Tune into Scottish melodies, alongside Naga and Tamil folk at this one-of-a-kind 'Concert for Friendship' 

The event will feature 100 singers and musicians from The AR Rahman Foundation’s Sunshine Orchestra, Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise and KM Music Conservatory
Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise in rehearsal
Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise in rehearsal

Music unites people. And this is most certainly true this weekend as 100 young singers and musicians across the ages of eight and 20 come together to take the stage for the Concert for Friendship by KM Music Conservatory in collaboration with the British Council. The event is a part of the ongoing  India/UK Together, a Season of Culture by the British Council —  a year-long programme of creative collaboration, education and cultural exchange taking place online, and in cities across both countries. Expect to hear popular works by Puccini, Verdi, Grieg and Beethoven, alongside Scottish melodies, Naga and Tamil folk songs and carnatic melodies, all performed by The AR Rahman Foundation’s Sunshine Orchestra, Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise and KM Music Conservatory. 

<em>Behind-the-scenes in the run up to the big event</em>
Behind-the-scenes in the run up to the big event

Remote rehearsals
With 14 pieces, spread out over a two-and-a-half hour musical extravaganza, some of the highlights include Edvard Grieg’s Morning and In The Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt, Kurai Onrum Illai by MS Subbulakshmi and of course, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Speaking of joy, Dr Adam J Greig, artistic director, KM Music Conservatory, says, “Bringing young people together to make music is a transformative experience, especially when this happens across country and culture boundaries.” And the latter, as you can imagine, calls for an orchestra of smoothly running logistics as well. We’re told AR Rahman Foundation’s Sunshine Orchestra, Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise, and KM Music Conservatory have been working remotely, since December last year, to listen to and learn each other’s music, ahead of this India visit. This led up to the groups finally meeting and working together in person over a  week long residency before the performance.

<em>Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise and AR Rahman's Sunshine Orchestra in rehearsal</em>
Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise and AR Rahman's Sunshine Orchestra in rehearsal

Coming together
“We’re seeing Scottish musicians show the Indian team how to play Scottish folk and the Indian team show them how to play the classical notes, right down to complexities with violin fingering and so forth...”Adam shares about the musical exchange. Thus making the aim of the collaboration — to explore musical ideas and provide an opportunity for the exchange of cultures — a runaway success. But beyond the rehearsals and nuances of music, he tells us, that what has been truly wonderful to watch is the slow and steady forging of friendships. “There was a really sweet moment when the Scottish team found out that the group from Nagaland come from an orphanage and one of them said: ‘Can I send over a present?’ They flew down with a suitcase full of sports equipment like footballs and cricket bats, all before having even met.”

Apart from the aforementioned music groups, the evening will also feature soprano Divya Iyer and the world premiere of Malabar, composed and performed by guitarist, Matt Bacon. A special addition to the night is the opening performance by the Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University who will be singing our state anthem, Tamil Thai Vazhthu.

INR 250  onwards. March 4. 7.30 pm. At Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall. 

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