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News |  02 May 2016 20:32 |  By RnMTeam

A debut classical affair: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande to enthral in India

Not a lot of bells would ring when you hear the name 'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande', but be assured, the group specializing in French and Swiss orchestra would leave no stone unturned to change that during its first Indian visit, two years before it celebrates 100 years of its existence.

With a strength of 112 professional instrumentalists, Grammy award winning virtuoso Osmo Vanska prepares to carry the baton of classical music and the Orchestre's reputation for a two-day performance (4 & 5 May) at the Jamshed Bhaba Theatre. The renowned theatre seems to be the ideal pick for a concert of grand scale demanding sonic arrangements that the state-of-the-art stagecraft offers.

Two years after earning the Grammy with the Minnesota Orchestra for Sibelius' Symphonies No. 1 and 4, 63-year-old Osmo Vanska continues to march on his mission to acquire more, at least on the musical front. "Every concert and recording project provides motivation for me.  My goal is to reach the highest quality of music making and to share my emotions about every piece with the listener," replied Vanska, the 2005 'Conductor of the Year' for Musical America. The accolades are aplenty, and the regrets remain scarce, however, Vanska holds the association with 'Orchestre de La Suisse Romande' as one of his most exciting contributions to the form of musical story-telling.

Vanska pointed out the factor that manages to make orchestral or classical arrangements still relevant to the evolving generations. "Composers have written - and are still writing – music.  The best of those works are going to be performed again and again because people who have been touched by good music would like to play and listen to them again. It’s a simple model but I think that it still works. Of course, we need to find new ways to plan the programs and to market the concerts for the new generations," said the former Chief Conductor at BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Finland, orchestra (or the love for it) took Vanska to the places he only dreamt of as a child (when he picked up a clarinet), but the last season's trip to Cuba surely counts as once-in-a-lifetime experience, as Vanska puts it. "It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The Minnesota Orchestra was the first of the major orchestras to visit Cuba since President Obama and Raul Castro lightened restrictions between the two countries. Therefore, the trip wasn’t only about art but had some political importance as well. Our experience with two sold-out concerts was amazing, and the audience welcomed us warmly with open arms! The moment when we begin the second concert with both the national anthems of the US and Cuba was incredibly special: picture a US orchestra playing in Havana on a live broadcast to Cuba, USA and Europe and performing those two anthems for the first time in about 60 years. It was a very emotional experience for the audience and us as well," recalled Vanska.

With works of Debussy, Ravel, Brahms and Prokofiev, the Orchestre indeed celebrates the French and Swiss classical musical in the depths of it, and the addition of French violin virtuoso Renoud Capuçon acts as the icing on the cake.

With an impressive list of associations with reputed orchestras like London Symohony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic orchestras, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Wiener, Symphoniker and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish conductor considers Ernest Ansermet - Orchestre de la Suisse Romande's music director for the first 50 years - as his biggest influence. For someone whose life revolved around Orchestras and classical music, Vanska also believes exposure to other sources and genres of music do not have to be sidelined in order for classical's continued relevancy. "I think that it’s important for them to hear not only the old master pieces but music of the living composers including music for movies, computer games etc.," added Vanska.