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Archive for November 21st, 2008

East Meets West – Amjad Ali Khan and the SCO (21-22 Nov 2008)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on November 21, 2008

Scottish Chamber Orchestra
October 2008

East Meets West – Amjad Ali Khan and the SCO

Following the world premiere performance at the St Magnus Festival in June, and a subsequent performance at Mansion House as part of the City of London Festival, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra brings Samaagam – performed and composed by the world’s greatest living sarod player, Amjad Ali Khan – to Glasgow’s City Halls and Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on 21 and 22 November.  Amjad Ali Khan takes to the stage with conductor David Murphy, the SCO LAB and the SCO Strings.

Amjad Ali Khan’s concerto, Samaagam,(meaning ‘confluence’ or ‘coming together’) for sarod, concertante group and string orchestra has been realised by David Murphy.  Based on ragas for the different seasons of the year, the piece explores the common roots of the music of India and the West.  Although the majority of the music has been written down, the performances also involve an element of improvisation from all the soloists. The East Meets West performances open with Mozart’s Overture, Idomeneo and Beethoven’s Symphony No 8.  The programming of Mozart and Beethoven alongside Samaagam explores the concept that while music from East and West may sound superficially different, they share the same underlying musical DNA.

David Murphy has been researching the notation of Indian music for Western musicians for some time, and this new piece of music has been two years in the making.  In December 2006 the SCO LAB, David Murphy and Amjad Ali Khan got together for a meeting of musical cultures, instrumental styles and improvisation, culminating in the idea of an orchestral piece to be performed in the UK and abroad.

Talking about the collaboration, Amjad Ali Khan commented:

“I was very happy and honoured when the Scottish Chamber Orchestra approached me to write a Sarod Concerto for them.  David Murphy was to conduct the entire concerto and also put my thoughts together. He has a great regard for Indian classical music so he could understand and read my vision.”

Conductor David Murphy said:
“It became immediately apparent to all of us that something very special could come out of this collaboration – Khan Sahib was thrilled at the affinity the SCO LAB players had for his music, the LAB were similarly thrilled by Khan Sahib’s vibrant musicality and I was delighted that a truly creative musical dialogue without barriers was taking place between musicians from East and West. It was then that the idea for a concerto for sarod and concertante group was born, and immediately took wing.”

The SCO LAB is an experimental research project involving seven virtuoso musicians from the SCO. It was launched in 2002 to create improvised and devised music away from the traditional concert platform. Each LAB event involves an external musical collaborator, for example a composer or an improvising musician, and concludes with a public performance or recording.

Audiences can find out more about Samaagam and the collaboration with Amjad Ali Khan at pre-concert talks given by David Murphy and members of the LAB group (free to ticket holders).

There is also an opportunity for Edinburgh audiences to talk about the music performed in this concert in more depth through the SCO’s Adventurous Discussions programme.  Adventurous Discussions enable concert-goers to learn more about a piece of music before hearing it, as well as the chance to reflect on the concert a week later.

In a continuation of the unique relationship formed with Amjad Ali Khan, the Orchestra will make a 6 date tour of India with the maestro in February 2009.

SCO Education used Samaagam as the basis for collaborative education projects in Orkney earlier this year. SCO violinist Robert McFall, visual artist Krish Shrikumar and dancers from Dance Ihayami (the first cross-cultural dance company in Scotland) spent a week with Dounby Primary School in Orkney, creating a special performance for the St Magnus Festival in June.


For further information, photographs or review tickets, please contact Lauren Johnston-Smith on 0131 478 8338 or Sheena Macrae on 0131 478 8340, or email Lauren or Sheena


GLASGOW, City Halls
Friday 21 November 2008, 7.30pm
EDINBURGH, Queen’s Hall
Saturday 22 November 2008, 7.30pm

MOZART Overture, Idomeneo
BEETHOVEN Symphony No 8
KHAN Samaagam – a concerto for sarod, concertante group and string orchestra (realised by David Murphy)

  • Amjad Ali Khan sarod
  • David Murphy conductor

Pre-concert talk 6:30pm, free to ticket holders

Adventurous Discussions – 22 and 27 November in Edinburgh. To book a place call SCO Education on 0131 478 8355 or email


Glasgow (£24-£11, concessions available)
Glasgow’s Concert Halls Box Office 0141 353 8000

Edinburgh (£26-£8, concessions available)
Queen’s Hall Box Office 0131 668 2019

Amjad Ali Khan
Amjad-Ali-Khan-112008-1Newcomers invariably become instant converts to North Indian classical music within hearing a few notes played by sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan. Credited for establishing the sarod as one of the most popular instruments in North Indian music, Amjad Ali Khan can trace his direct musical ancestry over six generations of the legendary Bangash family and back further to Mian Tansen, the famed saint-musician at Emperor Akbar’s court. Khan, who recently celebrated his 50th year as a performer, has been heard far beyond India in concerts throughout Europe, the USA and Japan. He is the recipient of many awards, including the UNESCO award, UNICEF’s National Ambassadorship, The Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and India’s highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.

A sarod is a fretless stringed musical instrument, used in Indian classical music. The lack of frets allows the performer to slide continuously between notes. In contrast to the sweet sounding sitar, it has a deep and heavy introspective sound.

David Murphy
David-Murphy-Conducts-Profile-Pic-082009-1A pupil of Leon Barzin and protégé of Sir Charles Mackerras and Pandit Ravi Shankar, David conducts throughout the world. In addition to his wide-ranging Western repertoire which includes Beethoven performances from the original manuscript sources, he is developing performance projects combining Western orchestras with the world’s leading Indian musicians, including Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. These unique musical explorations are creating a new repertoire and indeed a new musical genre. Orchestras involved in this work include the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and a project is currently being designed with both the Chicago Civic and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.

SCO2007photoThe SCO LAB is an experimental research project involving eight virtuoso musicians from the SCO. It was launched in 2002 to create improvised and devised music away from the traditional concert platform. Each LAB event involves an external musical collaborator, for example a school, a composer or an improvising musician, and culminates in a public performance or recording.

(Source: 08/2008 – Scottish Chamber Orchestra | October News)

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan & Scottish Chamber Orchestra…

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