New Delhi: In a unique cultural tribute to Kashmir and its people, celebrated Mumbai-born conductor Zubin Mehta will next month perform on the banks of picturesque Dal Lake in Srinagar with one of the oldest orchestras from Germany to convey a “message of hope”.
Mehta will conduct the “Bayerische Staatsorchester” (Bavarian State Orchestra) from Munich, one of the best classical orchestras which has over 100 musicians, at Shalimar Bagh on September 7 in a concert organised by the German Embassy and supported by central and state authorities.
“'Ehsas-e-Kashmir'- Feelings of Kashmir, is a wonderful cultural tribute to Kashmir and Kashmiri people....With the magic power of music, crossing geographical, political and cultural borders, we want to reach the hearts of the Kashmiris with a message of hope and encouragement as situation is challenging and daily life is not easy,” Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India, told reporters.
Terming music as a universal language, he said the concert would be a wonderful cultural tribute to Kashmir and Kashmiri people and would be broadcast live in India and abroad simultaneously.
“It is a purely cultural event and not about politics or state-to-state relations,” he said, adding Kashmiris want to connect with people from outside and such events would help them.
Asked about concerns related to security situation in Kashmir and ban on music by hardliners, the ambassador said said he had spoken with a number of people, including the hardliners, and was hopeful that the concert “would be a success not only for them but also for the Kashmiri people”.
Steiner, when asked about his assessment of situation in Kashmir, said “no doubt over the years there is progress in Kashmir and development is in positive direction and people have also appreciated it.”
Mehta, who is music director for life for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, had himself said last year that playing in Jammu and Kashmir remains a cherished dream.
“I wish one day I could play in Kashmir. I will cancel every appointment to come and do that,” Mehta had said after receiving the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit from the German ambassador in July last year.
The Ambassador today said the members of BSO would be interacting with students of Music Department of Kashmir University.
Santoor maestro and music composer Pandit Bhajan Sopori, who was also present, said that such events would open the cultural vision of the people and the concert would be a landmark in the cultural history of Kashmir.
Bashir Ahmed Bhat, Secretary Jammu and Kashmir Cultural Academy, said that state government was extending all the support needed for the event.
“Two committees, oversight committee and ground level implementation committee, have been formed which are looking into the various aspects of preparations,” he said, adding we are fully prepared to host the event at Shalimar Bagh but if weather doesn't permit then we will shift the venue to convocation centre of Kashmir University.
The ambassador praised the cooperation from Jammu and Kashmir government and Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs.
“State government is getting the Shalimar garden renovated and also taking care of security and others issues,” he said.