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Symphony Orchestra of India and more at NCPA@thePark Bengaluru

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Symphony Orchestra of India and more at NCPA@thePark Bengaluru

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File photo of Indiva All Women Multi-Lingual Band perform at NCPA@ thePark at Embrossia Garden, Hiranandani Powai earlier this year
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, presents NCPA@thePark Bangalore. It is an initiative to exhibit live performances and to promote performing arts in India across prime outdoor locations for free of cost, explains Khushroo N Suntook, Chairman, NCPA and Co-founder, Symphony Orchestra of India.

The 55-year-old NCPA launched NCPA@thePark three years ago with the aim to rejuvenate live performances after pandemic-induced lockdowns. “The NCPA, in association with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), focuses on celebrating the return of live entertainment to physical spaces,” says Khusroo over phone from his residence in Mumbai.

Khushroo N Suntook

Khushroo N Suntook
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The orchestra has been touring quite a bit, says Khushroo. “The 18-year-old orchestra has been providing classes using the Russian method, which is a tough but a good school of teaching. Ever since, we have grown in strength and the orchestra has travelled around the globe including Moscow, Oman and the UK.”

The Symphony Orchestra of India has performed for the Maharani of Mysore and at the Bengaluru Palace. “Both concerts were successful. We must be the only professional symphony orchestra in India, which is a pity as there are at least 1,500 or more orchestras across the world.”

Concerts like NCPA@ThePark, Khushroo says are an attempt to spread the cult of great music. “There has been a deal of success on that front.”

It is a misconception Khushroo says that Indians will not be open to a Western orchestra. “There are symphony orchestras in Africa and all over the world, which do not have any Western influence. In fact, the two major examples of this are Japan and China. Until 1972, Western music was banned in China. It was only 50 years ago that they opened their doors to this music and today there are thousands of western music practitioners with many of them playing with the greatest orchestras in the world.” 

Musicians of the Symphony Orchestra of India perform at NCPA@ thePark Event at Embrossia Garden, in February this year

Musicians of the Symphony Orchestra of India perform at NCPA@ thePark Event at Embrossia Garden, in February this year
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“We have started to amalgamate Indian and western music and have had successful tours with Zakir Hussain and Rakesh Chaurasia. Classical music was established 400 years ago, and today we have music of every kind and genre all over the world.”

Khushroo, who has been actively propagating the performing arts for decades, says “Collaborations between Indian and Western musicians began with Pandit Ravi Shankar. He was one of the pioneers, who crossed borders over 60 years ago. There have been many instances of Indian musicians playing with a Western orchestra.”

Musicians, Khushroo says, have also seen the huge potential of an Indian orchestra. Zakir is a great champion of this. Western orchestra is like Shakespeare. It is taught in every language and every school in the world. Similarly, great art can be of any kind.”

Hailing from a family of lawyers, Khushroo is passionate about music. “My grandfather was a senior judge and my father was a leading solicitor with the Maharaja of Mysore and was active in the integration of the Indian states. I had nothing to do with music or art till I joined the Tatas three decades ago. I always loved music, which was influenced by my friendship with some of the great musicians. That was when law took a back seat and the performing arts came to the forefront.”

Khushroo is thrilled about the upcoming show in Bengaluru. “I used to come to Bengaluru and play tennis for my State ages ago. People here are fond of music of all kinds. The Maharaja of Mysore was a great patron of Western classical music. He, in fact, supported one of the greatest orchestras in the world for years, the Philharmonia Orchestra in England. When I was in Mysuru three years ago, the Maharani showed the passion the late king had for music.”

There is a large community of music lovers in south India, Khushroo says. “Bengaluru is one of the most advanced cities in India, intellectually. They are fond of many things that are international in nature. I find Bengaluru an interesting city, whether it is for business, playing tennis or art.”

The event will be at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on March 30 and 31m 6pm onwards on both days. It is free and open to all. 

What is in store

The line-up for NCPA@thePark Bangalore includes a performance by the Symphony Orchestra of India with compositions by Mozart and Johann Strauss. This will be followed by UnErase Poetry, which will be a blend of spoken word and music, weaving tales of love, hope, and life through their unique artistry.

The second day will include an Odissi dance recital by the Srjan dance troupe, led by Ratikant Mohapatra. They will present Deesha – Navigating the journey of forging new horizons. The event will close with an electrifying set by Darren Das & The Sixth Sense, who will present a fusion of pop, retro, rock n roll, and classic rock.

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