John Marthand, the well-known instructor of Western classical music, introduced the Nawab’s city to new sounds. When he began giving piano lessons to his son, Timothy, he gave birth to the idea of the SOTA music festival. For it was Timothy Marthand who is now all set to organise the upcoming SOTA music festival 2018 in the city.
Says John “There was hardly anyone who really knew much about Western classical music or had the opportunity to learn it in this city. Even today, what goes by the name of Western classical music in the city is really a mix of Jazz, film or light music. There are many who want their children to learn Western classical music, but most need to understand how to value this rich tradition. Appreciating a Classical orchestra is an art in itself.” Says Timothy, “ Within six months of my learning piano, I gave my first performance at Ravindra Bharathi in 1992 with the Hyderabad Philharmonic Orchestra. This Orchestra consisted of the remaining members of the Nizam Symphony Orchestra from Hyderabad, which was disbanded after the British left India.” Timothy believes that it is very important to think ‘world class’. “SOTA stands for ‘State Of The Art’. There is a need to aim at world standards even in the field of musical performances and music teaching.” Many of the international musicians participating in the festival that we spoke to were excited about the event. Says pianist Martin Helmchen, “I am looking forward to presenting music that audiences in Hyderabad would not have heard for a long time. I am sure they will have an open heart and fresh ears. Indian musicians have done commendable work all over the world. Many contemporary composers are influenced by Indian music.” Cellist Tony Rymer feels that there are more similarities than differences between Indian and Western classical music. “Both systems use music to communicate. It’s all about the characters or feelings that are conveyed.”
Says Kobi Malkin, violinist, “Hyderabad is so lively and colourful. I could hear a beautiful amalgamation of sounds from horns, mosques and all around the city. I love to play music, especially for people who have not heard this kind of music earlier. I think there is a lot in common between Western and Indian music. Even the rhythms are more or less the same globally. Music is all about peace and patience the world over.” Although, Hyderabad is an important IT hub, Timothy Marthand has met many IT professionals who find little meaning in working like automatons. “There is a real need for balance in life. People need to ‘tune in’ to music. The inner expression of every individual can only be kindled with an effort for appreciating the arts,” concludes Timothy.