Saudi Arabia’s National Orchestra and Choir Delights New York City with Traditional Music Concert

Gabriel de Alba

Successful Partnership of NY Metropolitan Opera and Prince Badr, Saudi Minister of Culture

The ‘Marvels of Saudi Music’ initiative is a wonderful introduction of Saudi music and art to the world.”

— Gabriel de Alba, Cirque du Soleil Chairman

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, September 29, 2023 / — On September 17, 2023 the Saudi National Orchestra and Choir presented an unforgettable concert at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. The inaugural US performance, conducted by Riad Ahmed, director of the Saudi National Orchestra and part of the “Marvels of Saudi Music” initiative, was a musical journey through Saudi Arabian history and culture.

A collaboration between the Metropolitan Opera and Prince Badr bin Abdullah Ministry of Culture, the Saudi National Orchestra, and Choir concert showcased the rich musical heritage of Saudi Arabia, which is often overlooked by the international community.

A sold-out crowd of over 3,000 people attended the concert, including Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, President of FIFA Gianni Infantino, and Cirque du Soleil Chairman Gabriel de Alba.

“The ‘Marvels of Saudi Music’ initiative is a wonderful introduction of Saudi music and art to the world,” said Gabriel de Alba.

The performance was a spectacle full of beauty and emotion, symbolizing Saudi Arabia’s growing cultural openness and engagement with the world.

The concert opened with a performance of “Al-Maqam,” a traditional Arabic musical genre noted for its complex melodies and rhythms. The orchestra then performed a medley of Saudi folk, soliciting audience participation.

In the second act, the choir performed a series of classical Arabic pieces, including “Al-Bard,” a love song from the 9th century, and “Al-Qasidat Al-Tawheed,” a religious poem from the 8th century.

Grammy-winning saxophonist James Moody led a Dizzy Gillespie jazz band collaboration with the Saudi Orchestra –a concert highlight that was met with rousing applause from the audience.

The New York Times called the show “a stunning display of Saudi Arabia’s musical traditions.”

The Washington Post said the concert was “a beautiful and moving experience.”

The Saudi National Orchestra and Choir concert has previously captivated audiences in Riyadh, Jeddah, Paris, Mexico, and Jordan.

Mia Atkinson
Media Captains
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