Music conductor Vijay Upadhyaya on introducing Indian instruments in a western orchestra
Bringing together 160 singers from four different choirs—Madras Musical Association Choir, Coimbatore Chamber Chorale, Trivandrum Choristers Association and KM Music Conservatory—for a performance is not an easy task. Add to that another 120 musicians—from 20 music schools from about 12 states (including Karnataka, Goa, Nagaland and West Bengal)—for an orchestra, and the task is gargantuan. Taking on the job is Vijay Upadhyaya, director of orchestra at the University of Vienna, who will be wielding the baton for Rendezvous, a symphonic and choral concert organised by the Madras Musical Association.
The highlight of the 90-minute concert will be the inclusion of four Indian percussion instruments that will be played by students of the KM Music Conservatory. “The mridangam, jalra, ghatam and idakka will be part of the orchestra. Although we’ve tried this fusion earlier, this is the first time we are introducing it with choral and orchestral symphonic music,” says Vienna-based Upadhyaya who is in Chennai for the first time. Commenting that Indian choirs are mostly associated with churches (“I’ve nothing against it, but it needs to go beyond that”) and mostly reproduce western music, the 49-year-old Lucknow-born says that he’s made a conscious effort to make sure they did something different. “We will be performing Tamil and Malayalam folk songs, like Thootu kadai oruthile and Kuttanadan punchayile,” says Upadhyaya, who has set the folk melodies to western orchestral arrangement. Classical western compositions of Mozart and Vivaldi will also be performed. A part of proceeds will go to RASA, the city-based school for differently-abled children.
Tomorrow, at Sir Mutha Hall, at 7 pm. Rs 400 onwards. Details: in.bookmyshow.com