Mumbai has offered so much to its inhabitants over the years. We have the cinemas, the theatres, the growing comedy circuit, and global culinary experiences to match metros around the world.
However, we also have a big appetite and are always looking for more. Amongst all the options out there, for me the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) is one experience that warrants the title of ‘The most unique experience in town.’ Here are 5 reasons why.
One: International experience in the city
The goose bumps hit you right at the start of the 5th Symphony in C minor by Beethoven. When you close your eyes and just listen, you are overcome by a rush of emotions - Joy, grief, triumph, failure, love, and heartbreak, all at once. Your body is elevated to a state you never felt before.
The SOI is music at an international standard that no one else in the country has been able to achieve. It’s music that will leave you spell bound, and wanting more.
Two: World-renowned artists
The SOI has worked with world renowned conductors such as Martyn Brabbins, Carlo Rizzi, Augustin Dumay, Yuri Simonov, Charles Dutoit, Lior Shambadal, Adrian Leaper, Karl Jenkins, amongst others. The Mumbai audience has been fortunate to witness musicians like Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Simon O’Neill, Alina Ibragimova, Barry Douglas, Angel Blue, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck, Tamás Vásáry, and Lena Neudauer.
For 25 seasons, the SOI has been bringing these distinguished artists to the NCPA, to showcase their musical magic. If you have not heard them perform as yet, you are truly missing out.
Three: Sneak peak into western classical music
Unknown to most, western classical music is prevalent in our daily lives. Movies such as Black Swan, Pretty Woman, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, and Eyes Wide Shut are just some of the examples that leveraged the brilliance of western classical seamlessly into their narratives.
Once you have an understanding of the music you will begin to find the influence of western classical in our own Bollywood songs and realise how we are naturally wired to appreciate this art form.
Four: History and legacy
Inaugurated back in 1969, the National Centre for the Performing Arts has since been the cultural hub of the country. From musical performances of all genres to plays written by geniuses in the theatre world, the NCPA has hosted and continues to host it all. The brainchild of Dr. Jamshed Bhabha, it stands tall and vast as an all-encompassing, world-class performing centre.
A member organisation of the International Music Council, the NCPA is also home to a the prestigious school for music where children who aspire to be professional musicians train on a daily basis.
In 2006, the NCPA established the Symphony Orchestra of India, India’s first and only professional orchestra, founded by NCPA Chairman, Khushroo N. Suntook and violin virtuoso Marat Bisengaliev.The orchestra has now performed at the centre for 12 years and is coming back for its 25th season this autumn. It has also toured around the world, performing at various shows and for multiple causes.
The heritage and history that come by simply attending a performance of the Symphony Orchestra is enough to take you there. Get to know more about this historic structure and the culture it supports on http://ncpamumbai.com/about
Five: Social Goodness
Let’s face it, an appreciation of the art does put you in a separate league. While your friends are bragging about the next movie, here you are talking about western classical and the experience of it in its purest form. While they rave about the performances of cinema actors, you speak about the Zane Dalal and all the other superheroes that you had a chance to see live in one of the most prestigious cultural institutes of the world.
It’s solid social currency, and it’s time you started collecting.