When did you first visit India?
My first visit to India was in 2012. Since then I have been here numerous times for a variety of projects, concerts and masterclasses. My connection with India started in Buenos Aires when I was six years old and studied yoga and meditation as a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda. Over the years I attended courses, retreats and studied Indian philosophy. During my twenties, I was deeply involved in yoga and meditation. This long romance with India finally took me to my first trip in 2012.
How has the experience been so far?
I love being in India and experiencing this beautiful country. During my time here I have worked on several projects, the highlights being –
- Collaborative ventures between the Child’s Play Foundation (a NGO based in Goa) and the University of Seville
- Goa University Choir and Ensemble
- Projects with the Bangalore School of Music
- Conducting the Bombay Chamber Orchestra last year in August at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai
- Inaugural Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival 2016: taking place in the heritage city of Old Goa with artists from around the world.
Is there a growing interest in Western classical music here?
Over the years there has been a sudden rise in concerts, music tours, and educational programs across several parts of India. The Goa University is supporting new ideas and projects from where we can further develop the Western classical music world. The Bombay Chamber Orchestra and Bangalore School of Music have helped us through our ongoing journey. I believe strengthening bonds between all of those who are involved in music will result in creating a generation of Indian artists who will offer to India what it deserves: a society flourishing with art and music.
Why is this form of music important?
During my years working at the El Sistema, I experienced how important music is for societies and people. El Sistema is a publicly financed voluntary sector music education program in Venezuela, founded in 1975 by Venezuelan educator, musician and activist José Antonio Abreu which later adopted the motto Social Action for Music. It is the biggest music educational program around the world that works with the underprivileged strata of society.
There is much more to music than its pleasure and entertainment aspect. Music gives us parameters of beauty (as well as goodness and truth) and we need those parameters to build a fair society in which all of us can develop our own capabilities and dreams. It is a special language in which one can express themselves individually and be in comunion with others socially. An Orchestra and a Choir is a perfect artistic society where everyone needs to tune in and find their place to be. And common practice is a basic human experience which is needed to develop psychological, social and emotional skills.
Personally, I look for the basic desire in any artistic practice – the desire of reaching beauty in itself. That desire conduces us into a path of personal evolution and gives us the tools to distinguish between what is beauty and what is not. In this way, art and beauty can become an ethical and moral tool and also connect intrinsically with the two other transcendentals concepts – goodness and truth, thereby completing the Ethical-Moral circle. Embracing the practice of reaching beauty leads us to the experience of truth and goodness. In this way, music becomes an incredible tool for individuals and societies.
What are your future plans in India?
I have just renewed my contract with the Goa University for another three years till 2019. From the Anthony Gonsalves Chair of Western Music, we are working on educational initiatives.
About two years ago, I wrote a project for the creation of a College of Music and a Music Degree at the Goa University. This venture is now already rolling and we expect the creation of the College/Music Degree for the upcoming seasons. I also have some upcoming collaborations with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra.
Furthermore, during this last year I have been working with a team of people towards the creation of the Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival. This festival offers music programs, courses and conferences with artists from several traditions round the world – Carnatic, Christian, Sufi, Hindustani, Jewish, Orthodox and many others. The Coexistence leitmotiv/motto (A Musical Experience of Coexistence) that we have chosen to inspire the whole festival fuses music programs of different traditions. Ketevan’s Music Festival was born to inspire a place of artistic, spiritual and musical dialogue. In our scenarios we will present concerts where artists can share their art with artists from other traditions to develop the idea of the artistic coexistence, as an engine of cultural, social and human coexistence. We assume the difficult task of intercultural dialogue and tolerance with immense respect and understanding of all traditions. Our team consists of experts and advisers in artistic and inter-religious dialogue to ensure that each participant finds their space in our festival. As music is an International language, there is no better way to learn to live with one another than through music.
Our first edition of the Ketevan World Sacred Music Festival takes place from the 12th upto the 21st of February 2016 at the Heritage city of Old Goa.
