Denmarks royal choir on first India visit

New Delhi: Joyful music heralding the spring and summer seasons after a biting cold European winter forms part of the repertoire that the elite Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir brings on its first visit to India this May.

The visiting choir in cooperation with the Danish Embassy is set to perform here on May 10.

"We have never been to India before and I am under the impression that not many people in the country are familiar with the choir tradition. I hope people will love it," Ebbe Munk, director and chief conductor told PTI.

Cathedral choirs and their choir schools are among some of the oldest musical traditions in Europe and presently the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir CRCC is the only representative of this tradition in Scandinavia- a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Having performed at concert halls, cathedrals and festivals in China, South America, Australia, Japan and other countries, what the conductor says they have missed till now is a concert in India as well the opportunity to collaborate with musicians from the country.

"We were hoping to play along with Balamurali Krishnan but the maestro schedule was packed this time and we were not able to get matching dates," says Munk.

The conductor says he had attended a concert by Pandit Ravi Shankar but does not get to listen to enough of Indian music.

"We have bought to India a mix of our music. We have popular Scandinavian gypsy hymns for summer, some music by German composers, a little bit of Danish music and some Russian music. It has been very challenging for me to select the range of music," says Munk.

The conductor who was himself a choir boy at CRCC who later went on to become the director says the future of music in another two decades or three is going to be a wait and watch one.

"Globally there is a lot of change. India and China are part of growing influential countries and what is to be seen is whether in the next say 20 to 30 years we are looking at a world where there is an assimilation of culures and music or one where there is no intermingling," says the conductor.

He says he has been surprised at his experiences of audiences in different countries.

"In Brazil and South America I was pleasantlty surprised to see a very sophisticated and critical audience with an understanding of traditional European music. In China the audience was extremely foreign to us and we could not make out. In Japan too we had an audience who was well informed," says the conductor.

Meanwhile, in India a vist to the Taj Mahal is one that members of the choir are looking forward to. "We would have loved to perform with the Taj as a backdrop, perhaps on our next visit we can coodinate that," says Munk.

Founded in the year 1924, the CRCC has during the recent years been touring with both both ancient classical and contemporary works. The group bagged a Grammy in 2002 for a recording of Buxtehude`s Cantatas together with London`s Dufay Collective.

Compositions by Robert Schumann, Niels W Gade as well as a composition "Born in Denmark" by famous Danish writer Hans Chrisitan Anderson will be performed at the concert in Delhi.

After their India tour the choir is headed next to Sri Lanka where they will dedicate their performance on April 29 to Britiain`s Prince William and Kate Middleton who are getting married on the same day.

Previously the CRCC had performed at the wedding of Denmark`s Crown Prince Frederik.

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