Music gets a Western slant

For two years, piano competition and festival Con Brio has been giving several young Indian musicians a platform to learn and perform alongside international pianists. Started by pianist Parvesh Java (right), in association with music store Furtado’s, the third edition of Con Brio will feature performances for lovers of pure Western Classical and those who prefer diverse music.

Flautist Shirish Malhotra (seen here with pianist Mark Troop) will be one of the local artists performing at Con Brio this year

The festival began on July 8 with a solo performance by Canadian pianist Paul Stewart. On July 13, Java has planned a tribute to American pianist John Cage on his birth centenary, “Cage and his works were inspired by Eastern philosophy. So, as a tribute, we will showcase music from East Russia, Indonesia and pieces by Indian composer Vanraj Bhatia.”

Java feels more than the British, the Portuguese played an integral part in bringing Western music to India; Goan music is a great example of this. Goan soprano Patricia Rozario will perform Mandos (Goan folk songs sung in Konkani) along with other artists from the city. Another interesting piece will be Kingurivali (which means a toy violin seller), a song in Hindi. Java has also commissioned Korean composer Kyong Mee Choi to compose a piece for Rozario — Words of Tagore.

Saturday will witness semi final performances in the piano competition where seven young pianists selected by Java and pianist Karl Lutchmayer from across the country will compete for the finals with the chance to win an Essex Upright piano worth over Rs 5,30,000.

On the same day, another tribute performance for French composer Claude Debussy’s 150th anniversary will take place. Chelsea De Souza and Neville Bharucha, winners of previous two competitions will perform some of Debussy’s famous pieces such as Petite Suite. For the finale, Java will perform Bach’s famous Four Pianos, along with four pianists and a full orchestra.

“Education is an important part of this event; apart from workshops, six young players were selected for a camp in Alibag that includes a full-day workshop with Paul and Mark,” adds Java.

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