Bengal Foundation is going to present the fifth edition of the Bengal Classical Music Festival, commencing on November 24, 2016. Over the last four years, the festival has become globally recognised as the greatest of its kind in terms of quality and magnitude. The five-day long festival this year is dedicated to the memory of versatile author Syed ShamsulHaq (1935-2016).
Director General of Bengal Foundation, Luva Nahid Choudhury discussed the arrangements for the event and mentioned the names of the headlining performers. She also shed light on the Foundation’s past and current endeavours based on the promotion of classical music.
In his speech, Abul Khair, Chairman of Bengal Foundation, remembered poet Syed Shamsul Haq, and Fahim Munaim, CEO of Maasranga TV. In their passing away, Bengal Foundation had lost two very dear friends. Abul Khair explained that the Foundation worked for the promotion and nurture of almost all forms of the arts – visual art, music, theatre, writing, cinema and architecture. He stressed his belief that a culmination of these efforts could energise the arts scene, and rekindle compassion and humane values.
Bengal Classical Music Festival is set to take place from November 24 through November 28, from 7 PM to 5 AM the next day, at the Army Stadium, Dhaka. As always, different genres of sub-continental classical music and dance will be presented to the public on those days.
For the last couple of years, the festival has firmly established itself as one of the leading global events of classical music in terms of the length and breadth of the program as well as the quality and quantity of attendees. The festival has been graced by the participation of many established as well as emerging classical musicians and their foray into diverse horizons of the genre. The quality and sophistication of their presentation has sparked interest in classical music among our youth.
Every year, the festival has witnessed the number of attendees going up, reaching the height of 150,000 in the last edition. There is also a rise in the number of Bangladeshi performers. Since 2012, more than 200 Bangladeshi artistes have presented their performance side by side with global musical luminaries on this grand stage. In 2012, there were 10 Bangladeshi artists; in the succeeding years the number rose to 84. Finally, 165 performers are poised to shine at this year’s festival.
Square Group is presenting the Bengal Classical Music Festival as the title sponsor. BRAC Bank is supporting the event as the main sponsor. Maasranga TV is the broadcast partner, while ICE Business Times is the media partner. Radisson Hotel Dhaka is the hospitality partner of the event, and Square Hospital is the medical partner. Blues Communications will handle the event management. The festival is being presented in association with Bengal Digital, Mango and Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay. Perfect Harmony of Singapore is the strategic partner.
To know more about online registration, along with the rules and regulations, please visit the newly launched website: www.bengalclassicalmusicfest.com
Things to look forward to this year
The fifth Bengal Classical Music Festival will bring you a stellar selection of classical music and dance performances. The festival will feature the illustrious Vidushi Girija Devi. In her musical career of almost seventy years, this artist of the Banaras gharana has crafted her unique creative expression of khayal, thumri and tappa infused with the ‘Poorab’ flare. She has been decorated with the Padma Vibushan award in 2016, the highest accolade of the Indian government.
Ustad Allauddin Khan, the founder of the Senia Maihar gharana and a legendary figure in Indian raga music, was born in Shibpur, Brahmanbaria in Bangladesh. His son, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan is a globally acclaimed sarodist. His son and Ustad Allauddin Khan’s grandson, Ustad Aashish Khan will be performing in Bangladesh for the first time ever at the festival. He has trained with his grandfather, father, and aunt Annapurna Devi. He will be on stage on the first day of the festival, accompanied by the renowned tabla artist, Pandit Bickram Ghosh.
Collaborative presentations by new artists will certainly be a new attraction this year. Jasrangi is a novel form of jugalbandi, developed by Pandit Jasraj where a male and a female vocalist sing different ragas simultaneously. Vidushi Ashwini Bhide of Jaipur-Atrauli gharana and Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar of Mewati gharana will be performing Jasrangi at the festival.
Padma Bhushan Dr. L Subramaniam is a virtuoso violinist equally dexterous in both western classical and Carnatic styles. He has a nomination for the prestigious Grammy awards, and has performed with the crème de la crème of global composers and conductors. This year, Dr. Subramaniam is the final performer on the first night.
The illustrious Vidushi Madhavi Mudgal will take the stage with her disciple Arushi Mudgal and present Odissi dance.
Many of the phenomenal performers from previous years will be reappearing at this year’s festival, namely Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and his son Rahul Sharma (of WahTaj! fame), Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Kushal Das, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar and Pandit Uday Bhawalkar.
We will also have the privilege of witnessing the performances of Padma Bhushan Dr. Prabha Atre, an illustrious vocalist of the Kiranagharana, Tabla-maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee of the Farukkabad gharana and his son Anubrata Chatterjee, as well as sitarist Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay. Pravin Godkhindi and Ratish Tagde will present a flute/violin duet while Pandit Yogesh Samsi and Pandit Subhankar Banerjee will present their duet on tabla.
Mandolin will be on the menu for the first time. A flute and mandolin duet will be brought to us by Grammy nominee Pandit Ronu Majumdar and U Rajesh, brother of eminent mandolin-artist, the late U Srinivas.
Purbayan Chatterjee will be mesmerising the audience with his sitar. We will also see Carnatic vocalists, sisters Ranjini and Gayatri, flutist Shashank Subramanyam, as well as vocalists Arati Ankalikar, Jayateerth Mevundi and Kumar Mardur.
The most seasoned performer at the festival is 87 year old vocalist Vidushi Girija Devi and the youngest is Ishrat Phuljhuri Khan at just seven years old. Ishrat is a student of Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay and will play the Sarod in a group presentation. She is the granddaughter of renowned esraj artist Ustad Yaar Rasul Khan (aka Phuljhuri Khan).
This year, 165 musicians from Bangladesh will be participating in the festival, and they include Sharmila Banerjee’s troupe Nrityanandan, danseuse Munmun Ahmed and her troupe, and vocalist Mohammad Shoeb and his troupe. Notable vocalist Priyanka Gope will render a solo khayal and will be directing her students from Dhaka University in a group performance. Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay students will be participating in group performances of the sitar, sarod and tabla.