London Philharmonic brings music to slums of Mumbai

Posted on: May 14, 2010

In Wednesday’s (5/12) Times (London), Igor Toronyi-Lalic writes, “For ten days last month the adventurous, alchemising offshoot of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Renga Ensemble, could be found wheeling and lugging their Western instruments through the slums of Mumbai and gardens of Bangalore, past the goaty dogs and sleepy cows, to the schools and concert halls of India’s cities where, the LPO hopes, the musical foundations for a classical revolution might be laid. It’s a tall order. … Between the deep traditions of Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, Rajasthani folk music and the Bollywood scene, there is more than enough music to keep Indians occupied. … The Renga Ensemble, an experimental group made up of a revolving cast of LPO members, was set up by the conductor Scott Stroman two decades ago specifically to forge these cross-cultural collaborations. … The LPO are sensitive not to have any whiff of colonialism about the project. ‘It’s certainly not in any sense imperialist,’ Tim Walker, the LPO chief executive officer, insists. ‘We’re not trying to say our culture is better than theirs. It’s just a matter of saying: “This is what we do; if you’re interested, listen or join in.” ’ ”

Posted May 14, 2010