The year-long festival, India-UK Year of Culture, came to an end with its final major event in the UK on Tuesday, 28th November with Bharat Symphony, a grand musical concert at the Barbican Centre. The event was flagged off by Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highways. The event was preceded by a reception hosted by the High Commissioner of India, Mr. YK Sinha, and Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, at the venue. Mr. Gadkari, Mr. Sinha, and Mr. Bowman addressed the gathering of artists, experts and cultural enthusiasts from the world of culture in the UK.
The High Commission of India, Ministry of Culture, TeamWork Arts and Lord Mayor of London brought to London this musical concerto-grosso celebrating 70 momentous years of India’s Independence, a new orchestral work by award-winning violinist L. Subramaniam.
The concert highlighted the tapestry of Indian culture in four movements, symbolizing the four major periods of Indian heritage – the Prehistoric Vedic period, the Mughal period, the British period and finally, the post-Independence modern period. It began with a sample of Indian classical music, performed by Dr. Subramaniam, along with Tanmoy Bose on Tabla, and Dhulipala Srirama Murthy on Mridangam, and then moved on to the main symphony. As explained by Dr. Subramaniam himself, the concert incorporated melodic chants from Rigveda, 5000-year-old sacred Sanskrit texts and Hindustani instruments, with the fourth movement symbolising the post-independence period, tracing global influences over the last 70 years.
In the first movement, there were Slokas mirroring the Vedas, later the chants increased and last few sections featured influences of Gandhian thought, such as the concept of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (Truth, Honesty) and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The World is One Family) with ideas of diversity and plurality all of which will were sung by Kavita Krishnamurti, one of India’s most celebrated vocalists, along with the London Voices community choir. The composition was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and it was conducted by the Josep Vicent, the Orchestra Conductor for LSO.
The ‘Bharat Symphony’ was commissioned by The City of Chicago to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.