Last year, but for telematic sessions with professionals off campus, NYU Abu Dhabi's music performance program was definitely in a start-up phase. But after her brief visit to NYUAD last year, Professor Celina Charlier has returned and, after only one month, it appears she has already given the program some much-needed momentum. This past Saturday, several University ensembles — including the Desert Winds, the New Music Ensemble, and the NYUAD Finger Breathers — gave their first performances during 'Musical Journeys,' the inaugural concert of the music program. The repertoire varied from early medieval chanting to Stevie Wonder, each ensemble taking the audience on a journey, historically, geographically, and emotionally, culminating in an en masse performance of Chick Corea's "Spain," arranged by Charlier herself for the entire ensemble.
The concert, hopefully the first of many, was much appreciated by the NYUAD community. Henry Liang (NYUAD '14) thoroughly enjoyed the evening, describing it as "a delicate collection of music from around the world performed by a talented combination of young musicians." He is one of many now inspired to join the burgeoning NYUAD choir, the Finger Breathers. For Professor Catharine Stimpson, it was a "beautiful experience of music-making" that complemented the recently held (and more free-flowing) Open Mic night by providing a more sophisticated and polished repertoire with greater emphasis on technique and professional musicianship.
Given the success of the evening, the new NYUAD ensembles are quickly gathering renown and may appear outside of Sama Tower in the near future. A second concert, 'Journey,' will take place this semester and, if the reactions of Sunday's audience are any indicator, there won't be a spare seat in the house.