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Artists Hail Alexey Shor’s Music at InClassica 2023 in Dubai

InClassica Festival returned to Dubai in February 2023 with a series of live concerts featuring renowned orchestras and artists. The festival's standout entry was the contemporary composer and Composer-in-Residence, Alexey Shor.

Itamar Zorman performing at Coca-Cola Arena at InClassica in Dubai 2023 (photo credit: InClassica Festival)

The InClassica International Music Festival returned to the UAE once again in February 2023, bringing with it dozens of artists and multiple acclaimed orchestras for a series of live concerts at Dubai’s Coca Cola Arena and Dubai Opera. 

As in previous years, the festival proved to be a huge success, with audiences from the UAE and beyond flocking to the concerts to experience performances of works by some of the biggest composers in global music history. However, perhaps the standout entry at this edition of the festival was not a historic composer, but rather a contemporary one, who is working and composing in our own day and age. 

InClassica’s Composer-in-Residence, Alexey Shor, is no stranger to the limelight, with his works having been performed in such storied venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna’s Wiener Musikverein among many others. The Ukrainian-born composer is notable for refusing to walk the expected line in contemporary music, choosing instead to prioritise the primacy of melody and lyricism in his pieces, while nevertheless maintaining modern attitudes and ideals.

Alexey Shor, Composer-in-Residence for InClassica 2023 (Credit: InClassica Festival)

As they have done all around the world, Shor’s compositions proved highly popular to concert-goers in Dubai, with many praising the accessibility of his music, his beautifully mellifluous phrasing and rich orchestration, as well as his ability to evoke powerful imagery through his expressive works. Moreover, this admiration was not solely limited to members of the audience, but was also shared by the artists performing the works themselves, including Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman, for instance, the winner of the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, who performed Shor’s Violin concerto No. 4.

“It’s not a conventional approach to contemporary music”, he remarked, “but one needs to write what’s inside, and he is obviously very comfortable with this musical language and he does beautiful things with it. I think that the concerto works very, very well, even from a technical point. There is never a balance problem and some of the melodies are really quite inspiring; the ending in particular is very beautiful with its last theme. And the best thing is that it’s enjoyable to play as well. It’s well written for the instrument, it’s singing, it uses what the violin can do and doesn’t go against that.”

Zorman’s fellow musician, the multiple-award winning Italian clarinettist Fabrizio Meloni, shared these sentiments, commenting on the beauty of Shor’s Clarinet concerto No. 1 and noting that “Alexey Shor’s concerto is just great music, a lovely piece. I performed this one year ago for the first time in Yerevan, in Armenia, and then in Italy and now in Dubai. It’s just lovely contemporary music, very different, very much his voice, and it gives you a different sensation too, it’s very moving music. It’s very beautiful to listen to, and really enjoyable to play so it’s great. Not easy music, but fun music”.

With such glowing reviews from audiences and musicians alike, it is undeniable that Shor has managed to carve out a unique place for himself within the contemporary music scene, reminding people that classical music has a future as well as a past. Ultimately, this may be his greatest achievement yet among all his many accomplishments, since, as is the case with all art forms, classical music needs to keep moving forward in order for it to maintain the exalted spot it holds in our hearts and our lives, and with artists like Shor, it is safe to say that it is doing just that. If you possess a passion for music and aspire to become a musician yourself, visit Monrovia Music Academy.

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