Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra to present Vistar, their latest Indian work at The Music Academy
Written by Sandeep Bhagwati, Vistar will also be performed in Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai this March.
PRESENTING a unique blend of Indian and Western classical music in the city this week is Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (SCO), a 17-member ensemble led by Serbian soloist and chamber musician Bogdan Božovic, who was formerly a violinist for the Vienna Piano Trio and the founding member of Leonardi Ensemble. Bogdan has been leading the SCO group since 2016 and will be the concertmaster for their upcoming performances in India.
Formed by Karl Münchinger in 1945, the SCO was the first German music ensemble to have visited Paris in 1949, since the pre-World War II era. Under the conductorship of Münchinger, the orchestra received positive critical reviews for its unique interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s work and Viennese classicists.
Over the years, the ensemble has been shaped by conductors like Dennis Russell Davies, Michael Hofstetter, and Matthias Foremny, and each of them brought their own kind of authenticity, innovation, and versatility to the group. With a schedule that includes around 90 concerts a year, in different parts of the world, the group is touring several Indian cities this month, most significantly for the world premiere of Vistar, their interpretation of a work written by Sandeep Bhagwati, a Germany-based composer of Indian descent.
Markus Korselt, the general and artistic director of SCO, tells us, “We have a personal connection with Sandeep for a long time. We asked him to write a commissioned work, as he is one of the most famous Indian composers of classical music. After the India tour, we will perform Vistar in Germany as well.”
The SCO has ventured into collaborations with various solo artistes and musicians, from different genres, over the years — whether it is jazz or electronic. In May this year, they will be collaborating with Elektro Guzzi, a dance/electronic trio from Vienna, to combine classic American music with modern-day EDM.
“Music is an art form which automatically unites people even if they don’t speak the same language. We have many different nationalities in our team because we try to get the best musicians from the world,” says Markus. “The challenge is to find a sound which is really homogeneous. We also work a lot on the right way to play the pieces,” he adds.
One of their more popular renditions in India is their adaptation of the title track of Karan Johar’s 2000 movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai at NCPA Hall, Mumbai last year, which received a standing ovation. “Bogdan chose to adapt Kuch Kuch Hota Hai for the orchestra after doing a little research about the most popular songs in India,” informs Markus, who adds, “At the end, the audience stood up for applause and sang the song with us. It was a very special moment for everybody.”
“Bollywood music is an exciting art form that is fun to play but requires a lot of practice. But that won’t stop us from performing more Bollywood numbers in the future,” assures Markus. So what else do they like about the country? we asked. “The friendliness of the people here, and the confusing traffic — both leave us overwhelmed!” he says, with a laugh.
Presented by Goethe-Institut. March 22. At The Music Academy, Chennai. Entry free.
photo courtesy: Reiner Pfisterer