In 1964, music lovers in city got a rare opportunity to see one of the best-known orchestras in the world, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), perform during its World Tour.
Nearly half a century later, the LSO is back to delight a new generation of Western classical music enthusiasts in the city, with two concerts coming up at the NCPA this weekend.
“Over the years, the LSO has developed a close relationship with Indian musicians such as Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar maestro), and the sense of mutual respect between the two musical traditions is extremely strong,” said Kathryn McDowell, the managing director of the orchestra, who is confident that Mumbai will greet them with enthusiasm.
Founded in 1904 as the first self-governing orchestra in Britain, the LSO has survived rough times like the two World Wars (it also narrowly missed sailing on the Titanic in 1912), to build its reputation as a leading orchestra for both traditional concert performances as well as recording background scores for movies.
Today, it boasts of over a hundred musicians and a string of distinguished conductors, including Sir Colin Davis and Kristjan Järvi who will conduct the Mumbai concerts.
“It takes many years to gradually build an orchestra,” said McDowell, who advises Mumbai’s amateur and fairly young orchestras to be creative in their choice of repertoire. He also said, “It’s important to develop the interest of the widest possible audience.”
For its concerts this weekend, LSO will perform, among others, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.