Founded in post-World War II Germany, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra (SCO) has taken upon itself the task of being the ambassador of the new Germany.
“We were the first Western orchestra to play in India back in 1956,” recalls Max Wagner, SCO’s managing director. This evening, the orchestra will perform for the fourth time in three years, at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Nariman Point.
Tomorrow, they will collaborate with seven members of the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) and play Mozart’s celebrated Eine kleine Nachtmusik, informally referred to as A Little Night Music, and Holberg Suite by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
The SCO will then embark on a multi-city Indian tour with SOI to Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai. Probe Wagner on whether India’s a viable market for Western classical music and he responds, "The market isn’t big, but there’s an audience all the same. More importantly, I think it’s growing and that makes all the difference.
According to Wagner, culture is the best instrument for an exchange of information and communication between countries. "It’s in our history. For example, we were the first Western orchestra to play in Nepal in 2010. We like exploring places. We’ve played in China, Japan and South America too. Also, it’s easy to travel and do spontaneous things because the SCO comprises just 17 members," Wagner says, adding that he would love to play in England and Australia sometime soon.
With so many trips to India, has the SCO thought of dabbling with Indian classical music? "We have many composers who write for us. Some of them are Indian too, but no, we haven’t thought of doing anything like that yet," says concert master Wolfgeng Kussmaul, adding, "It’s always interesting to work with foreign musicians and we love mixing with different cultures. Of course, we always have to practise and find a way to make the same music."
SCO will perform at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA on December 1 and 2, 7 pm onwards. Tickets cost Rs 400, 600 and 800.