The Bengal ITC-SRA Classical Music Festival 2012 got underway last evening, bringing together the giants of Indian classical music and dances at the biggest ever festival of the kind in Dhaka.
The evening began with a narration along with visuals taking the audience through the rich history and legacy of classical music in the Indian subcontinent from the pre-Mughal era to date.
Before the speeches of the guests, a minute's silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives in the recent Nishchintapur garment factory blaze.
Inaugurating the four-day extravaganza at Bangladesh Army Stadium at 7:30pm, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said the audience was fortunate in experiencing the various forms and beauty of the classical music. She expressed her gratitude to the artistes and organizers.
Speaking as special guest, Pankaj Saran, Indian high commissioner to Dhaka, said the eyes of the world of classical music were now on Dhaka.
He added that the joint effort of Bengal Group and ITC was an excellent instance of corporate social responsibility and corporate social governance.
Earlier, Bengal Group Chairman Abul Khair thanked everyone who made the dream of arranging such an event come true, and especially media partners Prothom Alo, The Daily Star, Maasranga TV and ABC Radio, and all those who have supported their endeavours.
Ravi Mathur, executive director of ITC-SRA, announced plans of the organisation to continue its support for the preservation and propagation of classical music, while also promoting Bangladeshi artistes through music festivals and programmes in India.
Long before the gates opened, people from all walks of life had queued at the entrance to the stadium, waiting to enjoy vocal, instrumental and dance performances of the music stalwarts.
Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain, along with Pandit Samar Saha on Tabla, was the first maestro on stage, mesmerising the audience with the magic of his Shehnai.
The other artistes of the night were Omkar Dadarkar (vocal), Ustad Shahadat Hossain (Sarod), Vidushi Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi), Waseem Ahmed Khan (vocal), Ustad Shahid Parvez (Vocal), Pandit Uday Bhawalkar (vocal), Pandit Tejendra N Majumdar (Sarod) and Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty (vocal).
The first day of the festival was dedicated to Sangeetsadhak Waheedul Haque.
Today's programmes, to be held at the same venue from 5:00pm till 4:30am tomorrow, will be inaugurated by Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir.
The second day of the festival, dedicated to Sarod Maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan, will feature Rajrupa Chowdhury (Sarod), Deboshree Bhattacharjee (vocal), Yashwant Vaishnav (Tabla), Adnan Khan (Sitar), Sandip Bhattacharjee (vocal), Kaushiki Desikan (vocal), Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan (vocal), Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta (Sarod), Ustad Rashid Khan (Vocal) and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma (Santoor).
The festival is being jointly organised by Bengal Foundation and the ITC-Sangeet Research Academy of Kolkata to promote, nurture and celebrate the shared legacy of classical music in Bangladesh.
Participated by a total of 100 artistes and maestros, the entire festival is dedicated to the memory of the legendary Ustad Alauddin Khan.