2nd International Jazz Festival 2017


By Pratap Antony / / 7th December 2017

This year the Hyderabad Jazz Festival was on two days at two different venues.

Day one. 2nd of December 2017, it was on the lawns of the Secunderabad Club. And the second day, 3rd December, it was at the amphitheatre of Phoenix Arena.


The 3 bands that played at the Secunderabad Club on the 2nd, were a study in contrasts. They played music that was so different from each other that even the least knowledgeable about Jazz could hear the difference and know what dissimilar forms jazz could take. From a classical hued set by CRUISE CONTROL ON TRIO (CCO3), that amalgamated elements of jazz-like swinging rhythms and improvisation with classical guitar compositions to make music of an unusual, though transcendent, texture and tonality, to THE BEER PUPPETS, who twisted R&B and Neo soul – which itself is an interesting mix of contemporary soul music and Rhythm and blues – with interesting arrangements and improvisation to make it ‘Jazz’ that appealed to hard rock fans in the audience. And sandwiched in between these two contrasting bands was the MATTEO FRABONI “EUROPE MEETS INDIA” QUINTET whose contemporary compositions, arrangements and concept of an unusual quintet sound mixed well with mainstream jazz to create a unique set of driving Jazz that stimulated the mind, body and spirit.

     CRUISE CONTROL ON TRIO (CCO3) – comprising Martin Van Hees – Classical Guitarist & Composer, played a classical acoustic-electric guitar for this performance. Aktas Erdogan – Classical/Jazz Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist & Composer, played a double neck electric guitar with one neck fretless; he also played Turkish flute and an Armenian Duduk. Nello Biasini – Percussion, played a regular drum set.

All three conservatory trained musicians played a set of not just their own compositions, but music from the classical world and from jazz and pop. It was wonderful to hear such quiet, aesthetic and thoughtful music that balanced confidently between classical music and Jazz. So the audience were charmed to hear besides the bands own compositions, ‘Fragile’ by Sting, ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ from the Disney Movie ‘Sleeping Beauty’ that had been turned into a Jazz standard by Miles Davis and played as a solo in classical guitar style with a Jazz swing and improvisation by Martin van Hees. It was also so gratifying to hear a tango in a jazz concert, but that’s what we heard in the band’s ‘Tribute to Astor Piazzolla’ the Argentinian musician and composer, or to hear Cuban rhythms in a composition by Leo Brouwer of Cuba. To hear the surprisingly horn-like, plaintive sound from the tiny Duduk played by Aktas Erdogan in his own beautiful and sadness tinged composition and also in their composition called ‘Waltz for Duduk’, was an extraordinary experience. There were many pleasing moments while the trio played; and throughout, the drummer Nello Biasini was impeccable, everything he did was just right. So creative and such a perfect fit, it was delightful to hear a drummer who was so wholly coordinated and played so appropriately for this singular crossover between Jazz and Classical music, Cruise Control On Trio (Cco3).

     MATTEO FRABONI “EUROPE MEETS INDIA” QUINTET, as described, is a coming together of the artistes from Europe & India. And the music they played was a “voyage” through jazz, classical, Latin and Indian influences, led by the Italian drummer and composer Matteo Fraboni. The rest of the quintet comprised Sharat Srivastava – Violin who has been performing Hindustani classical music for over 25 years and was in the Indian rock band, Parikrama. Rainer Pusch is internationally renowned saxophonist, arranger and composer. Aditya Jayakar on Piano is also a composer from Mumbai and performs with jazz musicians in Mumbai. Abhinav Khokhar is a one of the few upright bass players in India who has been collaborating and composing with many Indian and international musicians over the years.

The closest one comes to describing the music that this quintet played is to say that it was a startling revelation of Jazz as an intercultural collaboration that was open to all influences. Not just that, it was inventive, and it was swinging.

Most of the compositions were by Matteo Fraboni except two, and one of them, ‘Jai Ho’ was arranged so that it was transformed into an extraordinarily lovely work of art. Matteo Fraboni’s composing and arranging talent is brilliant. The compositions and arrangements were both emotional and intellectual in their appeal and incorporated all the Quintets instrumental diversities and yet was mindful of the player’s individual “sound”. The Quintet was professional to the highest degree, the quintet’s individual and collective improvisation was spot on. Sometimes the violin and saxophone blended so well that they sounded like the brass section of a jazz band. Violinist Sharat Srivastava’s solos were fresh, distinctive and very personal in tone and mood yet fitted the overall composition, and Aditya Jayakar on Piano was in tune with the feel of the band and took some good rapid fire solos. But it was Rainer Pusch who stood out as a colossal musician who bared his emotions through his alto saxophone, displaying exquisite technique, artistic expression and musicianship, playing energetic and expressive solos. It was soul satisfying to hear him. And Abhinav Khokhar on bass was an ideal jazz bassist who thinks on his feet and harmonises and lays a solid foundation for the band. Of course Matteo Fraboni is a versatile drummer who plays an array of inventive swinging, syncopated rhythmic patterns to support the band, and a point to note is, though he is the leader composer and arranger of the quintet, he is restrained and does not give himself too much prominence, but remains an unobtrusive accompanist. Both the bassist and the drummers’ solos were well conceived and constructed.

