Param Davda

News from the SOI Music Academy

From pursuing higher education in prestigious conservatoires to winning laurels in international competitions, the students of the SOI Music Academy are going places

Soli Cyrus Nallaseth was among the first students of the SOI Music Academy, where he studied piano under Aida Bisengalieva. A student of the instrument since the age of five, he went on to pursue higher education in the UK. Nallaseth recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree under the tutelage of Professor Colin Stone and Professor Sulamita Aronovsky, and will be returning for a Master of Arts degree under Stone’s guidance.

The 22-year-old has been a prizewinner in several competitions including the 23rd International Chopin Piano Competition in Mazovia. He was twice selected to go to Musica Mundi, a leading chamber music festival, on a full scholarship in 2015 and 2016, where he took lessons from well-known musicians and performed in the Netherlands, and Belgium, where the course was offered.

Nallaseth has continually striven to hone his skills. He has taken masterclasses with celebrated artistes Daniel Barenboim and Maria João Pires as well as leading concert pianists and teachers. The young pianist has played at the iconic Wigmore Hall in a chamber music concert and in a full circle of sorts, has also performed on numerous occasions with the Symphony Orchestra of India, under the baton of Marat Bisengaliev, Piotr Borkowski and Mikel Toms.

The NCPA wishes him the very best in future endeavours.

Soli Nallaseth

Encouraged by SOI Music Director Marat Bisengaliev and their teachers to regularly participate in international competitions*, students currently learning music at the academy have been doing their teachers proud too.

Nyra Jain, who has been studying violin under Olga Lyapina, took part in her first strings competition in August 2020 and has participated in eight since. Most recently, she won the first prize in her category in the Domenico Savino Competition in Italy, and the Silver Award in the Rieding Competition organised in Slovenia. She also placed second in the Fiestalonia Milenio ‘Music Box’ in the UK in October 2020, and third in Fiestalonia Milenio ‘Talents of Europe’, Spain, in September. “Each competition entailed a lot of effort on the part of Ms. Olga, my parents and myself. It was disappointing not to be in a winning position for some of the competitions, but that motivated me to work harder. Although the competitions have been online, they have given me a lot of exposure,” says Jain.

Nyra Jain

In his musical journey with the academy, Param Davda’s recent achievements include the first prize in the Comparative Piano category, for students of piano as a secondary instrument, in the VIII Uljus – International Piano Competition Smederevo in Serbia in May. He also participated in the World Open Online Music Competition in the percussion category and was awarded the Laureate of the second prize. “I thank Mr. Marat Bisengaliev, Ms. Aida Bisengalieva and Mr. Pavel Vasilenia for the mentoring, support and motivation. I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the NCPA for the support on the obtention of instruments.”

Sumer Murthy

Sumer Murthy, a student of SOI violinist Gulzara Shakir, placed second in his category in the Domenico Savino Competition as well as the Città di Sarzana International Music Performance Competition, both conducted in Italy. “This was a wonderful opportunity to see where I stand amongst other musicians my age. I’ve participated in one competition offline, and found that more fulfilling than the online versions. I felt like I was actively part of the competition, watching other participants, performing for a live audience, and feeling the excitement leading up to my performance, rather than passively submitting a video. However, the online competitions were less stressful. I’d like to thank Ms. Gulzara for helping me with my pieces, and Ms. Aida for the accompaniment.”

Maira Noor Singh

Maira Noor Singh participated in the first open competition for young violinists within the framework of the Fermata Classical Music Festival, organised in Russia, and secured the second prize in the Domenico Savino Competition. “I enjoyed preparing for these competitions. Although it took immense hard work on the part of Ms. Olga and me, it was exciting to have won on an international stage. I would like to thank all the teachers, especially Ms. Olga, for supporting me throughout. I feel lucky to have found a remarkable teacher and friend in her,” she says.

*All competitions were held online in view of the pandemic.

This piece was originally published by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, in the August 2021 issue of ON Stage – their monthly arts magazine. All images © NCPA Mumbai.