Curtains up for Chamber Music Society of Colombo

Sri Lanka’s new orchestra, the Ensemble of the Chamber Music Society of Colombo will make its public debut at the Russian Cultural Centre, Colombo on September 28 and 29. The programme for this exciting event will include the world premiere of The Dawn of Kandula, a composition by American composer Stephen Allen.

This specially commissioned work draws its inspiration from a chapter of the Mahavamsa that depicts the epic battle between Dutugemunu and Elara in Sri Lankan history, in which Dutugemunu’s elephant Kandula was said to have played a significant role. Showcasing such new music is part of the Society’s mission.

The other hugely exciting element in the concert is the guest performance by the Japanese pianist Masahiko Shinohara, who is billed to play Mozart’s 14th Piano Concerto. This will be a rare public appearance by Mr. Shinohara, whose brilliance as a performer is little known owing to his reclusive lifestyle. It will be a feast of Mozart for classical music lovers, with a programme that also features his Lucio Silla and Symphony No.29.

The Chamber Music Society of Colombo was founded by Lakshman Joseph de Saram who is also its Artistic Director. It has taken two years to prepare the ensemble for a public concert such as the upcoming event that reaches out to a wider audience. The private concerts held so far include the inaugural performance for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees in 2007, which was a felicitation for maestro Premasiri Khemadasa, and a concert at the residence of the US Ambassador, on his invitation, in May this year. Both were well received.

The mission of the Chamber Music Society of Colombo is to give classical music-loving audiences here a special concert experience. Unlike most forms of music, chamber music appeals to a particularly discerning type of audience. Chamber music audiences the world over are unique in this sense. The Society believes that in Sri Lanka there is such an audience, which it hopes to build further by giving regular, carefully planned concerts. Music education is part of its project.

The other important aspect of the Society’s mission is to encourage new music, by commissioning new works from living composers. It is especially interested in music written by Sri Lankan composers, and music that embodies Sri Lankan themes. Tickets for the concert are available at the Russian Cultural Centre and Titus Stores, Liberty Plaza.

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