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Abu Dhabi Festival: ‘Pictures at an Exhibition – The Paintings of Bob Peak’

Abu Dhabi Festival

Discover the mesmerizing fusion of art and music at Abu Dhabi Festival’s premiere of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ by Bob Peak.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles recently hosted a spectacular fusion of art and music with the world premiere of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’. This groundbreaking event, a collaboration between Abu Dhabi Festival and Robert Townson Productions, paid homage to the iconic artist Bob Peak through a mesmerizing blend of visual art and musical compositions.

Tribute to Classic Film Scores and Iconic Illustrations

The evening commenced with a heartfelt tribute to classic film scores, beautifully paired with Bob Peak’s legendary illustrations. The orchestra delivered powerful renditions of timeless pieces from 20th-century cinema, including Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, John Williams ‘Superman: The Movie, and Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. These performances vividly brought Peak’s artwork to life, creating a mesmerizing ambience that set the stage for the main event.

Abu Dhabi Festival (1)

World Premiere: ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’

The highlight of the evening was the eagerly anticipated world premiere of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’. Inspired by Peak’s masterpieces, this innovative musical suite featured compositions from ten esteemed composers. Each composer, including Emirati artist Ihab Darwish, contributed a unique interpretation of Peak’s art. For instance, Darwish’s composition ‘Curva Grande, Fastest Corners in Car Racing’ celebrated Peak’s visual narratives and highlighted the UAE’s growing influence on the global cultural stage.

Other composers such as Maria Newman, Jeff Beal, Michael Abels, Marco Beltrami, Marc Shaiman, Don Davis, Bill Conti, Mychael Danna, and Harry Gregson-Williams added their distinct voices to the suite, creating a tapestry of musical diversity that resonated with Peak’s wide-ranging artistic legacy. Each piece was inspired by iconic works like the Time Magazine cover portrait of Mother Teresa and the 1964 New York World’s Fair, showcasing the breadth and depth of Peak’s influence across various genres and themes.

Recognition and Awards

During the event, Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, expressed her pride in the collaboration, emphasizing the event’s role in enhancing Emirati cultural presence globally. The presentation of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 Award to Leonard Slatkin, in recognition of his exceptional leadership and contribution to the concert, underscored the event’s significance in the music world. Slatkin, a renowned conductor and six-time Grammy Award winner, was lauded for his pivotal role in bringing Peak’s art to life through orchestral performance.

The Abu Dhabi Festival Award 2024 was also presented to Bob Peak’s family, honoring his enduring legacy and profound impact on visual storytelling. This acknowledgement highlighted Peak’s lasting influence on the art world and his contributions to bridging the gap between visual art and music.

Adf Award 2024 Leonard Slatkin

Testimonials and Reflections

Renowned film-music producer Robert Townson expressed his enthusiasm for the event, describing it as a testament to Peak’s enduring influence on the arts. The collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Festival and the distinguished group of composers was praised for its innovative approach to merging visual art with musical composition. Townson’s reflections captured the essence of the evening, where Peak’s visual narratives were harmoniously translated into evocative musical experiences.


In conclusion, ‘Pictures at an Exhibition: The Paintings of Bob Peak’ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall was not just a concert but a celebration of artistic innovation and cultural dialogue. Through the synergy of visual art and music, this event exemplified the Abu Dhabi Festival’s commitment to pushing boundaries and fostering global understanding through the arts. Bob Peak’s legacy lives on through the power of music and its ability to transcend cultural boundaries, inspiring audiences worldwide.

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