An Israeli orchestra and an Indian duo performed together to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday in India in April.
The Jerusalem Orchestra East & West was invited by the Embassy of Israel in India for a special concert for the 75th Independence Day. The Orchestra collaborated with the husband-wife local duo Shubhendra and Saskia Rao, a well-known classical ensemble from Delhi.
“We had a beautiful event to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday,” said Ambassador Naor Gilon.”I was truly inspired by the beautiful musical collaboration between the Jerusalem Orchestra East and West, and the Indian classical musicians. This extraordinary blend of cultures showcases the power of music to transcend boundaries and create harmonious connections. It exemplifies the beauty of multicultural societies like India and Israel, where diverse traditions intertwine, creating a symphony of unity and understanding.”
“Thank you Minister Smriti Irani for honoring us with your presence,” he added, referring to the Ministry of Minority Affairs Smriti Irani, who attended the evening.
The Jerusalem Orchestra East & West is a multicultural orchestra comprising musicians from three main monotheistic religions, from all over the country and from all of Israel’s diverse social groups. The initiative brings together internationally acclaimed musicians and plays a new and unique musical language known as Levant Music.
Maestro Tom Cohen, the orchestra's head conductor and artistic director, is a classically trained musician steeped in the music of North Africa and Arab countries, combining these traditions with Western harmonies, offering an original perspective on the music of the Middle East.
Pandit Shubhendra Rao and Virtuoso Cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas are internationally acclaimed performers, composers, cultural entrepreneurs and music educators. They are known as artists who push Indian music towards new horizons.
Shubhendra Rao's relentless service in promoting Indian melodies has made him a highly respected figure in the field across the world. A protegee of Sitar Maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar, he is often described as “a perfect bridge to various cultures”.
The concert offered a combination of Israeli and Indian music.
During their visit to India, the Jerusalem Orchestra East & West also performed in a concert at Sun City School in Gurugram, where they played a selection of the orchestra's compositions and received enthusiastic responses from the students.
In 2023, both Israel and India are celebrating 75 years of many ‘historical firsts.’ After their concert for Israel’s 75th birthday, some of the musicians spoke about the occasion. Extolling the ties between both countries, they expressed their love for music and opened up about its ‘calm’ nature. Calling India a ‘great nation’, the Israeli artists also opened up about their happiness over their connection with India.