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    Besides classical music with Jewish and Argentinian flourishes, The Arties Festival promises a few surprises

    photos musiciensWhen Gauthier Hermann, a renowned cellist, came to India for the first time more than seven years ago, little did he know that he and his band of French musicians would be regulars in the Indian western classical musical circuit. After seven years, 13 editions, 11 cities and more than 110 different musical pieces, the Arties Festival has well and truly struck a chord. “We never imagined it would become such an important event,” says Hermann.
    The director of Arties Event Management is now back with the 14th edition of the French Chamber Music festival on November 29. With six musicians, a flute quartet, a violin and cello piece and several musical pieces for accordions, Hermann says it will be a western classical enthusiast’s dream. “The audience can look forward to some Mozart, pieces from Central Europe and as well as several Jewish songs. The Arties spirit is always to give the audience a large palette of music, colours and emotions. This time, we are also performing some tango from Argentina,” he adds.
    Indian vibe
    We ask him about his Bollywood adaptations that have figured in earlier shows. “I can tell you that we sometimes play Bollywood at the end and sometimes not. But if there is  no Bollywood, there’s always another surprise.” After the Chennai concert, the group will split and head off to different concerts around the world. “I am flying to Phnom Phen, Cambodia, to organise the Arties Festival in 2015,” says Hermann. The March 2015 edition will also be the big 15 for Arties India. “The 15th edition will be something new as we are partnering with a Swiss NGO. We’re planning to do fund-raising concerts in Switzerland, Nepal and India, too,” he says.
    November 2015 will be still bigger he says, as he hopes to have the entire Arties orchestra in Chennai. “We really want to add Chennai on our list for our basic tours, as we know it is one of the most cultural cities in India,” says Hermann.
    Tomorrow, at the Edouard Michelin Auditorium, Alliance Francaise, at 7.30 pm. Entry is free.Details:  28279803

    What is chamber music?
    Hermann calls it music produced by a small group of instruments playing together like a conversation. “In the beginning it was done in the living rooms of the most prestigious families. That’s why it’s called chamber music. But now, it’s played in venues that host symphonic concerts.”

    Most memorable concert
    Hermann insists it is difficult to choose just one, but then he remembers a concert given in Kalakshetra last March. “The acoustics in the Bamboo temple and the heat (it was nearly 35 degrees inside) made it a very special one. And it was an amazing atmosphere as well,” he recalls.

    —JV

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