Orchestrating musical flair
The orchestra group from the Woodstock School in Mussoorie displayed their flair for Western classical music at the Hungarian Cultural Centre in New Delhi the other day.
The Hungarian Cultural Centre in New Delhi has brought many interesting and high-quality live performances by both Indian and Hungarian musicians to bridge the gap between the two countries through music and culture. In line with this meaningful tradition, they staged for the first time, a live concert of the Woodstock School Orchestra, this summer season.
The last concert of this brilliant group of young musicians was presented in Delhi way back in 2002 by the Delhi Symphony Society, featuring the Woodstock School Choir and Orchestra.
Now stronger than ever, the Orchestra comprised instruments like flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn, violin, viola, violin-cello, and the contrabass.
Founded in 1854, Woodstock School, Mussoorie, has a long tradition of fine music in varied genres.
With 500 students from over 30 countries, the Woodstock School holds U.S. accreditation with MSA, and is recognised by the Association of Indian Universities as well.
Throughout its history, music has been a rich and consistent tradition at Woodstock School. The music department today is the single largest due to the overwhelming student demand for instruction and participation in music, forming a significant part of the Woodstock experience for many of its students.
The conductor of the Woodstock School Orchestra, Reid Blickenstaff was born in India. His medical missionary parents lived and worked in India for more than three decades.
During his time at Woodstock, he also played viola in the Delhi Symphony and remembers fondly a session in which that group made a recording of the National Anthem for All India Radio.
After his graduation and post-graduation from University of Minnesota, he spent 13 years performing on the viola in orchestras around the State of Minnesota.
He has initiated and developed orchestra and band programmes in schools in Minnesota, and Los Angeles, California. Currently, Reid is Head of the Music Department at Woodstock School in India.
With such a source of inspiration like Reid as the head, each year, more than half the total number of students at Woodstock enrols into the music program. The result is a vibrant and versatile undertone that fills the school.
The school actually vibrates with an exotic blend of sounds from various instruments in the music block where students can be seen practicing sitar, tabla, flute violin to saxophone et al. The love of music at Woodstock is more than just a hobby for many students; it becomes a meaningful part of their lives.
The Woodstock School Orchestra has a strong traditional background and has been a focal point of Woodstock's music program for nearly all of school's 150 years. The orchestra performs advanced level of repertoire such as symphonies, concertos and various string ensemble repertoires.
Mozart and Gabrieli
The 28-member strong Woodstock Orchestra played in this live concert at the Hungarian Cultural Centre, K 218 by Mozart, Mozart's Symphony no 33, as well as music by Giovanni Gabrieli, Johannes Brahms and an anonymous French composer with a real professional competence.
The concert also featured the gifted solo violinist Yee Rae Kim in the Concerto for violin by a 15th Century Anonymous composer. It was a delight to see young children maintaining such high standards which was certainly the result of their dedicated and passionate involvement with music and sheer hard work.
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