Viola sisters grab eyeballs on international platform

Michelle Joanna and Gabriella Tannishtha from Bengaluru were the only Indian violinists in the youth orchestra

Michelle Joanna and Gabriella Tannishtha.

The Viola Sisters represented Bengaluru in an orchestra performance at Budapest recently.

As a part of an effort to bring together talented Indian Western Classical musicians under one umbrella, conductor and composer Michael Makhal formed the Indo-European Chamber/youth orchestra. Whilst bringing together Indian talent from across the world, Makhal hoped that the effort would allow young musicians the opportunity to collaborate with western maestros, students and performers and perform at prestigious venues across the globe.

Earlier this year, on August 18, the Indo-European Chamber/youth orchestra performed at the Danube Palace, Budapest. The orchestra comprised musicians from across India, with the youngest member being 13-year-old Varun Venkat Lanka from Hyderabad. The group collaborated with the members of the prestigious Danube Symphony Orchestra, for the event.

What sets the group apart is their choice to include Raaga based music precisely written for Western Classical styled orchestras, artists and ensembles by Makhal, along with Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Beethoven. They performed ‘Tagore Medleys,’ written by guest composer Upamanyu Kar, exclusively for the concert, along with Makhal’s Flute Solo and String Orchestra titled ‘Story of Stars.’

Bengaluru-based sisters Michelle Joanna and Gabriella Tannishtha were the only two Indian violinists in the orchestra. Seventeen-year-old Michelle is a second pre-university student, while Gabriella is a music teacher at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School.

“The highlight for me was when we performed Vande Matharam as the introduction. Playing your national song on international soil was a moment of goosebumps for me. Playing Janam Janam was an equally important moment for me,” muses Gabriella.

 The sisters have been playing together for almost five years now. They were bestowed with the title ‘Viola Sisters’ by the members of the orchestra. “It was a really pleasant experience. I would definitely consider it if I were offered a second chance,” adds Gabriella.

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