Final call for female musicians to join Firdaus Women’s Orchestra

AR Rahman, Musical icon

The final deadline for female musicians to submit their audition videos for Expo 2020’s Firdaus Women’s Orchestra and be in with a chance of receiving training and mentorship by Grammy and Oscar winner AR Rahman, is 4 February 2021.

With just two weeks to go until submissions close, Expo 2020 Dubai is calling on female intermediate to semi-professional musicians from across the Arab world to apply now for the Firdaus Orchestra, which will perform a fusion of styles and genres on the global stage of Expo 2020.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s in-house orchestra will be creatively led and mentored by renowned composer and songwriter AR Rahman, who will compose music for the orchestra’s inaugural performance. It aims to feature 50 female musicians and showcase their talent to a global audience.

Noora Sulaiman, Senior Associate, Firdaus Women’s Orchestra, Expo 2020 Dubai said: “As an Emirati musician, who has been part of the Firdaus Orchestra team for the last year, I feel particularly privileged to be working with AR Rahman – a musical icon – in a role that inspires and empowers female musicians from across the Arab world in the journey to Expo 2020 and beyond. 

“Expo 2020 provides an exciting platform to demonstrate the region’s culture and creative talent to the world, while also highlighting our ability to bring the world together to promote collaboration. We are seeking female musicians from the region of all ages and backgrounds to join our ensemble, that will collectively spur so much creativity and innovation and inspire a legacy long after Expo 2020 closes its doors in March 2022.”

AR Rahman said, “The Firdaus Women’s Orchestra will feature diverse musicians from across the region. Dubai is a forerunner to the new world and the ensemble will reflect what the city stands for – a fascinating and extraordinary confluence of cultures. I am looking forward to being part of Firdaus’ promising journey.”

The audition submissions first launched in 2020 and the application link temporarily closed while Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Member States voted in favour of postponing the World Expo by one year to allow all participants to safely navigate the impact of COVID-19.

Expo 2020 Dubai – the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region – will run from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022.


  • Female musicians, from intermediate to semi-professional level, are invited to apply now for the Firdaus Women’s Orchestra by submitting a video audition via here, which also contains full criteria and information for applications
  • A total of 100 women will be chosen from the 2020 and 2021 audition submissions for face-to-face auditions in Dubai, with 50 selected for a role in the orchestra. Rehearsals will begin in summer 2021, and those selected will be based in Dubai for the duration of Expo 2020
  • The previous video auditions submitted in 2020 are still valid and will not need resubmitting.

About Expo 2020 Dubai:

From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together in a spirit of hope and optimism and with a shared purpose towards solving some of our greatest challenges.

  • It will showcase the greatest innovations, breakthroughs and ideas from around the planet, enabling action towards a better world under its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ 
  • Expo 2020 will be an endless journey of discovery as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – harness their collective power to change the world for the better
  • Expo 2020’s sub-themes of OpportunityMobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to make a conscious effort to think and live differently
  • An entertaining global celebration with something for everyone, Expo 2020 will wow visitors with daily events, showcasing the best of technology, creativity and culture, while F&B outlets will feature cuisine from around the world
  • The first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South 
  • Built with a long-term legacy in mind, the Expo site is an example of innovation in action and will transform into District 2020, a blueprint for human-centric, smart and sustainable cities of the future, after Expo 2020 closes its doors

How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely

To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited. 

To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:

1. Register to access our Media Information System, Tawassul at

Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.

2. Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest. 

Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.

About World Expos:

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment. 

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.