Amongst Matteo Fraboni’s compositions was one called ‘Varda’, named after the cyclone that hit Chennai in 2016. Another was ‘The Society of Liquid Law’, and another called ‘Unknown Knowledge’. To hear this engaging Quintet was indeed a pleasure and a privilege.

     THE BEER PUPPETS set was full bodied, loud and appealed to the rock music lovers in the audience. Defining the music they performed at the Jazz festival is difficult. It could be called R & B, or it could be called Soul, or it could be called new form of rock, but it was performed with full-spirited energy and it could be called jazz too because there was a degree of improvisation. The guitar player Anthony Cammarota was versatile and surprisingly perceptive. Especially when he ‘comped’ behind the solos with interesting chords. But he played his solos sometimes like a shredding rock guitar player and sometimes as like a sensitive jazz guitarist. And of course there was Karim Ellaboudi on piano who is more a Jazz pianist than anything else, and it was his elegant, stylish and tasteful playing that made the music rise above itself. Shreya Bhattacharya’s is a gifted vocalist, her voice a powerful and supple instrument with which she belted out some fiery vocals. The bassist, Abhishek Dey, was the force to be reckoned with, it was he who was the drive behind the music, and his bass playing was outstanding as was his understanding of the music. And the drummer, Aron Nyiro’s musical intelligence was obvious, he has a wonderful sense of tune, tempo and dynamics and his technique and stick work and his ability to use every part of the drum set with telling effect was incredible. So while The Beer puppets music was hard to define as jazz, it was good music that could be only be played by Jazz influenced musicians.


It was an evening of fine music that was enjoyable, refreshing and artistic. And appealed to the senses and to the soul.


     Day Two. 3rd of December 2017, Phoenix Arena, Hyderabad. This was the day of atmospheric, imaginative, experimental music in the amphitheatre that was suitably bathed in the luminous glow of a full moon.

     UNDER THE SURFACE from Netherlands, comprised the leader, Joost Lijbaart, who played Drums & Percussion, Bram Stadhouders, Guitar & Electronics and Sanne Rambags, Vocals & Lyrics. The trio’s music seemed experimental, but was actually loosely structured to give each musician room to listen and respond. One could tell that Joost Lijbart was a skilled jazz drummer who kept control over the pieces that were played and kept the trio within the structure of the music, and Bram Stadhouders on acoustic-electric guitar provided the melodic hooks on which the remarkable young singer Sanne Rambags improvised using her voice as an instrument. Under The Surface played what sounded like open and experimental music, but was, in reality, precise, controlled and atmospheric, and the music gave the impression of it being balanced between magic and reality. The bands profile very aptly described their music as a “search for space through silence and improvisation”.


     C.A.R. is four young musicians from Koln, Germany, Leonhard Huhn on alto saxophone, bass clarinet and effects, he pushes the boundaries of music by creating a delicate web of sound heavily altered by electronic effect devices. And Christian Lorenzen who plays Piano and Synthesizer is one of Germany´s flagship jazz musicians, Kenn Hartwig on acoustic-electric Bass is equally, or more at home with electronics and researching the world of sound. And Johannes Klingebiel on drums plays many genres of music but more of Techno and Deep House.


The four musicians of C.A.R. concocted a brew of musical sounds that incorporated jazz, experimental music and free improvisation that, as someone said, “carries you away like a cloud”.


The Erik Truffaz headed outfit played their set of exotic music last. Erik Truffaz lyrical and melodious trumpet lines were played over looped repeating patterns of sounds from his own trumpet, similar to an elephant trumpeting, and these sounds were sometimes draped over a grating factory-floor like groove, or sometimes to more atmospheric dreamlike groove similar to Miles Davis experimented and was done with towards the end of his life. Comparing Erik Truffaz and Miles Davis is not far-fetched, because Erik Truffaz does play his trumpet with the same spare, thoughtful, melancholic feel as Miles Davis, but in this concert these are patched on to textures and atmospheres created by his band. Riatsu, who composes ambient techno to dark ambient electronic music. Anand Bhagat percussionist known for his skills with the West African Djembe and played the Didgeridoo too for some of the more exotic soundscapes, and multi Instrumentalist voice and guitar player Neil Gomes. However experimental the music may have sounded to an audience, Erik Truffaz music and the sound of his band, though out of the ordinary, it is engaging and interesting.


