The Mehli Mehta Music Foundation recently collaborated with the Barcelona Palau de la Música Choir School for a period of five weeks during which six choir directors from the Palau trained children from ages 5-18.
Over 300 children from choirs of five Mumbai schools will take the stage at NCPA tomorrow to sing over 15 songs in different languages.
Says Barcelona Palau’s Gemma Nadal, “In an effort to take our music school around the world, we approached one of our trustees, Zubin Mehta, offering to teach at his foundation, since he is one of the world’s best known conductors. Fortunately, he accepted.”
Three teachers from the Palau came down in January and went to different schools in the city to select children. Three hundred and sixty children, divided into three groups — under 10, 10-14 and 14-18 — were chosen and were trained from June. Nadal has words of high praise for the children. “The kids were highly motivated, quick learners and happy to receive the training,” Nadal says. “We taught them songs in languages like German and Brazilian and they picked them up quite well.”
While the three different groups will each present four songs separately, all the 360 children will take the stage to sing three songs together, one of which will be a Hindi song. “I think we learnt more Hindi from them during the song, than we taught them,” Nadal laughs. “I’ll let the name of the Hindi song we’ve chosen be a surprise.”
In memory of The Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, established by Mehli Mehta’s son, Zubin Mehta, in the honour of the maestro who founded The Bombay Symphony Orchestra and The Bombay String Quartet, is taking forward the collaborations.
Says the Foundation’s Kamal Taraporewala, “We hope that the next time around, the teachers can come for a longer period of time. In fact, this time, not only did our students take the training, but our teachers did too.” Nadal is optimistic also, “During this project, not only did we teach Western music, we picked up a few things about Indian music too.
We hope teachers from here can come to Barcelona to teach us Indian classical soon.”