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Miracle of Mumbai

And no question, this band has character - rich but also refined, with smoky woodwinds, burnished brass and strings drenched in Bisengaliev’s sticky-sweet Russian tone. Wouldn’t those be exactly the flavours you’d choose if, parfumier-like, you were asked to mix a distinctively Indian symphonic sound? To western eyes, the idealism...Read more

Richard Bratby, The Spectator
February 2019

This is clearly an orchestra that's going places

In a performance which could rival some of Europe’s major orchestras, the SOI wove a vivid tapestry evocative of Scheherazade’s tales with soaring woodwind, punching brass and warm strings… This is clearly an orchestra that’s going places. Their excitement, sense of discovery and real zest for the music translated to...Read more

Miranda Heggie, The Arts Desk, on the SOI’s UK tour
February 2019

This was an immensely powerful performance

I was impressed by the first violins, which can compete with some of the finest international orchestras and there was a fine nuance in the orchestral colours, especially from the violas and cellos….The performance of Scheherazade was actually one of the finest that I have heard for many years…This was...Read more

Gregor Tassie, Seen and Heard International, on the SOI’s UK tour
February 2019

On its first European tour, the Symphony Orchestra of India Seduces Geneva

Musically, something is happening in India. All you must do is observe how the classical repertoire has evolved to get the idea. The Symphony Orchestra of India was founded in 2006 and has – in just a decade – followed an exemplary path… Victoria Hall was packed to the brim...Read more

Le Temps (Geneva), on the SOI’s Swiss tour
January 2016

Would have made any orchestra proud

The wonderful brass chording at the start of the Nabucco overture, which launched the evening, would have made any orchestra proud.

John Lenehan
February 2015
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The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI), based at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, is India’s first and only professional orchestra. It was founded in 2006 by NCPA Chairman Khushroo N. Suntook and internationally-renowned violin virtuoso Marat Bisengaliev, who serves as the Orchestra’s Music Director. Zane Dalal was appointed Associate Music Director of the SOI in September 2014, following serving seven years as Resident Conductor. Mikel Toms serves as the current Resident Conductor.

The SOI has worked with such renowned conductors as Martyn Brabbins, Carlo Rizzi, Augustin Dumay, Yuri Simonov, Jacek Kaspszyk, Charles Dutoit, Lior Shambadal, Rafael Payare, Adrian Leaper, Johannes Wildner, Duncan Ward, Karl Jenkins, Mischa Damev, Alexander Anissimov, Christoph Poppen, and more. Past Resident Conductors of the SOI have included Evgeny Bushkov and Piotr Borkowski. Soloists appearing with the SOI have included Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Simon O’Neill, Cédric Tiberghien, Alina Ibragimova, Stephen Hough, Barry Douglas, Angel Blue, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck, Tamás Vásáry, and Lena Neudauer, amongst others.

International tours have seen the SOI perform in the Hall of Columns, Moscow; the Royal Opera House, Muscat; and the Emirates Palace Auditorium, Abu Dhabi, to open the 2015-16 Abu Dhabi Classics season. In January 2016, the SOI presented three sold-out concerts in Switzerland—at the Tonhalle, Zurich; Victoria Hall, Geneva; and the Tonhalle, St. Gallen—on invitation from the Migros Kulturprozent Classics series. Le Temps hailed “the commitment, the enthusiasm, and the discipline of this ensemble, which played with ferocious energy and appetite.” In February 2019, the SOI embarked on a six-concert tour to the United Kingdom, performing to delighted audiences in prestigious venues in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Guildford, and Edinburgh, and garnering rave reviews.

Apart from the mainstays of the symphonic repertoire, the NCPA and SOI have also presented large-scale productions including fully-staged operas. In 2017, the SOI premiered a highly-acclaimed, innovative new production of La Bohème, conducted by Carlo Rizzi, featuring an international star cast.

The Orchestra’s core group of musicians is resident at the NCPA all year round and forms the SOI Chamber Orchestra, performing a regular series of concerts through the year at the NCPA and at other venues around Mumbai and India. Additional players are recruited from a talented pool of professionals from around the world.

The Orchestra places great emphasis on education and many of the SOI musicians are also teachers, working to develop the musical potential amongst young people in India. Chief amongst the Orchestra’s educational initiatives is the SOI Music Academy (formerly the NCPA Special Music Training Programme), which brings a professional level of teaching, previously not available in India, to gifted young musicians, with the aim of growing the number of Indian musicians in the SOI in the future.

In the Media


16 February 2019

Meet India’s First And Only Professional Western Orchestra

British audiences are about to get a taste of the Symphony Orchestra of India – a world-class ensemble that is encountering the western repertoire for the very first time

4 September 2018

Ten Years On, India’s Only Symphony Orchestra Hits The Right Notes

The story of how India got its own symphony orchestra is the stuff of legend.

1 October 2016

Symphony Orchestra Of India Completes 10 Years

India's only professional orchestra completes ten years and evolves into a world class institute for cultural and educational purpose

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