Abu Dhabi Verse

Abu Dhabi Festival And Robert Townson Productions Deliver A Spectacular World Premiere: ‘Pictures At An Exhibition – The Paintings Of Bob Peak’

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles hosted an extraordinary fusion of music and art last weekend with the world premiere of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’. The extraordinary musical commission, produced by Abu Dhabi Festival in collaboration with Robert Townson Productions, bridges generations, genres and cultures to pay homage to the late Bob Peak – a legendary and iconic artist whose work continues to inspire today.

The evening commenced with a tribute to classic film scores, paired with Bob Peak’s iconic illustrations. The orchestra delivered powerful performances of selections from 20th-century greats, including Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, John Williams’ Superman: The Movie, Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and other legendary works, vividly bringing Peak’s artwork to life.

The pinnacle of the night was the world premiere of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’, an innovative musical suite inspired by Peak’s masterpieces. This project brought together ten esteemed composers, including Emirati artist Ihab Darwish. Darwish’s composition, ‘Curva Grande, Fastest Corners in Car Racing,’ highlighted the UAE’s burgeoning influence on the global cultural stage. In addition to Darwish, the concert featured new works by Maria Newman, Jeff Beal, Michael Abels, Marco Beltrami, Marc Shaiman, Don Davis, Bill Conti, Mychael Danna, and Harry Gregson-Williams. Each composition offered a unique interpretation of Peak’s art, such as the Time Magazine cover portrait of Mother Teresa, the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and more.

Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, praised the event’s success: “It is with great pride and excitement that Abu Dhabi Festival collaborates once more with Robert Townson Productions to present ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’, underscoring the international prominence of the Abu Dhabi Festival and, through the contribution of maestro Ihab Darwish, its commitment to enhancing Emirati cultural presence globally. This grand musical commission brings together the distinctive work of ten internationally renowned composers. In the spirit of Bob Peak’s vibrant artworks, the concert celebrates the best of 20th-century culture, including film, architecture, sport and iconic individuals. We were honoured to present the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 Award to Leonard Slatkin, whose leadership in this historic concert has been truly inspirational. This event not only celebrates Bob Peak’s legacy but also exemplifies the power of music and art in fostering global understanding and cooperation.”

During the concert, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo presented the prestigious Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 Award to Leonard Slatkin. This recognition honoursSlatkin’s extraordinary contributions to the world of music and his exceptional leadership of the Los Angeles Film Orchestra during this historic event. Slatkin, a six-time Grammy Award-winning conductor, has been a pivotal figure in the music industry, and this award highlights his significant role in promoting cultural and artistic innovation.

Additionally, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo presented the Abu Dhabi Festival Award 2024 to Bob Peak’s family in recognition of his enduring legacy. This acknowledgement celebrates Peak’s lasting impact on the art world and his significant contributions to visual storytelling.

Renowned film music producer Robert Townson expressed his enthusiasm for the event: “This concert is a testament to Bob Peak’s enduring influence on the arts. Collaborating with Abu Dhabi Festival and this illustrious group of composers has been an extraordinary journey. The synergy between Peak’s visual art and these new musical compositions has created an experience that is both unique and profoundly moving.”

The event underscored Abu Dhabi Festival’s role as a leader in promoting cultural and artistic innovation. By supporting new works that bridge traditional and contemporary art forms, the Festival continues to foster global cultural dialogue and collaboration.