Zubin Mehta to perform in Kashmir’s Shalimar garden | Live telecast in India and Europe

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New Delhi, August 23: Kashmir will soon reverberate with western classical music played to the baton of renowned music conductor of international repute, Zubin Mehta. He will travel to Kashmir, his second visit since 1970s, to perform at the historic Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar on September 7. He will conduct a strong team of over 100 musicians.
The idea of a western classical music concert in Kashmir took root last year when Mehta visited Delhi. The Indian-born musician had then announced at a State reception at the German Embassy: “I wish one day I could play in Kashmir. I will cancel every appointment to come and do that.”
Mehta has spoken nostalgically of a trip he made to Kashmir and the mountainous Ladakh region with his wife Nancy Kovack and their children in 1974.
The event titled ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ (The Feel of Kashmir) is being organized by German Embassy in India with the assistance of Central and J&K governments.
Talking to media-persons here on Thursday, German Ambassador Michael Steiner declared that the concert is for the people of Kashmir. The event has materialized after his prolonged interactions with cross-section of people in Kashmir from different walks of life. This is a wonderful cultural tribute to Kashmir and its warm-hearted people, he added.
“We want to reach to people of Kashmir through this concert with a message of hope and encouragement,” he said.
However, he refused to define the event as a peace effort.
Declaring it as a purely cultural programme, he said that the programme has nothing about politics and classical diplomacy. “It is more about an effort from one part of the civil society to reach out to another part of the civil society and an attempt to connect with the people of Kashmir.”
Steiner, who was flanked by noted Santoor player Pandit Bhajan Sopori and Bashir Ahmed Bhat, Secretary, J&K Cultural Academy, said the Zubin Mehta Concert is part of a broader engagement. The concert will be all inclusive and deliver a unique message connecting Kashmiris with the rest of the world.
Terming it as a landmark event in the modern history of Kashmir, he said that it will be a full-fledged classical concert, broadcast and telecast live all over India and in Europe and will be professionally recorded. While Doordarshan will be the India head for live coverage, European Broadcasting Union will receive feed signals in Europe from India’s official broadcaster.
This, he felt, would connect Kashmir with rest of India and the world. Asked about the prevailing ground realities in Kashmir, he said that there is no doubt that the region has recorded noticeable progress over the past few years. The developments are heading towards a positive direction.
What after this high-profile concert? He said that the need of the hour is not to go for one-off events. “We should adopt a holistic approach as such events can contribute a lot in the overall development of Kashmir,” he further said.
Bhat said that this event will promote Kashmir and India as a whole on the tourism map of the world. He elaborated on the logistic support being provided by the State government in organizing this event.

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