Valery Gergiev led the World Orchestra for Peace in a January 4 concert at the Emirates palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as part of the eighth Abu Dhabi Festival. The orchestra was formed in 1995 when U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali asked Georg Solti to lead a special concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. The orchestra has performed sixteen concerts since 1995, and comprises musicians from more than 30 countries who perform on special occasions to promote peace; the orchestra was recently designated a UNESCO Artist for Peace. The Abu Dhabi Festival, founded in 1994 and presented by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, describes itself as “a committed advocate of cross-cultural understanding and plays an intrinsic role in supporting the artistic renaissance across the Middle East by further pushing the boundaries of creativity and excellence in innovation.” For more information about the festival visit ; more information about the World Orchestra for Peace can be found at

Posted January 7, 2011