All in all, it was an extraordinary two days of music. The music was quite unusual, often on the thin edge of Jazz, but it was a wonderful experience to listen to such diverse sounds and such a diverse range of music from an array of great musicians, every one of whom believed in what they were doing and gave us in the audience everything they had with holding back.

The 2nd Hyderabad International Jazz Festival was conceived, coordinated, and made to happen through institutions as Hyderabad Western Music Foundation, Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad, Alliance Française Hyderabad, US Consulate, Secunderabad Club, Phoenix-Arena and just a few sponsors and donors.

2nd International Hyderabad Jazz Festival – videos:

Cruise Control On:

Matteo Fraboni Quintet:

Beer Puppets:

Under the surface:


Erik Truffaz:



Songs from La La Land and Beyond – Harmony Children’s Chorus & Sandra Oberoi & Deccan Voices – 5th Nov.

Harmony – The Music School (Bangalore) and Hyderabad Western Music Foundation are pleased to present “Songs from La La Land and Beyond”

Sandra Oberoi & Harmony Children’s Chorus (Bangalore) & Accompanist/piano: Dr. Iryna Tsarenko plus

Deccan Voices (Hyderabad)

When: Sunday, 5th November, 6pm

Where: Vidyaranya High School (opp. Secretariat; next to Hotel Anmol)

Enjoy an evening of exquisite music that will strike a chord in your hearts, light a fire in your souls and set your feet tapping! From folk to classical, jazz to music theatre, there’s something for everyone at this musical extravaganza! A few students of the Harmony Children’s Chorus have also won international awards in singing and have performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. Some Hyderabadis might remember Sandra singing here in town, back in 2013 along with her two opera singer friends from the US!

Concert write-up by Pratap Antony / Hyderabad Western Music Foundation / 7/11/2017


I had the great pleasure of being in the audience at a very special evening of choral music by a choir of young people aged between, perhaps, 10 and 15, who presented the audience with a beautiful gift of lively and vibrant music.

This 16 or 17 voice choir that brought so much joy to the audience was ‘Harmony Children’s Chorus’ from Bangalore. The choir consisted of students of Sandra Oberoi’s ‘Harmony’ Music School in Bangalore.

Sandra Oberoi is a Western vocalist and music educator who is responsible for fostering the talent of these young musicians, and who, I’m sure, inculcated the young choristers with the astonishing self confidence that they displayed; and invested the singers with good intonation, verve, understanding, and the ability to sing well beyond their years. The natural clarity of the children’s voices while they shared their joy in making music gave us in the audience even greater joy.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, the evenings programme on the 5th of November 2017 at Vidyaranya School was organised by the Hyderabad Western Music Foundation and Harmony-The Music School (Bangalore), and began with a short recital by the Deccan Voices, a twin cities based group of enthusiastic

singers from a “medley” of backgrounds and cultures brought together by their shared passion for vocal music. The Deccan Voices sang, ‘The Music is Always There With You’ by the eminent composer, John Rutter, followed by ‘Suo Gan’, a Welsh lullaby. They then performed four songs from the Oscar winning movie ‘La La Land’, the songs were ‘City of Stars’, ‘Another Day of Sun’, ‘Audition – Fools who Dream’ and ‘Someone in the Crowd’. Kudo’s to the Deccan Voices for performing without looking at the music sheets and with minimal direction from Joe Koster the choir director who accompanied the choir on keyboard and who had also trained the choir for performance.

Let’s get back to the main event, ‘Harmony Children’s Chorus’ from Bangalore; they performed a selection of ten songs, the programming was well thought out and the songs were interestingly performed, the talented musicians

/vocalists sang with zest and exciting musicality, the sound was always clean, the diction clear and they kept the rhythms strong, spicy and accurate while maintaining pitch with amazing ease and composure. All the songs were sung from memory. The children in the choir were so musically gifted that it was hard to believe that they were just school children. And so we must  give credit to their teacher Sandra Oberoi for song selection, programming of the music, for her wonderful attention to detail; for arranging some of the songs and for training and bringing out the children’s talent and musicianship and preparing them perfectly to express their joy in making music without inhibition, and for making them shine like the little stars that they were, so that we in the audience could experience their musical gifts through their smiling eyes, swaying limbs and their heartfelt singing.

