South Asian Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to Gandhi

he progamme titled ‘Gandhi to Beethoven: the Call to Freedom’ will feature songs of peace, Gandhi’s favourites

The Orchestra comprises 65 musicians from eight countries.

The South Asian Symphony Orchestra is organising a concert ‘From Gandhi to Beethoven: the Call to Freedom’ today, in order to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The event will feature songs of peace and melodies that Gandhi loved. 

But what could be the connection between Gandhi, an Indian nationalist leader and Beethoven, a German music composer? “They did not even belong to the same era, but they had a connection. They both spoke about the need for humanity to rise above divisions and work towards freedom. Both believed in democracy and human rights,” shares Nirupama Rao.
Also, Miraben or Madeleine Slade, the British woman who left her home in the UK to become a disciple of Gandhi, found her way to the leader through Beethoven. When Romain Rolland wrote a book about Beethoven, she reached out to him. 

“Rolland told her about Gandhi and she came to India to follow him. It was Beethoven who brought her to Gandhi,” she says. 

Nirupama Road, former diplomat, foreign secretary and ambassador, along with her husband, Sudhakar Rao, retired civil servant started the South Asian Symphony Foundation in July 2018. Its driving force was the aim to promote greater cultural integration for the cause of peace in the region of South Asia.

Under the foundation, Chiragh, the South Asian Symphony Orchestra (SASO), an orchestra comprising of 65 musicians from across the eight countries was formed.

“An orchestra can be a model for society. Different people, playing different instruments sit shoulder to shoulder and create music. In an orchestra, every member has to contribute and each contribution is equally important,” she adds. 

Harmony Chorus, a chorus of children from Bengaluru, will also be performing. They have also commissioned a song, Ideas of Freedom, which is composed by Antonius Anand Nazareth, the son of late composer Daniel Nazareth. A sitar player will join the orchestra during the show.

The event will be held on October 5, 6.30 pm at JN Tata Auditorium. Entry is free but you need to avail passes by sending an email to foundationsouthasiasymphony@gmail.com

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