CHENNAI: He’s been to India 60 times and still can’t get enough. Gauthier Hermann, a French cellist and director of the Arties Chamber Orchestra, has performed in venues that range from concert halls across prime metros like Chennai, Mumbai and Pune as well as more intimate, prestigious settings like violin maestro L Subramaniam’s home in Bengaluru. In the city over the weekend, we caught up with Gauthier after the group’s performance at The Raintree, Anna Salai.
I got chatting with your wife a little while ago and found out that your daughter’s name is Indiya! How did that happen?
Well, for starters, she’s only three, and has already visited India three times. Her first trip here was when she was nine months. Also, we thought, you just can’t say Indiya (second half of the name like the traditional lamp Diya) without smiling. So Indiya it had to be!
You’ve already been to Mumbai and Pune on this visit. What’s the plan while you are in Chennai? Off stage, I mean...
Well, we are headed to Mahabalipuram with the whole group after our Arties Festival performance at the Alliance Francaise. Also, I’m looking for an elephant for Indiya. Ever since she saw some old pictures of us with an elephant, she’s been eager for a firsthand glimpse. Do you know where I can find one?
Um, Vandalur zoo maybe. (Laughs) If you’re wondering what to do on this trip, have you considered a Margazhi concert?
I wish we were here long enough, but we’ll be back in France when the season begins. However, I have already watched quite a few carnatic performances, Bharathanatyam and Kathak...
And have they ever inspired you with your own shows or arrangements? We’ve heard that on the desi front, you sometimes throw a Bollywood tune into your set list.
Oh yes. We have about 20 songs that we perform quite often when we come to India...On Shanthi Om, Jai Ho, Dhoom. Right now, I’m actually looking for a Tamil song to add to our list.
I would love to hear it. At the moment, between the travelling, shows and your two little daughters, I guess everything about this trip is pretty back to back. What would you do here in India if you had some more time?
REST. (Laughs) Unfortunately, that’s not on the itinerary.