A reunion of musical souls

Bengal Classical Music Fest opens with fervor

thumbnail Rakesh Chaurasia and Purbayan Chatterjee present a brilliant jugalbandi recital. Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

Connecting musical souls together, the sixth edition of Bengal Classical Music Festival, organised by Bengal Foundation opened on December 26 evening at the Abahani ground in Dhanmondi.
The five-night long festival, dedicating to eminent educationist, researcher and cultural exponent Professor Emeritus Dr. Anisuzzaman, set off with a relaxing performance of Raga Abhogi by Dr. L Subramaniam on the violin, with accompaniment by Sriram Murthy on mridangam, Pandit Tanmay Bose on tabla and Sathya Sai Ghantasala on morsing.

Kazakhstan’s Astana Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Berik Batyrkhan, took the music lovers to a state of bliss as they performed a composition by Tless Kazhgaliyev, and later performed parts of PI Tchaikovsky’s ballet composition “Swan Lake”.

Making a musical bridge between sub-continental and western classical music, Dr. Subramaniam took the stage again to offer his self-composed piece “Shanti Priya” along with the orchestra. As he led with his violin, Berik conducted the Astana Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra creating a rare melodic sync that the Dhaka audience experienced for the first time.

thumbnail Rajrupa Chowdhury perform solos at the festival.

Following the formal inaugural ceremony, reputed sarodiya Rajrupa Chowdhury took the stage to play Raga Anil Madhyam, created by her guru Pt Sanjoy Banerjee. Rajrupa fondly depicted the picture of the raga through her recital of alap. It was elevated during her jod and jhala performance as a gentle breeze blew across the ground as she showcased the musical notes, frequently touching the note ‘Sharp Ma’. Pt. Avijit Bannerjee beautifully styled the torrents of beats on tabla to embellish the recital. The artiste later performed a sweet Raga Shahana to sooth the audience.


thumbnail Supriya Das perform solos at the festival.

Vidushi Padma Talwalkar was the next performer of the night. Ankita Deole lent vocal support during the performance, while Sanjay Adhikary was on tabla and Rupashree Bhattacharya on harmonium. The renowned vocalist performed Raga Kedar. She later rendered a tarana set on Raga Desh, a Meera Bhajan and a chhoto khayal based on Raga Bageshree.


Bangladeshi sitarist Firoz Khan played an idyll-inspired Raga Jhinjhoti and a dhun. Zakir Hossain accompanied him on tabla.

Supriya Das, a promising Bengal Parampara artiste of khayal, was the penultimate performer of the night. She rendered a melancholic Raga Malkauns and a thumri set on Raga Desh. Supriya’s style of murki and raagdari was fascinating. She captivated the music lovers with her elaboration of the raga especially in the vistar part and taan performance. Prashanta Bhowmik accompanied her on tabla and Gourob Chatterjee was on harmonium.

The Dhaka audience will lovingly remember the rare jugalbandi performance by two prodigious instrumentalists — Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar. Pt. Abhijit Banerjee accompanied them on tabla. They performed Raga Lalit, elaborating alap, jod, gaut and jhala. Though their musical flight, they thoroughly mesmerised the audience with instantly improvised musical phraseology. They also performed a Bhairavi Dhun to conclude the day’s performances.

Keeping in mind about the immense urge among the people to witness the festival, Bengal Foundation opened online registration again from yesterday.

The music lovers must be grateful to the organiser of the world’s largest classical music festival returning this year; it is better late than never, as an uncertainty appeared regarding holding the festival. The patience, resilience, indomitable spirit and a visionary leadership by Abul Khair (chairman of Bengal Foundation) and Luva Nahid Choudhury (DG of the organisation) eventually kept the hope uplifted to hold the festival in the month of December.

The gigantic task, smartly executed by Blues Communications in handling the event management part of the festival within a few days deserves heartfelt thanks. Apart from listening to music from the world famous maestros, the audience can enjoy quality food and beverages at the venue. A pictorial exhibition, featuring the lives of legendary music exponents of Bangladesh, is set up at the venue; another exhibition featuring works of Bengal Institute of Architecture, Landscape and Settlement is also there.


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