The Syria Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Syria Trust for Development announce the premiere of the ‘Syrian Rhapsody by Iyad Rimawi’ on February 7th on the Jubilee Stage in Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Syrian Rhapsody created, composed and arranged by renowned Syrian composer, Iyad Rimawi will premiere in a spectacular stage performance by over 100 musicians and singers, conducted by award winning Maestro Missak Baghboudarian. 

The Syrian Rhapsody sheds light on significant periods in musical history. It begins with a rendition of the oldest musical notation known to mankind, the ‘Hymn to Nikkal’, which was discovered on a clay tablet from 1400 BC in Ugarit, Syria. The performance pulls its audience forward into the era of Syriac chanting, considered to be the earliest form of collective church singing, and from there to the magnificent chanting traditions of Islamic Sufism, in order to end in a never-heard-before fusion of historical and modern sounds. 

Rimawi composed his music over the course of nine months. He commented on the occasion saying: “The Syrian Rhapsody is an artistic journey that aims to explore the essence of music which makes it a truly universal language. Expo 2020 Dubai is the world’s biggest event and with a platform as such, we wanted to present something that the world has never heard before and bring three millennia of Syrian and world music history together in one great musical show”.

The Syrian Rhapsody by Iyad Rimawi is a part of the cultural program organized by the Syria Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in collaboration with the Syria Trust for Development (Trust). As a national development organisation, the Trust works on safeguarding and promoting Syria’s cultural identity, and played a leading role in the recent inscription of Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya to UNESCO’s lists last December. 

Mr. Fares Kallas, a member of the board of trustees for the trust spoke on the Trust’s involvement in the Syrian Rhapsody: “Syria’s cultural identity is rich and historic, and the Trust is committed to safeguarding and enriching it for future generations. Central to our commitment is the recognition that culture can have a positive impact well beyond preservation, and that is why we are delighted to have worked on this project with Iyad Rimawi which has brought together hundreds of diverse Syrians and their talents.”

The Syrian Rhapsody by Iyad Rimawi is considered to be the first composition written to celebrate the history of collective singing in Syria, and the world. Its audiences will live a unique cultural experience both musically and visually. The composition speaks to the conviction of the Syrian people that what unites humanity is much more than what divides it, and that our commonalities can transcend any wars or conflicts. 

Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic in the United Arab Emirates, and the Commissioner General of the Syria Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai, H.E. Dr. Ghassan Abbas, commented along these lines by adding: “We wanted our message to the world through Expo 2020 Dubai to be that of unity, harmony and love. And there is no better expression of this message than music. We are excited to welcome you all to the world premiere of the Syrian Rhapsody by Iyad Rimawi, and we are grateful to Expo 2020 Dubai for giving us this platform to share this wonderful work with the world.”

The Syrian Rhapsody by Iyad Rimawi will be open to public, and all attendees will require a valid Expo 2020 Dubai ticket as well as adhere to any COVID related admission rules on the day.

The concert is sponsored by Cham Wings as the event’s official carrier