India's Amjad Ali Khan, Singapore Chinese Orchestra come together to weave a rich tapestry of music

Singapore’s bicentennial year has been a celebration of its commitment to its multicultural and multi-ethnic identity. In keeping with that spirit, Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore, will be witness to the coming together of Indian and Singapore-Chinese culture in a concert on January 23. 

Confluence, presented by the Indian High Commission in Singapore, will feature the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) and the legendary Indian classical musician Amjad Ali Khan, converging to weave together a rich tapestry of music. The sarod maestro will be joined by his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash for the concert.

Legendary Indian classical musician Amjad Ali Khan, will be joined by his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash for the concert with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Photo Courtesy: Indian High Commission, Singapore
Legendary Indian classical musician Amjad Ali Khan, will be joined by his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash for the concert with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Photo Courtesy: Indian High Commission, Singapore

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, former Prime Minister of Singapore, will be the Guest of Honour for the evening.

Confluence is the title of the composition chosen by SCO from its own repertoire, while Amjad Ali Khan has composed a special piece, titled Samaagam - the Hindi word for confluence. 

Born in 1945, maestro Amjad Ali Khan is the sixth-generation sarod player in his family, which is credited with the evolution of the modern version of the instrument and its popularity. Sarod, which means “melody”, is a 17 to 25 string fretless instrument and among the most popular for North Indian classical music.  

A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Amjad Ali Khan has performed solo and with symphony orchestras and jazz musicians in India and around the world, including at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Apart from the Padma Vibhushan (India’s second-highest civilian honour), which he was given in 2001, he also received the Padma Shri in 1975 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991  He is also the recipient of other prestigious awards like the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Tansen Award, UNESCO Award, UNICEF National Ambassadorship, and the International Music Forum Award, among others.  

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), inaugurated in 1997, is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra. SCO, made up of more than 80 musicians, occupies the Singapore Conference Hall, which is a national monument. 

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra is 22 years old and is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra. Its made up of more than 80 musicians. Photo Courtesy: Indian High Comm
The Singapore Chinese Orchestra is 22 years old and is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra. Its made up of more than 80 musicians. Photo Courtesy: Indian High Commission, Singapore 

With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as its patron, SCO takes on the twin role of preserving traditional arts and culture and establishing its unique identity through the incorporation of Southeast Asian cultural elements in its music. SCO has toured various countries and cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Nanjing, Suzhou, Macau, Hungary and England. 

The collaboration between Amjad Ali Khan and the SCO at the concert is a representation of the coming together of two of the oldest cultures in the world - Chinese and Indian. With both cultures possessing a rich and long heritage, particularly in the field of music, Confluence promises a vibrant celebration of unity in diversity. 

Author
Lakshmy Iyer
Lakshmy Iyer – Senior Correspondent, ASEAN & Entertainment

Lakshmy has been contributing regularly as a freelance writer since 2012. Her writing has been an amalgamation of the language, literature and rich cultural experiences of India as well as South East Asia. An Instructional Designer by profession she is passionate about lifelong learning. Art is her medium of reflection. She participates in art exhibitions thus contributing to the local art scene and using this platform, supports social causes in Singapore as well.

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