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The Czech connection

Befitting the concluding concert of the Centenary Celebrations of The Calcutta School of Music on 28th February 2016 at the Kala Mandir, the music lovers of Kolkata experienced a stupendous concert, one of its kind, by a 56 member Czech Orchestra (the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic) presenting among many other masterpieces, Antonin Dvorak´s “New World Symphony” under the baton of Debashish Chaudhuri, an Indian and a Bengali. Interestingly, the very first Czech opera had performed right here in Kolkata at the New Empire theatre, in 1943, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Czechoslovak National Day. On that historic day, opera apart, the rendering of Antonin Dvorak's “New World Symphony” by the Calcutta Symphony Orchestra was under the baton of Dr Philippe SandrĂ©, the founder of The Calcutta School of Music.

Maestro Debashish Chaudhuri followed up the 2016 concert with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic´s grand tour of India in 2018 performing the concluding concert in Kolkata on 19th January, 2018 at the same venue, to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and India.

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Maestro Chaudhuri had his schooling at St. James School. With the support and encouragement from his parents, he took up the violin at a tender age of 7 years. He was also proficient in playing the Harmonica, the Piano Accordion and the Guitar among several other musical instruments. His childhood musical pursuits brought him close to The Calcutta School of Music which happens to be India´s oldest music institution that teaches European Classical Music and he got himself enrolled in the School. He went through several phases in his musical journey before finally studying conducting in conservatories in Prague and Italy.

Chaudhuri has not forgotten his music school and he believes in giving back to the institution which shaped his musical career. At the concert which brought the Centenary Celebrations of The Calcutta School of Music to a conclusion, Chaudhuri announced an exclusive scholarship for the teachers/students of the School. The one chosen for the Scholarship (which would last 3 weeks in the Czech Republic) would benefit from a series of master classes by musical experts across the world and the opportunity to be a part of multiple concerts where solo as well as chamber music would be played. He and his family have been kind and magnanimous enough to bear the entire cost of stay and course fees at the Czech Republic since the summer of 2016. The Calcutta School of Music is extending its support by funding the cost of the airfare and visa charges for the recipient of the scholarship.

4 musicians from Kolkata who have been blessed by the scholarship so far are Mr. Pallab Pramanick, Mr. Sandip Halder, Mr. Kaushik Das and Mr. Abhro Roy.

The bond between The Calcutta School of Music and Maestro Debashish Chaudhuri and the Czech Republic is growing stronger by the year and we sincerely hope this will strengthen further in the years to come.



Pallab Pramanick
August 25th, 2019

Ameropa had always been one of my dream memories since I attended the programme for the very first time. All thanks go to Maestro Debashish Chaudhuri and Prof. Jana Chaudhuri for the scholarship to attend this festival and also many many thanks to the The Calcutta School of Music for choosing me twice to attend the festival and also supporting me with travel and VISA expenses.

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Abhro Roy
October 5th, 2019

Being selected for this year´s (2019) scholarship to Prague has given me some of the most enlightening and enriching experiences of my life. I have collaborated and performed with other musicians, some of them very experienced and proficient; I have exchanged opinion, shared ideas and had an opportunity to explore the minds of these musicians.

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