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Naresh Sohal. Photo Janet Swinney

28 January 2021 Comments Off on The Story of Naresh Sohal’s Concertino for Cello & Strings and the Mathieson Music School, Kolkata Views: 437 CE News

The Story of Naresh Sohal’s Concertino for Cello & Strings and the Mathieson Music School, Kolkata

It’s with great pleasure that Composers Edition presents Naresh Sohal’s newly published Concertino for violoncello and strings, the origins of which stem from a special school in the Indian city of Kolkata

The concertino was commissioned by the renowned cellist Anup Kumar Biswas for the children of the Mathieson Music School in Kolkata, of which he is the director.

I was looking for a work that would give young instrumental students their first experience of playing in an orchestra. At the same time, I thought the work should be challenging for them. I knew Naresh and his music – we were good friends – and I thought he would be able to deliver something suitable. I was right. He produced a work with a flamboyant part for me as the soloist and parts for the children that offered them plenty of interest. They really enjoyed playing it.

Anup Kuma Biswas

In 2000 Biswas took the children from his school on a tour across England in where they gave around 180 performances of the work. This memorable experience was immortalised with the recording of a CD at the end of the tour.

Concertino was given its first performance by professional musicians on 7 April 2000 at St. Johns Smith Square, London, in a concert celebrating the composer’s 60th birthday, with Anup Kuma Biswas as the soloist and the Cosmopolitan Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Peter Allwood.

The Mathieson Music School is a residential school for impoverished children in Kolkata. It provides food, clothing, housing, medical care, and a comprehensive education, including musical training, for sixty of the city’s neediest boys and girls. Each year, Biswas undertakes an extensive schedule of fundraising concerts, masterclasses, and musical clinics to support the school and its services. More information about the Mathieson Music School is available on their website and Facebook page. After Naresh’s death, his partner Janet donated his cello to the school.

Music session at Mathieson Music School, with Anup Kuma Biswas

Composers Edition couldn’t be prouder to be part of this story by making Naresh Sohal’s Concertino available now in our catalogue.

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