Worth mentioning is that Sandra Oberoi had designed this programme, so that every singer got to sing either a solo, or be part of a duo or trio along with the choir to display their talent. The eminent pianist, Irina Tsarenko accompanied The Harmony Children’s Chorus. Since all the soloists and the chorus performed much more captivatingly than I ever expected, I will not describe how they sang each song, suffice it to say they displayed impressive musicianship. This is the programme in the order that they performed.

The first song they performed was Flower Duet – This pretty song, composed by Leo Delibes for the opera, ‘Lakme’, was sung by two sopranos, a boy and a girl along with the chorus. They next performed Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Reqiem. This too, was sung by two sopranos and chorus. Next was Lord make Me An Instrument of Thy peace – this acapella (unaccompanied) piece by Michael John Trotta is based on a French poem that used soft harmony and counterpoint brought out the beauty of this song. Tomorrow, from the musical ‘Annie‘, and arranged by Sandra Oberoi, was sung by a soloist and chorus. The well known song  I Could Have Danced All Night, from My Fair Lady, was arranged by Sandra Oberoi for soloists and chorus. Memory – from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘Cats’. Sandra Oberoi expressively rendered this song accompanied by Irina Tsarenko, and listening to this song moved me inside out, despite having heard the song by many singers both live, recorded and on youtube by the original cast of ‘Cats’, so, this became the most beautiful rendition of the song I’ve ever heard. Rise Up by Swiss DJ and composer Yves LaRock was next by soloist and chorus. An Evening Prayer from Hansel Gretel  and opera by 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdink. Next was the charming song How Far I’ll Go from the Disney animated movie ‘Moana’ again for soloists and chorus. It was this tune I think, which had a young little dancer in a tutu dance, while this song was being sung. It was endearing, to say the least. The next song, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, from the movie ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ was rendered so dramatically and well by the two fiercely competitive singers that the audience was thoroughly amused and entertained. The song Chili Con Carne – was next, by Swedish composer, Anders Edenroth, who sings in the acapella singing group ‘Real Group’. This song is a simple recipe for a Mexican dish that is insanely hard to sing, especially to maintain its rhythmic vitality and tempo, and more than ever while dancing, which the Chorus did so well. The last part of the set was called Bollywood Medley, this medley of ‘Bollywood’ songs was arranged by Sandra Oberoi and was good fun.

Sandra Oberoi and the Harmony Children’s Chorus from Bangalore are talented and committed singers brought to us freshness of young musical minds that are lighting a path to a bright musical future.

The Hyderabad Western Music Foundation (HWMF) once again brought the Twin Cities a good musical experience. The indefatigable organiser-in-chief, Joe Koster, founder director of HWMF, and musical director of Deccan Voices, thanked the Vidyaranya School for supporting HWMF and the Deccan Voices, who use the school premises for practices and for concerts, for their quiet but resolute support to music in the twin cities.


Concert videos:

Sandra Oberoi & Harmony Children’s Chorus

Deccan Voices:

City of Stars from La La Land

Another Day of Sun from La La Land

Someone in the Crowd from La La Land

The Fools Who Dream from La La Land

The Music’s always there with you – John Rutter

Suo Gan – Traditional Welsh Lullaby – Mark Burrows


2nd International Hyderabad Jazz Festival – 2 & 3 December @Secunderabad Club & Phoenix-Arena







Crossover project between Jazz and Classical music. Apart from jazz standards, the trio bring together sounds from the East, the West, and the Southern Cultures into their music and perform their own original compositions influenced by classical, jazz, world and pop music.






Martin van HeesClassical guitar – Parallel to his solo career, Martin is part of chamber ensembles, contemporary music ensembles and theatre/dance productions. He graduated from the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague with excellence & distinction for his contribution to contemporary music and has performed in India in 2014, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands in 2016.


Aktas Erdogan – Virtuoso guitarist with a background in both classical and jazz. He graduated from the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague. He also attended the jazz department for one year in Brussels Conservatoire. Parallel to his solo career as a classical guitarist, Aktas performs with various jazz formations, including his own quartet.


Nello Biasini (1991) – Drummer, educator and music producer. He holds two Bachelor’s Degrees with excellence – in Pop drums from Codarts University (The Netherlands) and Jazz drums from Conservatoire “A.Casella” (Italy). Nello performs with different line-ups and is being involved in different styles of music; jazz, jazz funk, hip hop, electro funk, rap, cumbia, soul pop, trip hop, and folk.









"EUROPE MEETS INDIA" Led by the Italian drummer Matteo Fraboni, the Quintet is is a coming together of the artistes from Europe & India and a "voyage" through jazz, classical, Latin and other influences.


