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Czech Philharmonics Left India Spellbound

Date: 12 January 2018 - 21 January 2018, Venue: Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata

The Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi, in cooperation with a group of partner institutions and sponsors from both India and Czechia, organized a concert tour of the  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra from the Czech city of Zlin, and thus marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and India.

In the course of the concert tour, realized between January 10 and January 21, 2018, the philharmonic orchestra gratified the Indian classical music enthusiasts in four Indian cities, in Delhi, Mumbai, Panjim (Goa), and Kolkata. The musicians, with their outstanding performances, contributed to the excellent presentation of the Czech Republic as a culturally advanced country that fosters an interest in further development of the versatile relations with India. In order to achieve its goal, the Czech Republic is ready to exert extraordinary efforts. The Embassy expresses its sincerest words of gratitude to the Orchestra and to all the participants and partners who were involved in the project and helped us accomplish the tour.

During the 2018 INDIA TOUR, the Martinu Czech Philharmonic performed at five concerts attended by about five thousand lovers of the Czech and world classical music.

The first concert bore the character of an additional performance of a Brass Sextet and a Trio of the Orchestra, that was jointly arranged by the Embassies of the Czech Republic and of the Slovak Republic in New Delhi in order to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the both of the countries. During the concert, the audience was addressed by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic Zigmund Bertok and by the Ambassador of the European Union to India Tomasz Kozlowski. The concert was realized as a part of a joint participation of the European Union as a Guest of Honour, and its member states, at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2018.

With the aim of amplification of the effect of this special mission focused on boosting the Indo-Czech friendship, all the performances were attended by the Czech Ambassador Milan Hovorka who, during his welcome addresses, reminded of the founding principal idea behind the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Czechia and India. For the purpose of commemorating this remarkable historical moment, a number of both governmental and non-governmental institutions of the two countries merged their exceptional efforts. In his speeches, Ambassador of the Czech Republic also briefly recollected the 70 years long mutual journey of the two countries and expressed his sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the accomplishment of a fully-fledged Czech philharmonic orchestra tour in India.

The prelude of every performance was resounded with the national anthems of both the countries whose presentation assured every attendee of the uniqueness of this moment.

In due time sequence and with respect to local variedness, the Philharmonic, under the baton of a Kolkata-born conductor Debashish Chaudhuri, performed on January 12 in Delhi, January 14 in Mumbai, on January 17 in Panjim and on January 19, 2018, in Kolkata.

In all the cities, the Orchestra presented the compilations of Bedrich Smetana (From Bohemian Fields and Meadows), Sergei Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto No. 2) and Antonin Dvorak (Symphony No. 8). Rachmaninoff’s piano concert was mastered by soloist Jana Chaudhuri.

The commitment and brilliant performances put by the conductor and all the musicians did not go unheeded. The audience expressed their unrelenting gratitude with long-lasting applauses and demands for encores. In response to these demands, the soloist presented one of Chopin’s nocturnes. The Orchestra, to the surprise of the audience, had prepared these encores as symbolic reflections of the locality of the venue, and thus enabled the deeply moved audience to align with their singing. The Orchestra also presented a technique referred to as pizzicato.

The entire concert tour attracted a great attention of the media in India as well as in Czechia who reminded that these concerts are the culmination of many other celebrations of 70 years of diplomatic relations.

Regarding the logistics, every stopover of the Orchestra in India had its guarantor. In Delhi, it was the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Concerts that were held in the two Union States of Maharashtra and Goa were guaranteed by the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic led by Mrs. Rashmi Jolly, who in Mumbai joined her efforts with the Time & Talent Club Foundation, and in Goa, which became a gateway for the classical music to penetrate the Indian subcontinent in the beginning of the 16th century, with the cultural centre of “Kala Academy”.  In Kolkata, the concert was hosted by the Calcutta School of Music and by the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic led by Mr. Utsav Parekh, remained at the host’s disposal. In Kolkata, the concert was considered to be a part of the Bengal Global Business Summit at which the Czech Republic participated as a Partner Country.

The demanding nature of the tour was determined by the number of concerts, the long hours spent on travels,  huge number of the members of the Orchestra (60), arrangement for those musical instruments of which transport from the Czech Republic was not feasible (and therefore the organizers were compelled to arrange for them in India and transport them to another venue after each and every concert).

The Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi uses this opportunity to extend its words of appreciation and gratitude to the Director of the Philharmonic Josef Nemy, the conductor of the Orchestra Debashish Chaudhuri, the piano soloist Jana Chaudhuri and to all members of the Orchestra for their exceptional token of humanity that was expressed by a selfless attitude to the tour, and for the marvellous manifestation of the Czech culture.

The Embassy pays tribute to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Czech Ministry of Culture for the provided auspices and the endorsement. The Embassy also sincerely appreciates the attitude of the Zlin Region Administration and the Zlin City Municipality.

The Embassy also values the approach of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, and of the Directorate of Film Festivals, as well as the partnership offered by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations highlighted by the presence of its Director General Mrs. Riva Ganguly Das at the concert in Delhi. The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, was also highly supportive. Special thanks go to Honorary Consulates of the Czech Republic in Mumbai and Kolkata, in particular to both aforementioned Honorary Consuls.

The Embassy of the Czech Republic proposes words of thanks to all the sponsoring Czech and Indian companies. Without their generosity and contributions, the realization of the tour would not have been possible. As an expression of gratitude, the Embassy made its best efforts in order to provide them with a due visibility.

The Embassy, namely, expresses its words of gratitude to the following companies – on the Czech side: to Home Credit, GHH-Bonatrans, Škoda Auto, Česká zbrojovka, Zetor, and on the Indian side: IndusInd Bank, Blue Cross Laboratories, El Ray, VFS Global, GEMS Academy, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Premier’s Tea.

Moreover, the Embassy thanks to the accommodation partners in the respective cities The Umrao Delhi, Trident Nariman Point Mumbai and Pan Asian Continental Kolkata, and the airline partners Qatar Airways, Jet Airways and IndiGo for offering their services on the best possible conditions.

In conclusion: In 2017, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi organized several events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of mutual diplomatic ties which is undoubtedly a significant milestone in the bilateral relations between Czechia and India. The final effect not only reflects the exerted efforts but also fully meets expectations associated with this highly-demanding project. The sold-out concerts with about 5 thousand visitors and the mediated effect on other thousands of people brought good visibility in India to the Czech Republic and its rich cultural traditions.





Martinu Czech Philharmonic Orchestra