In harmony with music

In 2006, the formation of India’s first symphony orchestra, namely Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) was a big step for this country’s association with western classical music. A greater feat was achieved recently at the launch of the Indian National Symphony Orchestra at Leela Palace in a global peace and harmony concert.

Mongkol Chayasirisobhon and conductor Ashley Williams with the orchestra.

But unlike the SOI, this symphony orchestra comprises of only Indians, with musicians from across the country coming together to perform. Under the able baton of renowned conductor Ashley Williams, a beautiful two-hour long concert was witnessed, which proved to be both an entertaining and a beautiful experience for the listener.

The concert, which was organised by John Thomas Associates and William Joseph Foundation, started off with a powerful rendition of Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Millers’ 1955 classic, ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’.

This was followed by an extremely varied and eclectic set of compositions — from British composer Edward Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ to Mendelssohn’s ‘Symphony No 9’.
As the tempos in the compositions changed, the body language of the conductor did, making it a pleasure to watch the interactions between him and the members of the orchestra. The coordination on the part of the musicians was perfect, making it even more appealing.

And when the orchestra played the popular La Ci Darem or the love theme from ‘Cinema Paradiso’, it was only natural for the audience to smile and absorb whatever emotions it was that the music brought out in them.  “I loved it. It was very soothing and absolutely fantastic,” says Jude Felix, a member of the audience. He adds, “As a listener, I find myself being partial to the violin. There’s something really charming about that instrument in particular.”

What made the concert even more interesting were the occasional songs, where the orchestra was joined by Thai soloists, Mongkol and Dungdao Chayasirisobhon. Be it Dungdao singing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ in the most brilliant but seemingly effortless way or her husband, Mongkol performing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ songs like ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ and ‘If I were a Rich Man’, it was truly wonderful!
It was a fine experience even for the musicians who formed the symphony
orchestra.

“The orchestra has people from all over the country, though many of us are from South India. Despite where we come from and what our individual influences are, we have integrated together in just two days,” shares Bhaskar, one of the violinists.
“We were sent the music a month ago and have been practising on our own. We only played together 48 hours ago! Ashley is the man behind making us sound like what we do today,” he concludes.

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