COVID-19: Indo-European Orchestra’s online video ‘Mozart in Quarantine’ is dedicated to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers

Orchestra conductor Michael Makhal aims to bring happiness and spread the message of hope and positivity with this virtual video

April 15, 2020 02:53 pm | Updated 03:07 pm IST

The members playing music at their homes

The members playing music at their homes

Watching doctors, nurses and health care workers battle COVID-19, Michael Makhal, the founder of Indo-European Orchestra, was inspired to say ‘thank you’ through his music. His online video Mozart in Quarantine — featuring 12 of his orchestra members spread across India, USA, Italy and Hungary — is dedicated to the medical fraternity at the front-line who risk their lives. “Music heals, relaxes and brings hope,” he says.

The four-minute piece is a soulful rendition; in the video, Michael as the orchestra conductor and his musicians play in tandem to strike a chord as the the spirit of Mozart permeates all through. Michael chose Mozart as ‘even those who don’t understand western classical music can soak in this outpouring of melody.’ He adds, “Mozart has been the global icon of western classical music for centuries, his well-known ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ is a joyful piece. There is anxiety and gloom all around and people are worried about their lives, jobs and loved ones. We like to bring happiness through our music on social media platforms during this pandemic. Music has great power to keep us hopeful and mentally active.”

Michael had presented this piece at an international festival two years ago. The audio link was sent to the members, who practised and recorded their part to send it back to him. The musical bits were then mixed to present a virtual orchestra. One of the challenges the musicians faced while doing so was to follow the audio track while playing their part. Michael points out the musicians had their earphones and would listen to the track from one ear and how they are playing in the other ear. Since they couldn’t listen and play, one had to be alert while playing. A delay of even a fraction of a second could alter the notes. There were a few minor mistakes but it is more beautiful than I expected it to be.”


The focus was to also represent both the Indian music and traditional western classical music from Europe. It was a unique collaboration between an Indian musician and musicians of the world. “We are all safe enjoying the comforts in our homes. We want to spread the message of positivity and healing.”

Sharing his connection with Europe, Michael says it was heartbreaking to see the images in Italy. “Since 2016, we have grown a wonderful musical bond with Italy. I was the only member from India who participated in the prestigious ‘Luci Della Ribaltaa International Festival’ in Narni, Italy. Since then, I have been attending the Fest and introducing Indian talents. We had over a dozen young and advanced western classical musicians who attended the Fest in Italy in 2019. We studied and performed music together with musicians from Europe and around the world. Quite a few musicians in this video of our Indo-European Orchestra are from Italy; I met them at this fest over the last few years and have become good friends. We have also built a wonderful musical bond with Hungary.”

(The video can be watched at

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