Preparations on for Zubin Mehta concert

Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta

SRINAGAR: Unfazed by opposition from separatists and threats from little-known militant groups, preparations are on in full swing for the ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ (Feel of Kashmir) music concert featuring world renowned music conductor Zubin Mehta here on Saturday.

German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner, who is hosting the concert before a specially-invited audience of 1,500 guests, is camping here to oversee the preparations for the event to be held in the famous Shalimar Garden built by Mughal Emperor Jehangir.

Steiner visited the venue where he was briefed about the security measures being put in place in view of threats issued by three less-known militant organizations against holding of the concert.

Mehta will share dais with several local musicians even as the Hurriyat’s parallel concert called “Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (Reality of Kashmir) to project the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir will be held not far away from Shalimar Garden.

The separatists claim that holding of Mehta’s concert in a “conflict zone” will change the nature of Kashmir dispute.

Mehta’s Bavarian orchestra will conduct a composition of Abhay Rustom Sopori, a santoor player who is the son of Kashmiri music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori, before the Indian-origin conductor gets on with his orchestra. Sopori’s composition would have the theme “Tribute to Kashmir”.

Steiner was shown around the venue and briefed about the access control and other measures. He also inspected the podium where Mehta and his 100-strong Orchestra will perform.

Mehta is scheduled to conduct Bavarian State Orchestra and play composition of the 18th century composer Ludwig van Beethoven, considered a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music.

He will also play compositions of Franz Joseph Haydn, the Austrian composer who is often called the “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the 19th Century Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music.

However, concerns over the security have emerged after little-known outfits-Al Nasireen, Farzandan-e-Millat and Shuhda Brigade-yesterday threatened to target foreign tourists in Kashmir if the German Embassy went ahead with the concert.

The security grid has since been busy since been busy doing an assessment of the situation. A senior official said they are trying to locate the origin of the statement and also the strength of these three organizations in the valley.

The separatists have opposed the concert with hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani saying it would affect the “disputed status” of Kashmir.

“India is going to use this event to project an image of normalcy and content in Kashmir to the international community,” he said while appealing to the German envoy to reconsider the holding of the event. The Hurriyat hawk has called for a general strike on the day Mehta performs here. -PTI

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