Fete De La Musique is back in the city for the fourth year

Way back in June, 1982, the French decided to celebrate the onset of summer with a festival of music, which sought to make music accessible to those who neither have the means nor the time to pursue it. It provided a platform for professional and amateur musicians to express themselves. The French called it, ‘Fete De La Musique’.

In the last three decades, the idea has been embraced by many across the world, spawning similar festivals. The city of Chennai has already seen three such festivals and it is gearing up for a fourth, starting June 16. While previous editions saw musicians performing in public parks, on the back of a lorry in the midst of traffic and in street corners in an effort to take music to the masses, this year’s edition, with an emphasis on education, will try to introduce children from Government schools to the world of music through a number of workshops that have been planned through the week.

At the press interaction, Helmut Schippert, who has taken over as the new director of Goethe Institut, stressed on the importance of engaging with music. “Music can change the world of a person… It can change their private, social and professional life,” he said.

This week-long festival, a joint effort by Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, Inko Centre, Anil Srinivasan’s Rhapsody and A.R. Rahman’s KM Conservatory, will see several talented musicians performing every evening at venues across the city.

Adam Grieg, a faculty from KM Conservatory, hoped that efforts like these would help children decide if they want to take up music as their career, “Chennai has a vibrant music scene. It will be great to see how many of these kids would be willing to take up music as a career,” he said.

Speaking about being part of such a festival, Anil Srinivasan, who is already working with many Corporation schools through his organisation, Rhapsody, said, “Most of the kids today grow up on a steady diet of film music. The idea of such a festival is to introduce them to something else and widen their horizons.”

The children will get an opportunity to learn music from different regions in the world, including how to play Korean percussion instruments. Some exciting concerts have been lined up throughout the week — one on June 20, in which 500 children will sing together and the other one on June 21, in which three pianists will play in a concert titled ‘Piano for Peace’.

“It so happened that we (Anil Srinivasan, Alexandra Minoza and Sharik Hasan) have three different identities and play three different kinds of music — Indian, Western Classical and Jazz. Two piano concerts are common, three not so much. We really don’t know how the crowd is going to react, but hopefully the message that I want people to take home is that three different styles of music, played by three different pianists with different identities, can unite on stage,” says Anil Srinivasan.

All evening concerts are open to the public for free.