South Asian musicians present Beethoven for flood-hit Pakistan

February 1st, 2011 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Feb 1 (IANS) Seven South Asian musicians, led by a Singapore-born Indian conductor, took the stage here to present “Beethoven for the Indus Valley”, a benefit concert for “life and renewal and sustainable development in the aftermath of the 2010 floods in Pakistan”.Presented by Music for Life International Inc. and American Pakistan Foundation at Carnegie Hall here Monday, Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony was organised and led by Singapore-born Indian conductor George Mathew.

Joining him were Sean Panikkar, tenor soloist; Malavika Gopal, violin, Excelsa Quartet; Vivek Jayaraman, violin, Verbier Festival Orchestra; Vivek Kamath, viola, New York Philharmonic; Geeta Nazareth, viola; and Saadi Zain, double bass, the Smooth Spot Orchestra.

Nafis Sadik, former head of the UN Population Fund, the first South Asian to head a major UN agency, introduced the concert.

Beethoven for the Indus Valley was described as an urgent call to the global community to move as swiftly as possible to give the resources and support that the Pakistani people need to rebuild their lives and communities after the devastating floods of 2010. Proceeds will benefit Acumen Fund.

Beethoven for the Indus Valley brought together many of the world’s finest orchestral musicians.

Speaking about the concert, Mathew observed, “Beethoven himself makes a musical statement in the Finale of the Ninth Symphony that goes to the heart of our mission with this concert.”

“Writing in an earlier era of tension between East and West, Beethoven uses the music of the Turkish military, music of the Islamic world, to provide stability and indeed possibility for the German (western) setting of the famous Ode to Joy tune.”

“In that moment, Beethoven seems to become the voice of a whole civilization in that rare moment of embrace of another civilization,” he said.

“In gathering together as a community of musicians, listeners and supporters, we send a message of solidarity and human support to our fellow human beings in Pakistan who have been so hard hit by these devastating floods in addition to whatever financial support we muster,” Mathew said.

Beethoven for the Indus Valley is the fourth in a series of global humanitarian concerts that George Mathew has conceived and presented at Carnegie Hall.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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