Abu Dhabi has been officially designated as a ‘City of Music’ by the UNESCO Creative City Network. This recognition highlights the emirate’s commitment to fostering a vibrant music ecosystem and promoting cultural diversity.

Key Takeaways

  • Abu Dhabi joins nearly 250 cities globally in the UNESCO Creative City Network.
  • The designation underscores the emirate’s dedication to cultural and creative industries.
  • Abu Dhabi’s music scene includes both traditional and contemporary elements.

A Hub of Cultural Exchange

Abu Dhabi has long prioritized culture and creativity as essential drivers of social development and economic diversification. The emirate’s strategic location at the crossroads of the Arab world, Asia, Africa, and Europe has made it a melting pot of cultural exchange. This legacy supports the vision to grow a music sector that fosters inclusion and identity across communities and generations.

Growing Music Ecosystem

The ‘City of Music’ designation will reinforce Abu Dhabi’s position as a home to a resilient and growing music ecosystem built on innovation, collaboration, and shared governance. The emirate now sits alongside cities such as Liverpool, Auckland, Sevilla, and Chennai as focal points for music creativity and sustainable development.

Rich Musical Heritage

Abu Dhabi boasts a rich heritage in traditional music and performance, alongside a thriving contemporary music scene. The emirate is home to around 200 nationalities, each contributing to its diverse musical landscape. Abu Dhabi’s five-year cultural strategy aims to highlight this musical diversity, enhance public spaces with music, and connect older and younger generations through musical expression.

Celebrating Musical Diversity

“From traditional sung poetry performances and ancient instruments to our modern music scene, Abu Dhabi has a unique musical legacy. We celebrate our past while remaining open to new sources and genres of musical expression,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).

Key Institutions and Initiatives

  • Bait Al Oud: A homegrown academy documenting and promoting Arab music heritage.
  • Abu Dhabi Classics: An annual concert series paying tribute to classical music.
  • Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF): Supports aspiring talents and hosts a renowned yearly music festival.
  • Berklee Abu Dhabi: The Middle East’s preeminent institute of contemporary music and performing arts.
  • New York University Abu Dhabi’s Arts Center and Music Programme: Leverages the rising popularity of local and regional music.

Global Collaboration

With the UNESCO Creative City Network designation, Abu Dhabi joins nearly 250 cities worldwide that work together towards a common objective: placing creativity, culture, and creative industries at the heart of their development plans and cooperating actively with key players from the music industry across the globe.