SOI – Keeping Western Classical Music Alive in India!

Despite being considered as a melting pot of music genres for centuries, India did not have its own professional symphony orchestra until 10 years ago, when a music enthusiast and the chairman of National Centre for the Performing Arts, named Khushroo Suntook, founded India's first fully professional symphony orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of India and started a new era of orchestral music in the country. Western classical music has historically struggled to find a place for itself in the Indian music scene, which has always been dominated by the Indian traditional classical music. Khushroo Suntook by his SOI ensured that music lovers get aware of this genre of music as well.

The idea to found SOI was conceived when Khushroo attended a concert Marat Bisengaliev, a violin virtuoso in London. He met Marat after the show and invited him to perform in India. When Marat accepted his offer, he took it a step further and asked the musician whether he wanted to set up an orchestra in India. The idea sounded great to Marat and SOI was given birth in 2006. Mr. Bisengaliev serves as Orchestra's music director and Zane Dalal was appointed as the Associate Music Director. Since its inception, SOI has been working and conducting orchestra music events in India with with renowned conductors from across the country which include Charles Dutoit, Augustin Dumay, Yuri Simonov, Lior Shambadal, Adrian Leaper, Johannes Wildner, Evgeny Bushkov, Rafael Payare, Duncan Ward, Karl Jenkins, Mischa Damev, Alexander Anissimov, and Christoph Poppen, amongst others. Soloists have included Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Simon O’Neill, Cédric Tiberghien, Alina Ibragimova, Barry Douglas, Angel Blue, Zakir HussainEdgar Meyer, Béla Fleck, Tamás Vásáry and Lena Neudauer.

SOI concerts are one of the most sought-after NCPA events. In the span of their ten years, the orchestra has performed not only in India, but also at several premier musical platforms around the world, including at the Columned Hall of Moscow, the Royal Opera House Muscat, the Emirates Palace Auditorium in Abu Dhabi, Victoria Hall in Geneva and St. Gallen in Switzerland. Many renouned conductors like Lior Shambadal, Alexander Anissimov, Yuri Simonov, Christoph Poppen, Charles Dutoit, Karl Jenkins, Adrian Leaper, Johannes Wildner, Mischa Damev, and Rafael Payare have also worked with SOI.

SOI conducts many concerts & events in Mumbai, and one of their most popular and famous performances is with the Bollywood ace singer Arijit Singh. It's always a sheer pleasure to watch SOI and Arijit Singh performing together.