The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nursery of notes
- Moheener Ghoraguli co-founder and choir master
Abraham Mazumder is back with a baton

Tucked away in a corner of Bagha Jatin a new conservatory, of western classical music is being tuned. With musical insights for pop/rock enthusiasts and Bach aficionados alike, Kolkata Music Academy is an initiative of music conductor and violinist — and Moheener Ghoraguli co-founder — Abraham Mazumder and his wife Madhusree.

The academy will provide intensive lessons on a range of classical instruments like guitar, violin, viola, cello, piano and also singing for a grounding in western styles through practical and technical lessons. Students enrolled in the school will be introduced to varied musical tastes, ages and backgrounds, simultaneously learning how to play Schubert and Mozart, strum and sing Hotel California or jam to a John Coltrane piece.

Abraham has been toying with the idea of such a comprehensive academy for a few years now. Things finally fell into place following his retirement from La Martiniere for Boys this August, where he worked as choir master and music teacher for 25 years. “I wanted to create a classical base for the growing number of youngsters doing popular music. They have strong interest but lack basic training,” explains Abraham.

The courses start at the Preparatory level and go up to Grade VIII, based on the curriculum of Associated Board of Royal School of Music, London, that will be taught through 45-minute-long classes every week by a five-member faculty. Spread over four classrooms, a practice room and a rehearsal space for 50 musicians, Abraham will train students in violin, viola and cello, while Madhusree will teach piano and western singing. Classical guitar, music theories, violin and viola will be taught by Anubrata Ghatak, while students will get lessons in classical piano, blues and jazz styles from Pradyumna Manot. Classes on Rabindrasangeet and special sessions for the underprivileged are also in the offing. Students of the Academy will also be able to sit for their grade tests at the Bagha Jatin address, with visiting examiners from the Royal School of Music. “We’re looking for sponsors among ex-students who might be willing to go and teach in orphanages and villages. I will personally go and hold Kodaly (introductory) classes to test their aptitude and form a group,” says Abraham.

To be launched around end-October, the Academy already boasts a student strength of 55, ranging from seven to 25-year-olds who have been attending classes since September. “Our ultimate aim is to form a philharmonic orchestra in Calcutta. We want to be flexible and do jazz and blues too, so that our students can perform symphonic works with professional musicians around the country,” stresses Abraham.

If weekend workshops by well-known city musicians will help students brush up their skills, young musicians wanting to form bands or create their own music can attend music appreciation classes. “We plan to get musicians like Rupam, Sidhu, Goutam Ghosh, Sraboni Sen, Monojit Dutta and others to discuss topics like modern Bengali singing with western elements, how to approach lyric writing, opera singing, jazz and blues and Rabindrasangeet,” says the music mentor.

Mohua Das

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