Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mumbai, India's Cultural World Superpower, Bollywood, Will Increasingly Share Stage With Western And World Classical And New Music

Mumbai (formerly, Bombay, India) ..."The Symphony Orchestra of India comes as a godsend for thousands of amateur lovers and connoisseurs of the western classical music who spent late nights feverishly waiting for an hour’s broadcast on [All-India Radio] and hanging on to every note in fleeting moments of bliss.

Funded completely by the [National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai], [violin virtuoso Marat Bisengaliev] has been given a carte blanche to create an orchestra of truly world-class standard in a few months’ time. But the Herculean task has not fazed the Kazakh maestro and he has removed every shred of doubt with his pyrotechnic display on Thursday.

Marat gave his first performance at the age of nine. He was tutored by "demi-gods" Belinki and Klimov at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire [in Moscow, the Russian Federation]. He won laurels at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig [Germany] and received the near impossible Special Virtuoso Prize at the International Nicanor Zabaleta Competition in Spain. Stunning the musical world with these feats of genius, Marat was honoured with the Independent Platinum Tarlan Award and the Medal of Honour in Kazakhstan.

Add to this, he founded the prestigious West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra -- a task that has truly transformed him into a music director of legendary proportions with wide contacts in the music world. "India is an emerging superpower and the forces of globalisation have made the people increasingly aware of classical music. I think the time is ripe for Western classical music to make inroads into India," said the maestro. "India has the potential to become a major hub for Western classical music like Singapore, South Korea, and China," he added, adding to a debate spurred on by the geographical shift of supremacy in Western classical music from Europe to Asia, especially China, does India have the potential to equal China as the centre of the classical music world in Asia?

Optimism rises to the brim in Marat’s intense yet calm visage, as he emphatically retorts, "India definitely has the capability, and is no lesser than China. What is essential is that quality music has to be provided to Indian listeners, to children especially. And this will remain the raison d’etre of the Symphony Orchestra of India."

Talking about plans for the months ahead, he mentions the full-scale production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker on September 23 and 24, and his duet with British pianist Benjamin Frith on September 27. This brief season is to end with two major concerts conducted by invitee Alexander Anissimov and contributions by Marat, Frith, and soprano Irina Krikunova. The concerts have been scheduled for September 30 and October 2. Lighting a beacon of hope for aspiring and professional musicians working in Bollywood due to a lack of scope for classical music, Khushroo said Marat emphatically stated that any musician could apply to the NCPA be part of the orchestra. On clearing a stringent audition, he/she would then be trained under the watchful eye of the music director, play along with international musicians and sent for specialised training at an institute under a scholarship programme.

The musician would be suitably remunerated and would be groomed for a career in classical music.

The evening ended on a note of hope and promise. A new chapter in the history of western classical music in India had been opened, but what remains to be seen is whether the venture will achieve all that has set for itself."

Neelalohith Chitrapu "Mumbai gets own symphony orchestra" The Asian Age August 16, 2006

Marat Bisengaliev, the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of India, which performs at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, India.

Photo credits: and With thanks.


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