This Sunday August 23, the Bombay Chamber Orchestra (BCO) will perform Joachin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez at the NCPA’s Tata Theatre. The orchestra will be conducted by visiting Maestro Santiago Lusardi Girelli. The guitarist for the Rodrigo concerto is Ignacio Lusardi Monteverde.
Though the BCO performs regularly with visiting international soloists, collaborations with guitarists are very rare. The last time this happened was in the early ’90s when Paul Gailbraith had come to Mumbai. “At that time, our own Indian guitarist, Shiv Mathur, had just come back from Europe had performed with us as well,” says Jini Dinshaw who founded the orchestra in 1962. “For this concert, the conductor [Santiago Lusardi] approached us and asked us whether we could do this programme. That’s how it materialised,” she said.
“I’ve been coming to India for the last three years because I have a chair for Western Music in Goa. The University of Goa has a resident research professor for music, the Anthony Gonsalves Chair. For the rest of the year I work at the University of Seville in Spain. I was in Bombay, making some collaboration with musicians here. I knew Alaric Diniz, who plays the clarinet and sometimes conducts the orchestra. We started talking about possibilities,” says Santiago Lusardi.
Santiago thought of different ideas for the concert programme and sent them a few options. The one they are playing is Spanish and Latin-American and South-American. It has the Concierto de Aranjuez from Spain as well as a piece by Manuel de Falla, and also music by the Brazillian Villa Lobos, Arturo Márquez from Mexico, and the Argentinian Astor Piazzolla.
“What is different about this programme is the composition style. We, as an orchestra, are much more interested in classical composers of western music. A complete programme of Spanish and Argentinan work is not easy for us. To play with a guitarist is pretty much the same for us as playing with a cellist or a viola player, that process of accompanying a soloist doesn’t change. It’s not technically difficult music, but very very complicated rhythms,” says Ms Dinshaw. Incidently, this amateur orchestra has members as young as 12 and 13 who play the first violin. Ms Dinshaw, at 86 is the oldest.
“The programme is quite interesting for them. The BCO is used to playing more Haydn and Mozart. This is mostly 20th century music and even though it isn’t all contemporary or modern music, some are nationalistic pieces, some are impressionist. Bachianas Brasileiras, by Villa Lobos is inspired by Bach’s Musical Offering mixed with some Brazilian rhythms and styles. Villa Lobos used inspiration from tribes of the Amazonian rain forest, birds and insects. It’s very strange music,” says Santiago.
While the orchestra has been preparing for the concert since mid July, they have only one week of rehearsal with Ignatio.
Ignatio is primarily a flamenco guitarist based in London. He also happens to be the brother of the conductor. “The work is very intense and focussed on the details. I personally enjoy working with all these dedicated musicians to get an exciting musical result. The kindness and love for the work is something that floats in the air and everybody is giving the best they have,” he said.
Before travelling to Mumbai, Ignatio was in Goa where he gave a concert at the Art Chamber Gallery about 10 days ago. “I performed a version of Aranjuez Concerto for two guitars and percussion and also some flamenco pieces,” he said. Ignatio should be back next year for a music festival in Old Goa. “We expect the BCO to come as well,” says Santiago, “and maybe we’ll repeat the Aranjuez programme.”
Santiago Lusardi Girelli, an Italian-Argentinian conductor, began his studies in music and philosophy. Presently, he is an Orchestra and Choir conductor, artist, composer and scholar of theological and philosophical traditions of the East and West. He is co-director of the “Seville Symphony Orchestra Hispalense” (Spain) and second conductor at the Seville University Choir. He is also the founder and conductor of the Seville Chamber Choir and Orchestra, formed in March 2010.
Ignacio Lusardi Monteverdi is an accomplished guitarist who specialises in Spanish flamenco guitar, touring internationally with various world music artists. Ignacio is also an experienced sound engineer having recorded over 100 productions of various musical genres in his studios in Buenos Aires and London. In 2013 Ignacio also completed a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting.
The Bombay Chamber Orchestra Society was founded in 1962 by Jini Dinshaw as an educational trust, primarily to offer free coaching to the young musical talent of the city in the techniques of orchestral playing and its aim is, not only to offer free music education, but also to create an environment and incentive to encourage young talent to continue to work at the instruments of their choice. Several young students who made their performing debuts with the orchestra have established themselves in successful careers as professional musicians throughout the world.
Since its formation in 1962, the Bombay Chamber Orchestra (BCO) has regaled Mumbai audiences with regular performances of a variety of works from the vast classical repertoire. The orchestra is listed in several international directories of orchestras. It performs 5-6 concerts a year in Mumbai, often in collaboration with international guest conductors and soloists, and has also performed in Sri Lanka and several other cities in India. The BCO has the distinction of being the only symphony orchestra in India which performs regularly with a concert standard of performance. The orchestra’s concerts have been received with acclaim from both, audiences and critics, wherever it has performed. Visiting musicians are only too happy to work with the BCO and the Society regularly receives requests from overseas musicians and conductors to come to India and perform with the orchestra. Some of the eminent musicians and musical companies who have performed with the orchestra include: pianists Walter Gieseking, Kendall Taylor and Piers Lane; violinists Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Nigel Kennedy, Christina Edinger, Bijan Khadem Missagh and Leon Spierer; the Verdehr Trio, the Sadlers Wells Ballet Company and the Viennese Light Operatic Company.
Tickets to the concert available on Bookmyshow.