The world renowned London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Renga Ensemble collaborates with Indian musicians for a Carnatic jazz tour of India. Director Matthew Todd reveals the collective’s plans ahead of their performance at in the Capital on April 7.
Orchestration isn’t new to the Indian music scene. Several Carnatic musicians and film composers have made ample use of this genre. What are you expecting from the Indian audience?
The programme that we’re bringing to India is a very unusual mix of Carnatic music, jazz and Western classical, so I’m hoping that whilst they may not have experienced anything quite like it, we will have an inquisitive audience willing to hear something unique. All of the known ingredients from Indian and Western traditions will be present, but in a different combination.
Several Indian musicians have performed at the Royal Festival Hall. Did the idea to feature Carnatic musicians originate after meeting with a few at the Hall?
The idea to work with the Indian musicians came from a trip to India made by the Renga Ensemble’s Music Director, Scott Stroman, who sang with the Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP4). He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to put them with the LPO’s Renga Ensemble. We invited KCP4 to London last year and gave an exhilerating performance. In India we will be able to reverse this performance.
LPO is currently in its 77th year and multiple generations of musicians have performed in it. How different is the new crop from its yesteryear counterpart?
The LPO has a very unique character and style, handed down over generations. The musicians own the Orchestra themselves and therefore undertake their own recruitment, which guarantees this world class line of succession.
LPO has worked on soundtracks of several Hollywood productions. Any new projects?
We will soon perform the score of Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers, live to the film at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The film is shown on an enormous screen, with the music soundtrack stripped away and played live, adding a wonderful dimension. We are also working with Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli.
LPO has covered bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc. Which new collectives excite the members?
We seem to be working a lot with Indian musicians right now — obviously with KCP4 whilst in India, but in London with AR Rahman, performing a concert of his compositions and also with Ravi Shankar in July, when we perform the world premiere of his new symphony.
The event is enabled by Aviva as their international touring partner and Hindustan Times as the supporting partner. For tickets, call 011-26011430/21/32