People and events

Conductor and orchestra brought out the best
The Premiere Concert 2010 of the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka
A Review by Dr Lalith Perera

The Premiere (Third Subscription) Concert 2010 of the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL) sponsored by the Japan Foundation with the Ambassador for Japan as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour Mr. and Mrs. Saliya Wickremesinghe, was held at the Ladies’ College Hall Colombo on Sunday, October 31 featuring the Guest Conductor Ms. Keiko Kobayashi, who is no stranger to Sri Lanka, having conducted the SOSL before.

It also featured Dushy Perera as solo cellist and Ado Kihara as solo clarinetist. The concert opened with Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor, B, 191. The comprehensive programme notes of R.A. absolves me from analysing the music played but enables me to say something of the performance and the performers.

At the outset, I should emphasize the fact that the success of the concert had not a little to do with the ability of the Guest Conductor to bring out the best from the orchestra. She together with the orchestra were the winners in a performance where the soloists and the orchestra gave us an evening of high class classical music, and those who missed it, missed a great deal.

Dushy Perera, the consummate performer, did not disappoint us apart from some hesitation and some lack of precision in playing the deepest and the highest notes in this concerto, one which plumbs the heights and the depths of the cello; a cello concerto of supreme beauty and replete with lyrical invention. Dvorak, like Schubert, was prodigal with his melodies and seems to have composed entirely by inspiration, heedless of wasting material.

The horns, clarinet and above all, the flautists should be particularly mentioned, as they backed the cello with countermelodies of the most exquisite nature. Full marks to the orchestra. May they always keep up this high standard, irrespective of who conducts them.

After the interval, we were treated to a more light-hearted, but enjoyable clarinet concerto of that master of music for the clarinet, Carl Maria von Weber. The concerto no.1 in F minor is considered a gem in the instrument's repertoire. Written for a clarinet in B-flat, it is finely crafted, intelligent music, expanding on the exemplary models of Mozart. The young Japanese clarinetist, Ado Kihara played with confidence and sense of rhythm, which he exemplified by his sinuous movements as used by the snake charmers. I noticed that the leader of the Second Violins swayed to the movements of the charmer in harmonious combination. The splendid ovation he received deserved an encore, which he duly obliged, with the orchestra in attendance. He played the Adagio by Heinrich J Baerman arranged for clarinet.

The concert concluded with two compositions by contemporary American composers, namely Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Aaron Copland’s El Salon Mexico. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is a piece which is very simple at climaxes but the simple chords create significance for the piece. It has been transcribed by Barber himself as a choral work and has been performed as such, by choirs like the choir of New College, Oxford.

Copland’s El Salon Mexico is a symphonic composition in one movement by Aaron Copland, which uses Mexican folk music extensively. Copland disappointed us by not allowing a tune to proceed to its final conclusion but leaving each hanging in the air.

The orchestra however had a field day using all the instruments to good effect. The solo clarinet had much to do and our guest clarinetist, Ado Kihara, who joined the rest of the orchestra for this piece, did not disappoint. The string section probably had the least to do. Altogether a satisfying evening.

Jezima among 500 most influential Muslims

Well-known Sri Lankan social activist Jezima Ismail has been named among the topmost influential Muslims of 2010 in The 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010 edited by Dr Joseph Lumbard and Dr. Aref Ali Nayed that was released recently.

Jezima Ismail

Deshabandu Jezima Ismail has been listed among women who have been trailblazers in their respective fields, often being the first in breaking social boundaries. Ms. Ismail is the founder of the Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum (MWRAF) and has been an educator for over three decades.

She serves on various international committees on women's rights and is the recipient of various awards in recognition of her work. She is the Chairperson of PAFFREL and a Member of the Committee for Reform of the Muslim Matrimonial Law. She is also President Emeritus and Founder, Sri Lanka Muslim Women's Conference (SLMWC).

The report was released by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, an independent research entity affiliated with the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, an international non-governmental independent institute headquartered in Amman, Jordan. The Report lists a total of 500 leaders in 15 areas of influence-Scholarly, Political, Administrative, Lineage, Preachers, Women's Issues, Youth, Philanthropy, Development, Science/Technology/Medicine/Law, Arts and Culture, Media, Radicals, International Islamic Networks, and Issues of the Day.

A lecture on Dementia

Dr. Lynn Beattie

Dr. Lynn Beattie, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia Department of Geriatric Medicine who is visiting Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Lanka Alzheimer's Foundation will deliver two public lectures entitled 'Dementia 2010' on Wednesday, November 10 at the Sri Lanka Medical Association's auditorium at 12.15 p.m. (noon), and at the Lanka Hospital's auditorium at 6 p.m.

Dr. Beattie has a general interest in clinical geriatrics with a particular interest in dementia care, especially diagnosis and treatment of disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. She is the Director of the Clinic for Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias at the University of British Columbia Hospital.
For more information please call the Lanka Alzheimer's Foundation on 2583488 or 0777 763592.

