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May - 2018
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The City of Calcutta , a few years ago had a pride of place in India due to its classical orchestral tradition. It supported a large amateur orchestra, the Calcutta Symphony Orchestra, which comprised gentlemen/lady musicians of the city. The orchestra was formed during the late 1920s. It had some 65 musicians comprising all the symphonic instruments. It also had some illustrious conductors. It performed for many years maintaining the tradition of classical western music in the city and became an institution. Due to the lack of finance and the departure of the organizing conductors, this wonderful institution had to be disbanded. During its tenure, the orchestra existed as a close adjunct to the Calcutta School of Music

During the eighties Dr. Nagel of the Max Mueller Bhawan revived the orchestra mainly with the students and teachers of the Oxford Mission as a labour of love, in his spare time. This became a very successful orchestra with private sponsorships, and played symphonies with many visiting musicians from abroad. They also accompanied large choral groups in performances such as the Bach Christmas Oratorio, Mozart Requiem, Bach Matthew Passion, Händel Messiah, Symphonies and Solo concerts by Schubert, Beethoven, Bach and the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Dr Nagel had previously been Director of The Beethoven Festival and Days for Contemporary Music and also conductor of the Opera at Bonn. This orchestra faded out during the late eighties at the departure of Dr. Nagel from India. Thereafter, orchestral activities became limited to a few small school orchestras. It is, however, being revived with the Calcutta Chamber Orchestra as one of the most important instruments.
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