Matteo Fraboni – Drums, Composer

Italian drummer Matteo Fraboni is a jazz musician, drummer and composer, with sound sense of interplay in many genres of music. His 1st album distributed by EMI/Universal won the ‘Best International Album’ from a Tokyo paper in 2012, and Best Young Drummer from Drum Club 2015. He has composed for film and has collaborated with A. R. Rehman.

Sharat Chandra Srivastava – Violin

Sharat Srivastava learned violin from his grandfather, the renowned North Indian violinist Pt Joi Srivastava and has been performing Hindustani classical music for over 25 years. He was part rock band Parikrama for 12 years and was then a member of the world music quartet India Alba.

Rainer Pusch – Saxophonist, Composer & Arranger

Rainer Pusch is musician and teacher of saxophone and improvisation in India, Nepal & China. He has performed with many great jazz and Indian classical and fusion projects & holds a diploma in ‘Performance’ from Berklee College of Music, Boston and has studied Carnatic music at the Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chennai (Tamil Nadu).

Anurag Naidu – Piano/Electrical Piano

Anurag Naidu is a Classical turned Jazz pianist. Having studied at The Bill Evans Piano Academy in Paris, he has gone on to play with legends like A Hariharan, Ustad Zakhir Hussain and AR Rahman to name a few. He has developed his own style of Jazz Piano Trios where he uses influences from Indian music, Funk and traditional jazz to create a unique sound.

Abhinav Khokhar  – Bass

Abhinav Khokhar is a one of the few upright bass players in India. He has been collaborating and writing with many Indian and international musicians from various genres of music for years now, and is fluent with various forms of music from the swing era to contemporary pop music.








The beer puppets play straight ahead Jazz as well as contemporary, R&B and Soul/Jazz-fusion



Shreya Bhattacharya is a full time Jazz, R&B, Neosoul vocalist who likes experimenting with all genres of music which includes pop and classical western music too. Graduating from the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. Shreya is dedicated to Beer Puppets but freelances with other musicians and has worked with several Indian and International ensembles. 



Abhishek Dey from Kolkata is known for his versatility and vocabulary on the instrument. A graduate from Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music, Abhishek has played with lot of Indian fusion bands and collaborated with European musicians has played sessions musician for the Tamil & Telugu film industry



Anthony Cammarota is a Los Angeles born multi-instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader who has performed with an eclectic variety of performing artists in the jazz, rock, pop, funk, hip-hop and electronic worlds and has composed and recorded music across North America, Europe and Asia



Karim Ellaboudi of Sudanese origin and raised in London is known for his immense energy, his virtuosity and his very engaging rhythmic sensibilities. He is equally at ease with Classical Music, R&B, Soul and Jazz. Karim has played club shows, concerts and jazz festivals around the UK and Europe. Now settled in Bombay, Karim is one of the most in-demand sessions players in the Indian music circuit.



Aron Nyiro from Hungary studied jazz drums at the Kodolány János University College and further at Conservatorium van Amsterdam after freelancing and playing and recordings with the very best of the Hungarian musicians. Aron is now the head of the drum department of the True School of Music in Mumbai and regularly plays with the finest in the Indian music scene.

SUNDAY, 3rd  DECEMBER – 6.30pm onwards @ PHOENIX-ARENA 6.30pm onwards


Under the Surface is a unique trio with an open group sound who through their beautiful and precise playing search for space through silence and improvisation, balancing magic and reality.





Joost Lijbaart – Drums & Percussion

Under the surface is a project of drummer Joost Lijbaart from Amsterdam. He belongs to the top of the Dutch jazz scene

Bram Stadhouders – Guitar & Electronics

Bram Stadhouders is one of the most promising new young musicians in the European improvisation circuit and he has received many awards

Sanne Rambags – Vocals & – Lyrics

Sanne Rambags improvises in a very open way positioning herself completely between the musicians giving her voice the function of an instrument


Four young musicians from Cologne Koln create a melange of sound. Jazz and Krautrock, electronics and cyberpunk, improvisation and experiment that carries you away like a cloud. 






Leonhard Huhn – Saxophone

Leonhard Huhn explores jazz, experimental music and free improvisation using overtone singing, analogue synthesizers and non commonplace electronic effects in a band context. He is a highly sought after player in different ensembles in these genres in Germany and Europe.

Christian Lorenzen – Piano, Synthesizer

Christian Lorenzen studied jazz piano in Cologne. He is considered as one of Germany´s flagship jazz musicians and has established a deep signature sound which makes him stand out from the generic jazz pianist.

