Why is it that making music in Mumbai is fraught with dangers? Is it because we as a society are intolerant of something new or threatening . When 3 years ago I decided to pick up the baton again after some 25 years I hardly knew what I was getting in to.
Mumbai has several music ensembles. Not counting the numerous choirs there are 3 main instrumental bodies. The longest surviving orchestra is the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and the B P Salon Orchestra has long served as a platform for students.
The Phoenix Chamber Soloists grew naturally from a need to fulfil the expectations of lovers of serious music with no restrictions of repertoire. Cities around the world are dotted with instrumental ensembles comprising players of soloist calibre playing together. The string ensembles in particular were a model for the PCS. Think of I Solisti Veneti, a Venice-based ensemble or Vladimir Spivakov’s Moscow Virtuosi.
Our initial programmes were necessarily limited to baroque music as finding talented musicians with a common ideology began. Many young musicians new to Mumbai joined in as the challenges grew. We learnt alot from those early concerts generously sponsored by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture. His Excellency Mr Vladimir Dementiev became a close personal friend as we steered the ship forward. Furtados’ Anthony Gomes was always ready to help with the loan of a Steinway piano and rehearsal space.
Initial repertoire was chamber music from the Classical period. A Beethoven piano trio, a Mozart piano quartet and a Schubert string quartet all featured in early programmes. The opening and closing pieces were Handel concerti grossi
As we grew in strength and expertise we sorely required financial sponsorship to stay alive. With the excellence already recognised by Mumbai audiences we were invited to perform an all Brahms concert in Mumbai and Goa. With the successful inclusion of singers in earlier concerts we performed the Liebeslieder walzer written by Brahms for piano-duet and 4 voices. Mme Schepers-Wittig, a German soprano sang and coached the other singers.
Most recently the PCS along with guest musicians were invited to perform at the Willingdon Sports Club. We hope this has a domino effect. We are happy to receive any funding. For this please contact me on [email protected]
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