About Santiago Lusardi Girelli
An Italian-Argentinian conductor, his work as a choir and orchestra conductor has taken place in the last recent years in Argentina, Venezuela, Germany, Belgium, Bolivia, Peru, Italy, France, Spain and India.
He started his studies in music and philosophy since he was very young; these two paths of study have developed his profile. He is a Orchestra and Choir conductor, performer, composer and scholar of theological & philosophical traditions of the East and West.
Involved in an increasingly exciting range of projects around the globe, he worked as Choir and Orchestral conductor within the Venezuela´s musical system (EL SISTEMA) during more than 3 years; in Bolivia he has worked as the main conductor of the Orchestra San José de Chiquitos, located in the Chiquitania, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with which he has made national and international tours during 2007/08; invited as a conductor of the “Symphonic Orchestra Hombres Nuevos”, conductor in the “National Youth Orchestra of Peru”, the “Imperial Orchestra from Cuzco” (2008), and the “Banuev´s Choir” during the Youth International Meeting in Rome, BCO Symphonic Orchestra (India), Orquesta de Cámara Europea (Spain) among others. In Buenos Aires he worked whit several choirs, orchestral groups and musical projects as conductor and producer. Hi recorded more than in more than 30 cd´s and conducted more than 15 musicals among Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserable or The Phantom of the Opera. During more than 7 years he conducted the Music Ministry in the Diocese of San Isidro (Argentina), working as Kapellmeister, organist and Choir Master.
He did several researches on baroque vocal music of Moxos and Chiquitania´s archives in Latin-America, and conducted brand-new musical pieces with his “Seville Chamber Choir & Baroque Ensemble” (Spain). He studied with several renamed conductors and celebrities round the world: José Carlos Carmona (Spain), Antonio Abreu (Venezuela), A. Alonso (France), Julio Domínguez (Spain) G. Céspedes (Colombia), N. Andrenacci (Argentina), W. Ptaff (Germany), and vocal performance with Mirella Frenni (Italy).
Mr. Lusardi takes in addition an intense activity in the scope of the international cooperation, is coordinating and founding of the cooperation group Social Development through Music; this group has realised since 2009 stays of cooperation in different regions from South America, Africa and India working next to young people and children, attending to them pedagogically and offering formation to the young professors of the different music programs.
A keen musicologist, Lusardi has initiated several steps in music appreciation round the world, He regularly delivers lectures, pre-concert talks and pens articles and programme notes for different projects in Europe, Latin America and India. He has been committed to many educational initiatives that help bring classical music to young children including all the music performance programs initiated by the University of Seville, which in time will provide for local talent to flourish at internationally recognized standards. http://www.socialmusicalproject.blogspot.com.es/
Mr. Lusardi Girelli has more tan 15 years conducting choirs and orchestras around the world, his enthusiasm, leadership and passion for music has taken him to several successful projects which has earned him commended and esteem of the local and international press.
Conductor of the Seville Chamber Choir and Orchestra since March 2010, group with which he has toured internationally and that has specialized in J.S. Bach repertoire performing more than 40 cantantas, oratorios, masses, and in 2014 the St. Matthew Passion. He is nowadays in charge of the presidency of the FESECO (Choir Federation of Seville) up to December 2014.
He studied Orchestra conduction in Buenos Aires at the UCA University and Choir Conduction in the Manuel Castillo Conservatory of Seville, Spain. Mr Lusardi Girelli studied Theology and Philosophy at the Universidad del Salvador (US) and Oriental Philosophies, Yoga and Meditation in Argentina, Europe and India.
Present day he is Co-director in the “Seville Symphony Orchestra Hispalense” (Spain) and Second Conductor at the Seville University Choir. Co-Founder-Conductor of the Camerata CHPIF Chamber Orchestra of India. Nowadays he is lecturing professor and founder of the Goa University Choir (2013);
Currently he has the Anthony Gonsalves Chair as Visitor Professor at the Goa University in India. Nowadays he works at the University of Seville where he teaches and manages International cooperation programs on Art-Music and Education.