Kenn Hartwig – Double Bass, Effects

Kenn Hartwig is in his own realm in the world of double bass which vastly shapes the sound of C.A.R. He was a member of the German national Youth Jazz Orchestra “Bujazzo”, that travelled the world. Guitar effect pedals of his own design, expand his music deep into experimental and electronic music. 

Johannes Klingebiel – Drums

Johannes Klingebiel has played in all kinds of formations from classical orchestras to rock bands since childhood. Today his focus lies in his work with C.A.R. He regularly plays at festivals and club nights in cities like Berlin, Antwerp, Madrid or Prague


Jazz electro music collages mixes textures and atmospheres in an experimental approach to jazz music that can be described as intimate, exotic and incendiary.







Erik Truffaz – Trumpet

Erik Truffaz is a veteran Swiss-French jazz trumpeter who infuses elements of hip hop, rock and roll. His breathy toned lyricism and the seductive aura of his solo’s and his experimental approach to jazz music is sometimes compared to Miles Davis. Truffaz’s compositions are sometimes described as “collages”. He is with the Blue Note Label since 1996.

Riatsu – Ambient Electronic Musician

Riatsu is the recording name of Shadaab Kadri from Mumbai and has been part of the Mumbai independent music circuit for over a decade. Shadaab has not only been composing electronic music that stretches from ambient techno to dark ambient, Shadaab has also created scores and jingles and soundtrack music for various visual features spread over a spectrum of genres

Anand Bhagat – Percussion

Anand Bhagat is the Mumbai-based guest percussionist known for his skills with the West African Djembe. His music is inspired by his travels around the world.

Neil Gomes – Multi-Instrumentalist

Goa born and Mumbai based, Jose Neil Gomes doesn’t believe in being proficient in one or two musical instruments. He can play nearly two dozen instruments and has released his debut EP, Systematic.



Piano Festival 2017 -The Jury in Concert 11th Nov. – Grand Finale Concert 12th Nov.

 Twin-Cities Piano Festival 2017 –

The Jury in Concert (11th Nov.) & Grand Finale (12th Nov)


Hyderabad Western Music Foundation and Musee Musical are pleased to present two young Indian pianists – who also represent the jury of the Piano Festival 2017 – together live in concert!

When: Saturday, 11th November 2017 – 6pm
Where: Vidayaranya High School (opp. Secretariat; next to Hotel Anmol)
Shantanu Patel
Shantanu finished his M.Mus. (Masters of Music) in advanced piano performance and conducting skills from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is currently performing across the country. He graduated with B.A. (Hons) in Music specialising in performance from Middlesex University, London and also holds a diploma in higher music education from KM College of Music and Technology.
His repertoire for the evening:
Mozart: 12 Variations in C Major ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman’ KV.265
Chopin: Scherzo in B flat minor Op.31 No.2
Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G minor Op.23 No.5
Debussy: Pour le piano
Cecil Vineet Abhishek
Cecil is a composer-orchestrator, engineer, and a singer-songwriter, with a Masters Degree in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games from Berklee College of Music and a Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance.
He will present an orchestrated version of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor, op. 2 no. 3 – where he shall be playing the piano live, with his own orchestral arrangement produced on Digital Performer – a Digital Audio Workstation.


Piano Festival – Grand Finale Concert
with all the selected participants (pianists and other instruments).
Come and listen to some of the best musical talents in town!
Sunday, 12th November, 6pm
at Vidyaranya High School
The Sunday concert is free. All are welcome.


A Celebration of Music Played on Piano

Pratap Antony / 15/11/2017/HWMF

     Hyderabad Western Music Foundation, Musee Musical and Vidyaranya School, whose hallways and playgrounds are imbued with the sound of music, created this two day ‘Twin Cities Piano Festival 2017’ on the 11th and 12th of November.

     The Twin Cities Piano Festival 2017 was really a tribute to pluralism and the composite culture that the twin cities of Hyderabad & Secunderabad. It was also a tribute to the parents of music students, and music teachers, proving that the people of the Twin cities appreciate and encourage good music, even music that is not rooted in local culture.

     Hyderabad Western Music Foundation and Musee Musical were very clear on why this was called a Piano festival. It is a festival because it was not a competition; it was a celebration of the music played on a Piano. And why piano? Why not keyboard? Because the Piano is an acoustic, wooden musical instrument that produces a sound in which the tone colour and timbre is natural and rich. It is the true instrument to bring out the beauty of Western Classical music. A Yamaha Grand Piano was provided for the festival by Musee Musical (Western Musical Instruments and Music education), to celebrate their 175th year in the service of music.

