This weekend celebrates western music with an orchestra and a gig. While the Bangalore City Chamber Orchestra delivers a stringed presentation of Opera arias, Romanian dances and compositions, in another part of Bengaluru, Jagriti Theatre’s Western Music Festival ‘Gimme a Key!’ plays host to performances by some of the biggest names in the city’s Western music circuit.
Vocalist and mezzo soprano Tanisha Herbert explains that the Bangalore City Chamber Orchestra (BCCO) was created to fill the lacunae in the orchestra space on a professional level. “There are other orchestras in India, but this is a step forward for Western classical musicians to perform in one for a livelihood. We want this to become a lively entity, happening every year, for musicians from all over India and abroad to come and perform in. Not only is it an attractive performing opportunity, but also can handle difficult music.”
She adds that from an audience perspective: “Be prepared to see very high standards of music. We’ve seen foreign musicians dazzle us. I think it is high time we stepped up to show the world the quality of music that highly trained, professional Indian musicians can deliver.”
Looking ahead, Tanisha says: “We want this to be a permanent fixture in Bengaluru — something the city can claim as its own. We have renowned performers coming to India and skipping Bengaluru only because they don’t get an orchestra to perform with. We want to change that and attract soloists and conductors.”
Arun Rozario, the founder-director of the BCCO says the project was a long time coming. “In the years to come, we hope for this orchestra to be a beacon of high professional standards that Western classical musicians aspire to be a part of and audiences grow to love. The BCCO intends to also be a cultural hub for the exchange of musical ideas between the East and West. The orchestra will explore Indian music in the Western classical style and Indian composers in the Western classical scene. In fact we have a specially-composed arrangement of a well-known Indian tune that the orchestra will be playing for this season.”
Led by Belgian conductor maestro Joris Decolvenaer and concertmaster Sanya Myla Cotta, mezzo soprano Tanisha and violinist Rozario, the BCCO is an 18-member string orchestra with players from across the world including Belgium and Sri Lanka.
Accompanying them will be violinists Frederika Cotta, Eshvita Menezes, Grace Biswas, Earl Joseph, Bernd Van Hulle, Dielle Braganza, Ritu Gopal, Saee Tatke and Judyline Fernandes, cellists Saranga Ashen Coorey, Joshua Samuel and Leo Velho, and double bassist Andrea Leitan.
The event is supported by the International Music and Arts Society, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (UK), Furtados Music limited, the Thumboochetty foundation, Opus Gala, VioVoi Music Academy and SAIACS CEO Centre among others.
Lend a ear to the BCCO concert at SAIACS CEO Centre, Kothanur, on May 4, 7 pm onwards. Tickets ongoeventz.com. Call 9741688344.
For a quiet place
Meanwhile at Jagriti Theatre, ‘Gimme a Key!’, apart from playing host to Bengaluru’s finest bands, also showcases performances in the mornings by upcoming artistes from music schools across the city.
Featuring big hitters including Thermal And A Quarter, contemporary, indie and funk rock outfit The Sylvester Trio, the versatile Mud Road and classic blues trio By2Blues.
Rajeev Rajagopal, TAAQ’s groovemeister, says, “It is going to be closer to our jam room set-up. The theatre is set up for an intimate experience for the audience who will be seated and watching music for a change. Almost the entire music scene today is dependent on pubs and clubs where F&B and socialising are the main focus. We’ve done a lot of international shows where in a theatre or auditorium set-up like this, the medium is best appreciated.”
He adds that it is all about the repertoire. “The music we are playing is suited for a quiet place. A lot of songs we have on this setlist are those we usually avoid in a loud, noisy bar since it doesn’t fit that atmosphere.”
Rajeev sums up: “A venue for people to sit and watch a band play – that is the kind of focussed audience we need. I think there should be a lot more of this.”
Sylvester Pradeep, says, “We’re playing an all-original set. It is a mix of entertainment and pieces based on personal experiences. We’ve got various themes and a couple of surprises based on a lot of interesting, topic-oriented songs.”
He adds: “The audience can hear a new perspective of sound from us. What we’ve put together is fresh for everybody. Also the theatre space allows us to do more than just play music. We are involving some performance art as well.”
Ananth Menon, talks about By2Blues’ showcase. “We’re playing a mix of own songs and interpretations of covers. We’re also excited to be part of the first ever Western music festival in a space like Jagriti. The chemistry between the three of us in the band is an enjoyable listening experience. There’s a certain energy created when the three of us are in sync. Hopefully, people will be humming one of our tunes when they leave.”
Check them out at Jagriti Theatre, Varthur Road, from May 4 to 6. Tickets at venue and BookMyShow. Call 41242879.