Lancaster Symphony Orchestra presents: From Bollywood to Concerto

Lancaster Symphony Orchestra presents: From Bollywood to Concerto

12938580683_3a6e984407From Bollywood to Concerto is the result of a decade old friendship between LSO Music Director Stephen Gunzenhauser and legendary Indian Composer L. Subramaniam. Typically, works of this caliber are commissioned by an orchestra and premiered in major cities. However, due to Subramaniam’s connection to Lancaster, the world premiere of his new work will be held locally at the Fulton Opera House. Concertgoers will experience the captivating sound of a violin concerto and symphonic and vocal poems by L. Subramaniam, one of the world’s greatest living Indian composers.  Kavita Krishnamurthi Subramaniam, a key voice in modern day Bollywood movie-making, debuts her husband’s vocal works. The International Premiere of his new work Jo Tum takes place February 20 and February 21.

Optional Indian food tastings will be available to ticketholders pre-concert and during intermission in the Fulton lobby.  Don’t miss this memorable Indian cultural experience!

February 20-21, 2016
Saturday 3pm and 8pm, Sunday 7:30pm
Fulton Opera House


L. Subramaniam, India’s violin icon, was honored with the title “Emperor of the Violin” at a very young age. Subramaniam has performed and recorded South Indian Classical Music, Western Classical Music, both orchestral and non-orchestral. He has composed for and conducted major orchestras, scored for films, collaborated with a wide range of musicians, from different music genres including jazz, occidental, jugalbandis with North Indian musicians, world music and global fusion. He has composed music for films and was the featured soloist for Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” and “Cotton Mary” of Merchant—Ivory Productions. Subramaniam has recorded with people like Yehudi Menuhin, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Corky Siegel and Maynard Ferguson. He is the founder/director of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, the biggest global music festival in India. Over the years he has written and created works for The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta, The Kirov Ballet, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Berlin Opera. He has received several awards and honors, including the coveted Padma Bhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for “The Most Creative Artist” from the President of India.

Born in Delhi, Kavita Krishnamurthi Subramaniam began her vocal training at a very young age. Her incredible talent was evident by age eight when she won her first gold medal at a Music Competition. Kavita obtained an Honors Degree in Economics at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. She began her recording career in 1971. Since then, Kavita has sung for many films like Mr. India, Karma, Saudagar, Chaalbaaz, 1942—A Love Story, The Rising, etc. Many of her songs have gone platinum. Her mellifluous voice, wide range and, versatility has put her in a unique place among singers. Kavita has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, London; The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.; Madison Square Gardens, The Lincoln Center, New York; among others. Kavita has sung with orchestras as a soloist and has collaborated with artists from the Jazz, Popular Classical fields and Indi-Pop. Prestigious awards include the coveted “Padmashree” from the President of India and three consecutive Film Fare awards. Kavita has sung as a soloist with orchestras including the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra.

Ambi Subramaniam gave his first performance at the age of seven and since then has performed in many prestigious venues around the world. He has received the Ritz Icon of the Year Award, the Rotary Youth Award, two GiMAs (Global Indian Music Award for Best Fusion Album and Best Carnatic Instrumental Album) and Big Indian Music Award (for Best Carnatic Album). Hailed as “the new king of Indian classical violin”, Ambi regularly plays duet violin concerts with Dr. L. Subramaniam and solo concerts. Ambi has been invited to perform at TEDx events to expose new audiences to Carnatic music. As a fusion performer, he has formed a band called SubraMania with his sister Bindu. Ambi has performed extensively with his family (father Dr. L. Subramaniam, mother Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, sister Bindu Subramaniam) and collaborated with Larry Coryell, Ernie Watts, Corky Siegel and Shankar Mahadevan.

Mahesh Krishnamurthy started learning Mridangam (Indian drum) at the age of seven under Thattha Mangalam Chandra Sekhar Menon at Palghat, Kerala. He then studied under Shekaripuram Ramakrishnan at Palghat. He continued his Mridangam training in Mumbai under the guidance of the eminent Vidhwan Karaikudi Chandramouli for over a decade who groomed him to be a concert player. Mahesh has received advanced training under the mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani in Chennai. He has accompanied leading musicians including Dr. L. Subramaniam, Mandolin Srinivas, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and Pandit Jasraj. Mahesh is deeply motivated by Dr. L. Subramaniam, who has immensely encouraged him in his endeavors and has been playing with him over the last 20 years.