     Western classical music, as we call it, can be described as ‘art’ music that stands the test of time and remains relevant to generations after it has been composed. It is music that’s been composed and written in music notation so that musicians can play it by reading the musical notation, and so Western Classical music, or, really, all Classical music, ‘Carnatic’ and’ Hindustani’ Classical music is played and listened to for centuries after being composed, just as plays by Kalidasa or Shakespeare are ‘classics’ because they are still read, performed and enjoyed even today, centuries after they were written.

     So, the music of Western Classical composers such as J.S Bach (1685-1750), W.A. Mozart (1756-1791), F. Schubert (1797-1827) and F. Lizst (1811-1886), live on even today, and pieces by these composers amongst other older and more recent composers, were performed by the young pianists/musicians on the 12th of November.

Day Two – Grand Finale of the Piano Festival

     The 18 pianists (1 recorder) selected out of 44 who auditioned, displayed their musical abilities on the piano on the 12th of November. And it was impressive to hear so many young piano students aged between 7 and 16 show an interested audience how well they could play.

     It was such great mix of young people and the names of the 18 pianists that played showed how music brings together people of different communities, and regional cultures.

     The order of the young pianists who played, according to the programme, was: Samuel A. Marcus 30 (announced as a special guest), Vivek Mathur – 15, Ananda Gopalakrishnan – 11, Akundi Indravandith Karthikeya – 11, Rushabh Musthyala – 16, Lakshay B. – 12, Samyuktha Nandineni – 13, Dhriti Agarwal – 14 & Omi Vegada (four hands), Bindu Sravanthi – 16, P. Vishal Reddy – 14, Kshittiesh Bharadwaj – 15,& Khiyati Bharadwaj,  Kashvi Aggarwal – 7, P. Harshith Reddy – 13, Ananya Achanta – 13, Christine Grace Khumuckcham – 14, Devulapalli Sai Sri Vaishnavi – 13, Yash Agarwal -13,  Saketh Ram Josyabhatla – 15.  

     Music is the greatest communication in the world and these young musicians were so proficient; of course, some more so than others – a few showed so much promise that it looks like there will be more concert pianists from India in the making – so that we in the audience marvelled at their gift of music. Both Mamta & Jagruti of Musee Musical, and Joe Koster of Hyderabad Western Music Foundation acknowledged that it is the parents and teachers of these musically endowed young musicians who have to be lauded, for recognising the children’s need for music and for encouraging them to learn, practice and develop their talent. 

Day One The Concert pianists of the Piano Festival

     We will now come back to the first day of the Piano Festival, the 11th of November 2017. As part of the two day piano festival, two judges who were brought in from Ahmadabad and Mumbai to audition and select the pianists for the 12th of November, performed a selection of classical pieces on the 11th November.

     The musicians were Shantanu Patel, a concert pianist from Ahmedabad who has returned from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Masters of Music (MU) in performance and conducting, he is also an B.A. (Hons.) in music, specialising in performance, from Middlesex University, London. Cecil Vineet is a composer orchestrator, singer/songwriter, with a Masters degree in scoring for Film, Television and Video games from the Berklee College of Music, Boston, he also holds a Licentiate Diploma in Piano performance.

     Though I love classical music, I am not a musician enough, or expert enough, to tell whether the pianist interprets a composer well or not, I will only say this about Shantanu Patel’s playing, that he plays very naturally, fluidly and effortlessly, he could bang the hell out of the piano and then play as softly as a whispered secret, he balanced lyricism and piano gymnastics skilfully, yet captured the sentiment of all the pieces he played.

    Shantanu Patel began the evenings programme with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Twelve Variations on theme “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman“(English: “Ah, Mother, if I could tell you”), K.265, based upon a French folk song.

    Mozart’s work began by stating the basic theme, the familiar tune “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and then with such a simple theme, Mozart creates variations of the theme with modifications and embellishment in rhythms, harmonies and texture and yet we recognise the melody throughout. Mozart’s genius is mind blowing.

     Next he played Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31 by Frédéric Chopin, composed and published in 1837. Chopin, many feel, is the best composer for the piano. Shantanu Patel introduced this piece by saying that though the composition is in B flat minor, most of the work is written in D flat major.

     The third work Shantanu played was Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, which he completed in 1901. The pianist displayed speed and subtlety both in the very intense fast sections and also in the calm ones!

    Shantanu Patel concluded his programme with Prelude pour le piano, L. 95, a three movement piano suite, Prelude, Sarabande and Toccata composed  by Claude Debussy, one of the most innovative composers who completed this work in 1903. Prelude pour le piano did not seem easy to play but was played in a way that seemed effortless.

