Tel: +972 (0)2 5631544

Starting 60 years ago as a classical music festival in the Roman theatre at Caesarea, the now Jerusalem-based Festival has expanded its remit over the years and has a landmark birthday to celebrate. Past visitors have included Ensemble Modern, Daniel Barenboim and the Kirov Ballet. The anniversary edition will spotlight cross-disciplinary productions and community-inspired events.

Jerusalem Lyric Opera Festival

Jerusalem, Israel

10 July – 1 August

Tel: +972 54 619608

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Puccini’s La bohème supply the bedrock for this year’s celebration of all things operatic – ‘all things’ extending to an ‘Operpop’ meeting of rock and opera singers. Hermann Levi (who conducted the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal) is remembered, and there are special anniversary concerts devoted to both Mahler and Dvořák.

Best classical music festivals in Japan

Pacific Music Festival

Sapporo, Japan

23 July – 1 August

Tel: +81 11 242 2211

Founded by Leonard Bernstein, the Pacific Music Festival has nurtured over 3,500 young musicians from 77 countries across its 30-year history. Bernstein looks down on this year’s opening concert which features his scintillating Candide Overture in an all-American programme. Conducted by Nodoka Okisawa, the Gala Finale salutes the 50th anniversary of Stravinsky’s death with Petrushka in its 1947 revision.

Best classical music festivals in Taiwan

Taipei Music Academy and Festival

Taipei, Taiwan

25 July – 8 August

Tel: +886 2 2511 5383

Leonard Slatkin and the Formosa Quartet are among the Faculty members combining tuition and masterclasses with concert-giving. The TMAF All-Star concert features the chamber reduction of Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel, while Slatkin heads up the Academy Orchestra for a three-concert tour prefacing Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony with Ravel and Prokofiev.

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Top image credit: Getty Images