Concert A recent western classical music concert by students proved that the genre lives on.
Think lazy weekends, and you imagine comforting quilts, Sunday brunches and long hours with your favourite book. Slip in some Mozart and Chopin, and you have a recipe for the perfect day. Even as last Sunday's balmy serenity drew to a close, the ebb and flow of music at the Administrative Staff College of India in Somajiguda kept the tranquillity going.
Organised by the two-event-old Music Appreciation Group, a group formed to promote, understand and appreciate music, the evening of music featured six students from International School of Hyderabad and their teachers — violinist Janet Hoisington, a masters in music education from the United States, and pianist Iryna Tsarenko, a Ph.D. from Russia. But as Iryna was quick to mention, there were no artists, students, teachers or even audience members. There were just musicians and music-lovers.
It was a short concert, showcasing the burgeoning talent of the six selected students — Anoushka Shahane singing soprano, Valmik Kumar on guitar and tabla, and Ajay Sharma, Martin Yoder, and sisters Vyshnavi and Sanjukta Koppuluon the piano. Janet and Iryna set the mood with a violin-piano duet by Italian composer Vittorio Monti which was segmented based on tempo and tone, moving from haunting pathos to a soaring expression of joy. The violin solo fumbled a bit, especially in the higher notes, but it was a gorgeous culmination of sound and spirit.
The students nobly lived up to the example set before them. The evergreen Hallelujah was sung by soprano Anoushka assisted by Valmik on the acoustic guitar: a simple song embroidered by Anoushka's dulcet voice. Her nervousness was evident and her voice wasn't as strong as would have been liked, but the sheer sweetness of pitch carried it through. She also sang a French poem set to music accompanied by Iryna.
Martin played a composition by Bach. The piece was short but executed with brilliance, a lilting tune that seemed to flow effortlessly from Martin's fingers. Ajay proved himself to be equally capable, performing a painfully complicated piece by a thirteenth century Russian composer, deftly shifting back and forth in tempo and timbre.
All the students had something to be proud of. Sanjukta's performance of a short Romantic piece was sweet and simple, despite occasional pauses in between. Vyshnavi stood out, playing a much longer Mozart piece with absolute aplomb, a symphony that built itself up beautifully while slipping between different pitches.
Janet and Iryna had plenty to be proud about. In an age of hip-hop and trance, one might question the relevance of this genre of music to the present generation, but most questions were silenced. “It enriches people, and the music becomes a part of you,” said Janet. “It's about expressing yourself.”
Iryna turned to history to find the answer. “Western classical music itself isn't actually that. It evolved in Germany, Italy and England before moving easy to Poland, to Russia. Now it's defined in different ways. Our students find their own definition.”