BENGALURU: In town for the music concert, A Grand Overture, American musician Avery Waite says he considers orchestra a microcosm of society. He mixes folk and Western classical music, and looks forward to collaborations and learning. “I have always been drawn to India’s powerfully unique history and culture. I have arranged folk songs from many parts of the world for orchestra and hope to adapt Indian folk songs in the future. I have also performed several songs by Rabindranath Tagore during my visits to Kolkata. The audience loves listening to Rabindra Sangeet performed on the cello,” he says.
Organised by Bangalore School of Music’s Chamber Orchestra, A Grand Overture will feature carefully-curated selection of pieces by classical masters like Gluck, Grieg and Vivaldi as well as contemporary favourites, with solos mainly by Waite and French-origin violist, music educator and art advocate, Kim Mai Nguyen.
Waite is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory, USA. He is also the recipient of a 2016-2017 Fulbright grant to assist and develop music programmes and youth orchestras all over India. On his second visit to Bengaluru, he says the country has a tremendous future in Western classical music. “Also, the warmth, generosity and sincere passion of people in Bengaluru for what they do inspires me to keep returning here. This time, at BSM, our concert will be a mix of different styles of music from the Baroque period to the contemporary era. It will also feature solo and duo performances with orchestra, as well as an original rendition of a beautiful South African folk song that I arranged specifically for this concert,” he says.
Nguyen is a Juilliard-trained violist and music educator based in Portland, Oregon. As an artiste involved in world citizenship, she has performed as a soloist and also taught in Afghanistan, Belize, Vietnam and other countries. “Cultural exchange is a powerful tool for communication across all kinds of social, economic and religious divides, which is why music is often referred to as a universal language. Like any other country, I feel India has huge potential for meaningful exchange through art and culture festivals like this,” Nguyen says, adding that her favourite Indian instrumentalist is Anoushka Shankar, sitar player, composer and daughter of Ravi Shankar. “I like how she combines tradition with contemporary styles through her composition.”
A Grand Overture will be held on July 12, 7.15pm at Shangri-La Hotel, Palace Road. Entry to the concert is by invitation only.