Dr. L. Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurti present historic Mahatma Symphony in Houston

Dr. L. Subramaniam performing his violin concerto along with the Houston Symphony and his team on August 6th at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston, Texas. PHOTO: Dr. L. Subramaniam

Houston, Texas: Acclaimed violinist Padma Bhushan recipient Dr. L. Subramaniam along with his wife, iconic Indian playback singer, Padma Shri recipient Kavita Krishnamurti, jointly presented the world premiere of Mahatma Symphony in collaboration with the Houston Symphony at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts on August 6th.

The event was part of commemorating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the 75th year of India’s independence and U.S.-India  diplomatic relations.

The Mahatma Symphony composed by Dr. Subramaniam is a special collaborative project with the Houston Symphony and presented in partnership with Indo-American Association of Houston, the Lakshmi Narayana Global Music Festival, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and the Consulate General of India in Houston.

“It takes a very long time to write a full orchestral composition because there were close to 100 musicians performing. It’s very challenging but ultimately, it is a great feeling when you hear the whole orchestra playing,” Dr. Subramaniam accompanied by Krishnamurti told News India Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday, August 11, 2022.

The entire concert was dedicated to Dr. Subramaniam’s composition starting with Spring Rhapsody, followed by the world premiere of the Mahatma Symphony. To a standing ovation, he performed Shanti Priya, one of his violin concertos, followed by an encore, the flight of the humble bee. The Symphony had three movements — the first movement depicted the life of Gandhiji in South Africa with a mix of African rhythm, Indian percussion sound patterns along with a full symphony orchestra.

Kavita Krishnamurti presenting the world premiere of the Mahatma Symphony along with the Houston Symphony and choir on August 6th at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston, Texas. PHOTO: Dr. L. Subramaniam

The second movement, performed with Vaishnava Janato lyrics documented Gandhiji’s return to India with sadness but showed he was resolute in his quest for peace and non-violence. The third movement which showcased a dichotomy of happiness and confusion represented a free India ended with a happy note of India having achieved greatness over the last 75 years. The second and third movements were performed by Krishnamurti as the solo vocalist.

Dr. Subramaniam said it was nice to see the spirited rendition of Vande Mataram even the westerners. At the Symphony he recalled, “to make it globally accessible, I took the Vaishnava Janato lyrics and modified the melody so that the next generation benefits. Because our traditional Vaishnava Janato is a little complicated for everybody to sing and understand.”

Since 1985, Dr. Subramaniam has been performing to celebrate India and its independence in different countries, at the United Nations on the 40th anniversary, and in Switzerland, Russia, and China, and elsewhere.

“I’ve written several pieces to celebrate India’s independence including Freedom, and Bharat Symphonies in the past. Every time we start working on these projects we get totally involved. Fortunately, all our work proved to be milestones and the final outcomes were extremely satisfying too.”

The Consul-General of India in Houston, Aseem Mahajan hosted a reception before the concert where many guests including the CEO of Houston Symphony, John Mangum spoke and praised them for the special project.

Houston was their first stop, before they head out to Cleveland, San Diego, and New York to celebrate India’s independence. The Mahatma Symphony tour will continue to Europe including stops in Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.

Krishnamurti told News India Times that it’s an exhilarating feeling to represent India. “It was a proud moment because while performing, you’re not thinking of yourself just as a singer. You’re thinking of representing your country and cherishing it’s 75 years of independence. I think it was a great moment for all Indians.”

She said though she was not born at the time of India’s independence, she salutes Gandhiji’s struggle for independence, and marvels his teachings of non-violence, and civil disobedience. “He told the world that you can achieve what you want, peacefully through dedication and through focus without having resort to violence.”

Krishnamurti has sung close to 25,000 songs, both film and non-film compositions, in several languages. “I witnessed the entire process of my husband writing the compositions day and night and to finally rehearse and perform at the Houston Symphony. It’s a great feeling and I enjoyed it a lot.”

At the invitation of Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, he performed along with his team at the Allen Event Center in Dallas on August 11th . Both Krishnamurti and him also witnessed the historic Sahasragala Gita Parayana program on August 13th with over 2200 Indian kids and adults from around the world reciting 700-plus sacred verses of Bhagavad Gita through memorization and fluent reading.


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