Commonwealth Greater Birmingham

Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce Contact: Jamila Davis T: 0121 607 1826

UK debut: The Symphony Orchestra of India

Commonwealth Chamber Patron

First annual dinner

planned for GBCCC The Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce (GBCCC) is to hold its first annual dinner. The exclusive GBCCC members-only

event will take place on 18 March at Aston University, also the event’s main sponsor. The event is expected to attract more

than 100 people and will reflect on the fledgling Chamber’s achievements since its inception last year. The event will also feature keynote speeches from vice-chancellor of Aston University, Alex Cameron (pictured above right), and Harriett Baldwin, MP (pictured above left) for West Worcestershire and joint Minister of State at the Foreign Office and Department for International Development. Ms Baldwin has held a number of roles

within Government, including the prime minister’s trade envoy to Russia, assistant government whip and lord commissioner to HM Treasury. President GBCCC Keith Stokes-Smith

said: “Our first 12 months has been against a background of business uncertainty, but this has not deterred us. “Far from it, it has been an even greater

motivator to encourage business to look at markets beyond the European Union so as to both spread any risk and be ahead of other nations in benefiting from the obvious trade and service sector opportunities which exist in many of our Commonwealth partners. “Over the months we have arranged for

and participated in arranging for representatives from a number of Commonwealth nations, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Malta and Botswana, to present to members bi-lateral trading opportunities between our two countries. “It was clear from some of these

presentations, backed up by independent research, that our choice of countries selected was well founded and that indeed, some of them offered significant potential, ‘fast lanes to growth’ for businesses seeking to drive export growth.”

40 CHAMBERLINK March 2019

India’s orchestra hits all of the right notes

The first and only fully professional orchestra in India made its debut in the UK at an event supported by the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce (GBCCC). The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI)

performed a concert at Symphony Hall Birmingham last month, before going on to play five other dates. The orchestra was conducted by Zane Dalal,

and performed various works, one of which featured Zakir Hussain on tabla. Despite the tabla being an instrument from the Indian sub- continent, the SOI’s focus is on western classical music, which has a growing audience in India. Since its foundation in 2006, the SOI has been

resident at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The SOI has performed with a long list of

distinguished guest conductors and soloists, and its overseas credits include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Moscow, performances in Muscat and Abu Dhabi, and a European debut tour in January 2016 including concerts at the Tonhalle Zurich and Geneva’s Victoria Hall. It is also a regular visitor to venues throughout India. Zane Dalal, who joined the SOI as resident

conductor in 2007, said the orchestra’s early years coincided with the global financial crisis. He added that the decision to work for two

seasons a year and attract a regular force of string players from Kazakhstan and other post- Soviet states, set strong foundations that ensured the SOI’s initial survival and subsequent development. He said: “In India we had to build those

foundations from scratch. The challenge and rewards of that are among the most satisfying things to look back on now. We never compromised on the quality of our work.

Conductor: Zane Dalal “Having string players trained in the Russian

conservatoire tradition and European woodwinds has allowed us to develop the orchestra’s core and cultivate its finesse of sound and ensemble. The reviews of our trip to Switzerland in 2016 showed the artistic level which the Symphony Orchestra of India.” Although at first there were few local players,

the SOI now employs ten full-time Indian musicians and recruits others as required from a growing pool of native talent. GBCCC president Keith Stokes-Smith said:

“The orchestra features a growing number of Indian players, representing the finest home- grown talent, which provides a solid foundation for the future of orchestral playing in the country. “The orchestra places great emphasis on

education and many of the musicians are also teachers, working to develop the musical potential amongst young people in India.”

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