The From Bollywood to Concerto concert features these Subramaniam originals:

Turbulence Symphony

Subramaniam’s Turbulence Symphony was originally a three-movement violin concerto that was commissioned by l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande for the India Festival in Geneva. The first movement begins with an introduction by the violas, cellos, and double basses of an eight-bar romantic theme, and violins and bassoons join in as the theme is repeated. This theme is in Karaharapriya, one of the seventy-two parent scales or ragas in Carnatic (South Indian) Classical Music. This raga corresponds to the Darian Mode. The movement ends with a turbulent climax by the entire orchestra. The second movement is based on Mayamalavagowla, an ancient traditional Carnatic parent scale. As it begins, the harp and strings create a mystical and meditative mood. It contains a beautiful lyrical melody introduced by a solo cor anglais and repeated by the cor anglais, cello, and flute. As the third movement begins, the violins present an eight-bar theme in a pentatonic scale, which is commonly used in Indian music and can also be heard in Indonesian music. This is followed by the developmental section in which the same theme is played simultaneously at three different tempi, which creates a beautiful but rhythmically complex harmonic pattern. Next comes a trade-off by the woodwinds, strings, and brass in different rhythmic cycles, in which the motifs of the trade-off become shorter and shorter until they metamorphose into two sixteenth notes followed by the original theme from the first movement, given out by the brass and woodwinds, while the strings play turbulent patterns to support the theme and create a complex pattern. The symphony builds to a climatic ending.

Global Symphony

The Global Symphony was written by Dr. L. Subramaniam as a requiem in memory of Viji Subramaniam. It was premiered at New York’s Madison Square Gardens to commemorate the 50th year of the United Nations with the composer conducting. Subsequently, it has been performed with the Berlin Opera, again with the composer conducting and was simultaneously broadcast over twenty-eight nations with millions of listeners creating history.

This is a one movement composition for a symphony orchestra and a solo voice with the option of a choir. There are three main themes in the composition. It starts in a mystic meditative way, with sacred text in Sanskrit sung by the solo voice. This leads to a developmental section where there is a vigorous rhythmic passage, which passes through chromatic harmonic structure and leads to the reintroduction of the theme in the dominant key. A three part canon leads to a transitional section with a recapitulation of the first theme in the original key with strong orchestral backing from the strings and flute. The ending repeated is three times in the traditional Indian way.

South Indian Classical Carnatic Music

Dr. L Subramaniam and Ambi Subramaniam present the art of Carnatic music, which has one of the most sophisticated melodic and rhythmic structures in the world. The violin entered Carnatic music tradition during the early part of the 19th century and today has become one of the most important instruments on the concert platform, owing to its closeness to the human voice.  The South Indian violin is almost identical to the Western violin, but differs in tuning and playing position. It is played sitting cross-legged, with the scroll placed on the artist’s right ankle, the back of the violin resting on the artist’s left shoulder (or collar bone), thus giving the performer an unencumbered left hand with which to play Indian musical ornamentations.

Jo Tum –The International Premiere of this work takes place February 20 at the Fulton Opera House.

Indian saint poet Meera Bai, was a 16th century princess from the Royal family of Rajasthan, and was, from her childhood, in love with Lord Krishna.  Her love for and devotion to Lord Krishna expressed itself through poems and bhajans, or devotional songs. Jo Tum Todo Piya is a Meera Bhajan with lyrics by Meera Bai, composed by Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, and orchestration by Dr. L. Subramaniam.  The composition is based on South Indian Classical Raga Chakravakam, which uses a minor 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th and minor 7th.  It also incorporates the minor 3rd as a passing note. The rhythm used tries to imitate an ektara, a single stringed instrument used in Indian folk music.

Isabella Violin Concerto—The National Premiere to take place on February 20 at the Fulton Opera House.

This is a violin concerto in three movements, composed by Dr. L. Subramaniam, featuring the composer as the violin soloist.  It incorporates Indian and Spanish music influences, as it is a tribute to sixty years of Indo-Spanish relations, commissioned by the Orchestra of Castilla y Leon.

Reviews & Quotes

“Music is a vast ocean and no one can claim to know it all. The more you know, the more you realize how little you know. It is an eternal quest.” L. Subramaniam

 “L. Subramaniam is the best this listener has heard…” — THE NEW YORK TIMES

“L. Subramaniam, greatest of classical Indian violinists, was both Paganini and Poet” — SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“Violinist L. Subramaniam proved to be a peerless virtuoso. Subramaniam’s poetic imagination formed inexhaustible permutations” — LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Positively dazzling… he achieved a delicate balance of all these factors (technique, sense of structure, development, soul and intensity). He balanced wrenchingly beautiful melodic exposition with tumbling multi-noted cascades… within the context of a sinuous elegance that made his improvisations seem exceptionally coherent.” — NEW YORK TIMES

About the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra

Opening its 69th season, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra has evolved from a community orchestra into an organization of professional musicians serving 52,000 music enthusiasts with 24 yearly subscription concerts, popular holiday concerts, and the New Year’s Eve gala celebration.  

The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra is a 75-member, professional orchestra that was  founded in 1947 by Frederick S. Klein and John H. Peifer, Jr. from Franklin & Marshall College.   

The orchestra is a non-profit organization, governed by a board of 25 community volunteers and managed by a professional staff under the direction of executive director Paige McFarling.  Ticket sales revenues and donations from hundreds of corporate and private benefactors underwrite the Symphony’s invaluable contribution to the quality of life in south central Pennsylvania.