International Music Festival 2014: Making it to the first string

Friday, December 5th, 2014 7:32:28 by


Continuing its tradition of celebrating diverse mediums of artistic expression, the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) has begun the International Music Festival 2014, which will go on till December 7. With musicians from the United States, Italy and Germany and local artistes, the festival aims at using music to bridge the cultural gap that has long prevailed between the Orient and the Occident.

The first day of the festival, dated December 4, saw performances by Germany’s Leipzig String Quartet. It opened with a brief yet powerful performance by Napa faculty member Intezar Hussain, who played the Raag Malkaun in collaboration with Leipzig String Quartet and tabla player Waqas Ghulab.

The closing performance saw Napa students and faculty collaborate with the classical string concert in a performance titled Musica Senza Confini (Music without borders). PHOTOS: HASAN ANSARI/EXPRESS

The German classical string concert features Stefan Arzbeger (first violin), Tilman Buening (second violin), Ivo Bauer (viola) and Matthias Moos Village (cello). The group, which arrived in Karachi the same morning, did not get sufficient time to rehearse their performances, most notably their collaborations including the students and faculty members of Napa.

“The beauty of music as a form of art was on display today. Music is very spontaneous,” said Dr Manuel Negwer, the director of Goethe-Institute Pakistan. He lauded the String Quartet and Napa students and faculty members for putting up a brilliant show despite the time restraints. “It is remarkable how they delivered such a great performance despite having very little time to rehearse with each other,” he stated. The second set that the Leipzig String Quartet played stole the show. The German group put forth their rendition of Mozart’s Serenade No 10 in B-flat major.

The highlight of the event was the closing performance, which featured Ustad Nafees Ahmed on sitar, Ghulab on tabla, the Leipzig String Quartet, and students of Napa’s school of music. The performance, which was a composition by Napa faculty member Nafees Ahmed, was aptly titled Musica Senza Confini, which is Italian for ‘music without borders’. The composition epitomised the theme of the festival. The fusion of Ahmed’s sitar with the quartet gave the performance an upbeat tempo.

The final set the musicians recieved a standing ovation by a packed auditorium. Audience member and aspiring musician Rameez Alam commended the performances, saying, “There’s a quote ‘it is not how you start but how you finish something’, and the final performance made me want to listen to more compositions by the group. I would have loved it if the orchestra would have played at least one or two more original compositions.” He added, “Such shows should happen on a regular basis as it would help people learn more about world music apart from serving as a platform for local talent, especially the musicians of Napa.”

The festival also features celebrated Pakistani classical musicians, such as Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Ustad Salamat Hussain, Ustad Bashir Khan, Akbar Ali, and Ustad Ghulam Abbas Khan, who will take centre stage on day two of the festival.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th,  2014.

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