Chennai's tryst with Mozart

Special Correspondent

It is the first ever Indian orchestral symphony music

CHENNAI: Come June and Chennai will have its date with Mozart, Indian style. Tamil Maiyam, the makers of Ilaiyaraja's "Tiruvasagam" in symphonic oratorio, is now gearing up to go a step further with `Mozart meets India' billed as "the first ever Indian orchestral symphony music."

The allusion to Mozart, however, is more symbolic than any real adaptation, to coincide with the Mozart centenary.

More than 75 instrumentalists and vocalists most globally renowned will go on stage, accompanied by the sitar, the veena, the bamboo flutes, the shenoy, the clarinet, the saxophone, the violin and the viola.

While Indian artists include Bombay Jeyashree, Kadri Gopalnath, A.K. Devi, O.S. Arun, L. Kishore Kumar and Embar Kannan, the American touch will come through Arun Pandian, lead guitarist to music icon Carlos Santana.

Heading the Indian team will be 34-year-old Nellai Jesuraj, an unheard of performer till now, who will arrange the orchestral score.

The symphony concept revolves around the Hindustani Zaare ragas Kaapi, Panthuvarali, Sindhubhairavi, Bilahari, Sankarabaranam and Hamsananthi each of which will first form part of a solo composition before becoming part of the symphony. "The idea is to take Indian music to a global audience without compromising on its basic grammar. The ragas are chosen on the basis of their compatibility with the symphonic form. The 60-minute composition will ensure that both forms of music Indian and Western maintain their distinctness, yet blend smoothly," Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder and managing director, Tamil Maiyam, told reporters here on Saturday.

A European string quartet would be used and the final sound mixing done in the U.S. The production cost alone would be Rs. 25 lakh. Besides the live concert, the composition would be available as audiocassettes, CDs and DVDs.

`Mozart meets India' will be performed live at the Music Academy in the last week of June. The proceeds would be donated to Give Life, a project run by Shriram Social Welfare Trust and Tamil Maiyam.