BENGALURU: Picture this: A conductor steps on stage but instead of a written score, he uses a series of signs to communicate and improvise with members of the orchestra. This is what lies in store for Bengalureans this Friday at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, where members of Israeli orchestra Castle in Time will rely on ‘soundpainting’. “This is what makes our orchestra unique,” says Matan Daskal, the co-founder, composer and conductor of the orchestra, as he explains, “Soundpainting is a multi-disciplinary sign language that allows a conductor to communicate live with his musicians without needing a written score.”
“Think of it like a live food counter, where you don’t plan anything beforehand. So instead of looking at a score musicians look at their conductor for cues,” adds MR Jagadeesh, director, operations, and head of the jazz and contemporary department at The Bangalore School of Music. The concert, which is in collaboration with the Consulate General of Israel in Bengaluru, is a part of the Bangalore School of Music’s East West Music and Dance Encounter 2020.
As part of this, members of Castle in Time will also perform with faculty and students of the city music school, forming an orchestra of around 20 members from both countries. “The first 25 minutes will be soundpainting by us and then we will perform with the Bengaluru musicians, where we will all perform a written score by us, which incidentally is the first one we composed,” says Daskal, who adds that the 70-minute composition will be brought down to 35 minutes.
While Castle in Time has 23 musicians in total, including Daskal’s brother and mother, only seven will be performing in the city this Friday. The range of instruments they usually play includes flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, trombone, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, violin, cello and double bass, with Daskal saying not many contemporary orchestras like this existing in Israel when they came into existence in 2015. And there’s nothing but love between all the members of the orchestra, with CEO and co-founder Tal Donner Rozenrot saying, “It’s not like a rock band so there are no ego clashes. Everyone is like one big happy family.”
Interestingly, the mixed group of musicians did not get to practise together until a few days before their concert. “So bringing out artistic nuances could be a challenge,” says Daskal, adding that this would be their first international orchestra collaboration. But the collaboration is more than just musicians coming together, insists Jagadeesh, who adds, “It’s also an integration of cultures, with so much to learn from each other.”
Agree Dana Kursh, Consul General of Israel to South India, and Ariel Seidman, Deputy Consul General of Israel to South India, who say, “A collaboration between two countries is always great. A common thread that goes through every sphere of the relationship that India and Israel share is that we both do things innovatively, without ignoring our heritage. We find new ways of manipulating them to fit the modern day and this is clear in the work these musicians are doing together.”