Asoka Weeraratna - remembered

The German Dharmaduta Society and the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya Sanrakshana Mandalaya jointly commemorated the 11th death anniversary of Asoka Weeraratna (Ven. Mitirigala Dhammanisanthi Thera), the founder of the German Dharmaduta Society, Berlin Vihara and the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya (Forest Hermitage) at a pinkama held in the Meditation Hall of the Mitirigala Forest Hermitage on Vap Poya Day, October 22.

Ven. U. Dhammajiva Thera, Chief Preceptor of the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya Aranya, delivered an anusasana on this occasion referring to the contributions made by Asoka Weeraratna towards the spread of Buddhism and the establishment of the Buddha Sasana in Germany and other western countries, and uplift of the practice of meditation, an important pillar for sustenance of Buddhism in SriLanka, by establishing the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya ( Forest Hermitage ) for monks.

Dr. Manel Lakdivdas ( President, GDS), Professor Jayadeva Tilakasiri (former President, GDS), Hemantha Ranavaka (Hony. Secretary, Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya Sanrakshana Mandalaya) and Senaka Weeraratna (Hony. Secretary, GDS ) also spoke at the function.

Home for senior citizens

The Holy Trinity Home for Senior Citizens will be open soon at the OMI Retreat centre in Adiambalama near Katunayake.

Rates will be nominal. Vacancies are available and those interested are requested to call 0777751536, 0773687782 or 0773613888. Donations in cash or kind for the maintenance of this home for senior citizens are also welcome.

Appointed NDB Bank Endowed Professor in Entrepreneurship

NDB Bank, together with the University of Moratuwa, announces the appointment of Professor A. K. W. Jayawardane as the 'NDB Bank Endowed Professor in Entrepreneurship'. The first of its kind; this initiative is in line with NDB Bank's vision of encouraging an entrepreneurial culture and empowering youth by bridging the gap between academia and industry in order to build a nation of 'Job Creators' against 'Job Seekers'.

The 'NDB Bank Endowed Professor in Entrepreneurship' will primarily support invaluable research that will lay the foundation for an entrepreneurial culture. Additionally, a viable minor in Entrepreneurship in the BSc Engineering degree curricular with teaching material, publications in internationally recognized journals, books, monographs and research reports, securing of research and scholarship awards for post graduate students, participation in national and international research collaborations, and promoting entrepreneurs will take place.

Prior to his appointment as NDB Bank Endowed Professor in Entrepreneurship, Prof. Ananda Jayawardane was the Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Moratuwa and has served as the first Head of Department of Management of Technology, Head, Department of Civil Engineering and as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the same University. Prof. Ananda Jayawardane is also the President of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka and has served in the Council of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka for over 10 years.

An evening of unique music

Award winning choirs - Revelations and Voice Print with The De Lanerolle Brothers as guest artists will be seen in a concert presented by the Christian Reformed Church, Dehiwela on Saturday November 13 at the Ladies College Hall starting at 7. pm.

The Revelations ranked 7th at the world choir championships will perform an array of songs. Voice Print performed at the Water's Edge last month. The De Lanerolle Brothers have travelled extensively here and abroad enthralling fans with their wide repertoire.

The show is in aid of the Building Fund of the Christian Reformed Church. Tickets are available at the Commons and at Crescat - Vision Care.

A fete for the faithful sale

St. Mary’s Home for the elders at 204, T.B. Jaya Mawatha, Colombo 10, (adjoining St. Joseph’s College), run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, will have their fete for the faithful sale on Saturday November 20 and Sunday 21, from 9. a.m. to 9 p.m. All are welcome.

The first anniversary of the canonization of the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, Saint Jeanne Jugan, was celebrated recently

The little village girl who rose to sainthood as St. Jeanne was born in Cancale, in Ille-et-Vilaine, France, in the village of Petities Croix on October 25, 1792.

Sambuddhattva Jayanti lectures

The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka which in the 19th and 20th centuries pioneered the academic field of Buddhist studies has launched a series of events in commemoration of the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha's Enlightenment, the Sambuddhatva Jayanti.

The next lecture will be on Monday, November 15 when Dr. Ananda W. P. Guruge will talk on Sri Lanka's Role in the Spread of Buddhism in the World. Dr. Guruge is the former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to UNESCO. He headed the government programme to celebrate 2500 Buddha Jayanti in 1956.

On Monday, November 29, Prof. Oliver Abeynayake will speak on the Supramundane Society of Buddhism.

George Steuart launches CD

George Steuart & Company 's Welfare Trust set up a few years ago to support employees and their families to pursue their academic and professional studies is launching a CD featuring the singing skills of their staff.

The CD will be launched at the Steuartian Family Day which will be celebrated today, November 7 as part of the company's 175th anniversary celebrations.

Build your market on a table

A grand table sale organized by the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association will be held on December 10. Tables could be reserved at Rs. 1000. Please contact Mrs. Atukorala on 2695720 or email: .
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