In what should work to cool frayed tempers in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been in the grip of tension both at the LoC with Pakistan and at Kishtwar, Mumbai-born maestro Zubin Mehta will serenade Kashmiris with the timeless Beethoven, Haydn and Tchaikovsky compositions as part of a special concert by German Embassy at Srinagar’s Shalimar Bagh, the famous Mughal garden.
The concert, ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir – Feelings for Kashmir’, on September 7 will see Mehta conducting the official orchestra of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany “Bayerische Staatsorchester” (Bavarian State Orchestra).
This elite orchestra’s origins can be traced back to 1523.
“This concert is for the people of Kashmir. Beethoven, Haydn and Tchaikovsky’s works being played by one of the best orchestras of the world even as a world-acclaimed maestro conducts in one of the most enchanting places in the world.,” said German ambassador to India Michael Steiner.
“Music is universal. It connects. With the magic power of music, we want to cross geographical, political and cultural borders and reach the hearts of the Kashmiris with a message of hope and encouragement.”
The J&K government has lent a helping hand to the event with logistics and security. Around 1,500 guests from Kashmir and across the country are expected to attend the gala event, rarity for the beleaguered state.
It will for the first time in the last 25 years that a show of that magnitude will be held in the Shalimar Garden. Built by Emperor Jahangir for his wife Noor Jehan, the garden was opened in 1619 AD. Eleven years later Emperor Shah Jahan extended the garden to make it more beautiful.
Preparation and planning for the programme has been going on for the past one year when the Mughal Gardens were painstakingly restored to their old glory, said Steiner.
The concept for the concert was conceived when last year Steiner bestowed upon Zubin Mehta the Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit. Both the Bavarian State Orchestra and Mehta have renounced their usual fees for the event.
“Members of the Orchestra will meet with students of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Srinagar before the concert,” said Steiner.
Sources in the Kashmir government said elaborate security plan has been chalked out to keep trouble-makers and moral police brigade at bay. Besides, the authorities also have a Plan B ready in case there is inclement weather.
The venue will be shifted to Kashmir University Convocation Center.