The Gustav Mahler Society of Colombo is the most recent performing arts organisation established in Sri Lanka. The Society hosts the 100+ strong orchestra and the GMSC Chorus which makes it stand out among its peers as the largest performing ensemble in the country.
The Gustav Mahler Society was established in June 2018, by the two 20-year-old conductors Srimal Weerasinghe and Vidhurinda Samaraweera.
The Gustav Mahler Society performed its inaugural concert, “Resurrection and Enigma; Introducing Mahler and Elgar”, conducted by its Chief Conductor, Srimal Weerasinghe and with Sri Lanka’s foremost violinist Maestro Ananda Dabare as the Concertmaster of the 80-strong orchestra. It concert was held at the ‘Navarangahala’, Royal College Colombo on the 28th of August 2018.
The concert was presented with a programme consisting of Mozart’s Zauberflöte Overture, Gustav Mahler’s Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen and Urlicht from his 2nd Symphony “Auferstehung” and Sir Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Rachel Halliday, mezzo-soprano was featured as the soloist for the concert.
The concert was well received from the audience and critics both local and foreign as “…the greatest concert heard on Sri Lankan soil in several decades that created a true and pure orchestral sound…”.
The National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka, Mr. Rohan and Ishan de Lanerolle, Mr. Neranjan de Silva, Aitken Spence Maritime, ExpoLanka Freight and several other donors supported the concert amidst several obstacles to bring the society to life.
The creation of a professional orchestra in Sri Lanka, that spearheads the revitalisation of classical music in this country, can and will break the barriers that have limited the reach of this genre to a minority in Colombo.
- Increasing opportunities for musicians to perform classical music, regardless of their age or social status while raising the standard of the repertoire performed in Sri Lanka
- Bringing in Internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists to create an educative atmosphere for the orchestra to learn and develop
- Reigniting interest in classical music by exploring more challenging and pieces that demand the performers technically and intellectually
- Organising masterclasses and workshops for orchestral musicians to develop their capabilities
- Making concerts easily accessible to students, inspiring the youth to boldly pursue their interests in classical music and to join us inspiring the future generations to do the same
- Focusing on educational work not only for musicians, but also the younger generation in Sri Lanka to build a classically literate public
- Performing outside Colombo, also giving those outside the capital an opportunity to be a part of an orchestra by performing with us inspiring them to eventually form their own orchestra
Srimal Weerasinghe, Music Director and Chief Conductor
Vidhurinda Samaraweera, Associate Chief Conductor
Ananda Dabare and Sato Megumi, joint Concertmasters
Rachel Halliday, Chorus Directress
Amanda Halliday, General Manager
The GMSC Orchestra and chorus consists of several professional, amateur and student musicians from many areas of the country.
The GMSC orchestra and Chorus, premieres excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Op.71, along with seasonal favourites at its upcoming concert “Christmas with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker” with the Associate Chief Conductor making his debut with the orchestra. This concert will be held on Saturday 15th of December 2018, 7.00pm at the Defence Services College Auditorium, Malay Street, Colombo-02.