     Cecil Vineet Abhishek, the modest and self effacing musician, in his introduction, said, he had added orchestral accompaniment to Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 3, No. 2, one of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s most famous Piano compositions, electronically, as is done in many movie and television serials. He then displayed his skill in not only playing the piano, but in programming, scoring and arranging the Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-sharp minor in a tasteful arrangement like a Concerto for piano and orchestra.

     The programme concluded with a surprise, with both the pianists getting together to play a four hand piece.     

     It is not common for the Twin Cities to hear a bona fide concert pianist play live, and so this was a rare auditory treat for this writer, and for all the other Western Classical music enthusiasts, thanks to the ‘Twin Cities Piano Festival 2017’ and the phenomenal effort put in by Joe Koster the chief organiser on behalf of the Hyderabad Western Music Foundation.  (write-up Pratap Antony HWMF).

Here some feedback HWMF received after the concert:

1) It is completely heart-warming to know the diversity and depth of musical talent that we have here! And special thanks to everyone who made it possible for such a lovely event to take place here…. Was really happy about the spirit of Excellence overpowering everything else !

2)I felt overwhelmed when my son played between such well established pianists. Tears rolled out. I think every Mother will feel the same. It was the most inspiring programme for us. I sincerely thank you and Musee Musicals for organising such event. Looking forward for more such Events

3)You made brilliant arrangements for the fest. I really appreciated your letting kids warm up before playing. It showed sensitivity. The certificate and voucher made all the kids feel happy and they didn’t stress about first second third prize. Congratulations again. I hope we can participate in your next Event

4)I deeply admire the spirit in which the festival was held. Truly you inspired a generation to love the piano and gave them a platform. Thank you


HWMF Academy – Students Concert – Sunday 29th Oct. @ Alliance Française

HWMF-Academy Students Recital – Sunday 29th October

Family, friends and students, we are pleased to announce our next student recital, featuring solo and duet vocal, piano, keyboard, flute, recorder and ukulele performances. 

Recital students group 1: 3.30-4.30pm

Recital students group 2: 5-6pm 

Venue: Alliance Française, Banjara Hills

Our students will be presenting jazz and western classical music as well selections from musical theatre and film such as Cats, Oliver, Pocohontas and La La Land.  

All are welcome. Entry free. Join us and support our aspiring musicians.

HWMF-Academy students recital programme

Group 1

Torita – Paint in Black flute solo

Torita (with NCB) – Mozart flute and clarinet duet 

Alok – Wigwam dance piano  

Avaan – Beginner piano solo  

Nidhi – Habanero (Carmen) ukulele solo

Kshiteissh & Khyati – recorder duet 

Yamini: Oh when the saints go marching in (keyboard)

Jordan: Mexican March (piano)

Jasmine: Memory from Cats – vocal/piano

Saksath: Boogie in the Diningcar – piano

Abhay: It only takes a moment – from Hello Dolly – vocal/piano

Rohan: The wit and wisdom of the night (Mark Tanner) – piano

Zara Rachael: Father in Heaven (Bach/Gounod) – vocal/piano

Ananja: Giga in D minor by Richard Jones – piano

Advait: Funky town – 4 hand piano, with Ananja


Nalini: I got rhythm – Gershwin – vocal/piano

Daniel: Forty Winks by Mark Tanner (latin) keyboard

Damini: Le Charme (Ernest Chausson 1855-1899) from Sept Melodies, Op. no. 2 – vocal/piano

Group 2

Samy – Beethoven flute duo

Tweety – Where is Love (Oliver) vocal/musical theatre 

Arnav – 10 little Indians 

Hasitha – My shadow 

Angel – Rain Song – fife/singing/percussion 

Adit – scotch dance 

Gautham – Ode to joy – keyboard

Ananya: Chattanooga  Choo Choo – piano/vocal – keyboard

Karthikeya: Street Beat – keyboard

Kirti: Colors of the Wind (Walt Disney Pocahontas) – vocal/piano

Bhavana: Somewhere over the rainbow – keyboard/vocal

Shreyas: Matsuri (Japanese Festival) by Michael McMillan – piano

Shreyas and Lasya: Carnatic Classical – Muchukunda varada – vocal/piano

Ishita: Sentimental Lady (Jazz Waltz) by Eduard Putz – piano

Harshith: Faded by Alan Walker – vocal/piano

Samjuktha: Le Coucou (the Cuckoo) by L. Daquin – piano

Saachi: Audition & City of stars (La La Land) – vocal/piano – plus Sarika violin

Kashvi: Tapping Heels (Alan Bullard) – piano