In 2014, the Berklee Indian Ensemble, a Boston, Massachusetts- based group comprised of students and faculty of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, paid tribute to Grammy and Academy award-winning composer A.R. Rahman at Symphony Hall in Boston. On the occasion, Rahman also received an honorary doctorate from the college.
Berklee faculty and students paid tribute to the living legend, who joined them on select pieces in a concert celebrating his music and life. The repertoire for the concert spanned Rahman’s illustrious discography of over 25 years.
The college is now releasing all the 16 pieces presented at the concert featuring 109 performers from 32 countries representing The Berklee Indian Ensemble, The Berklee World String Ensemble, and Boston University’s Indian American dance troupe, BU Bhangra. Special guests included Carnatic guitar exponent and Berklee alum Prasanna, as well as Indian bass prodigy Mohini Day. On Sept. 1, the first video, Rahman’s “Bombay Theme,” was released. Additional videos from the concert will be released on the first of every month.
“The concert repertoire represented every single year of Mr. Rahman’s astounding body of work. Rearrangements and reinterpretations of his compositions made it a fresh perspective on Mr. Rahman’s music which, for many Indians, has been the soundtrack of their lives,” said Annette Philip, artistic director of Berklee India Exchange, and the producer of the concert.
The show, according to the Berklee College of Music, sold out five weeks in advance, and recorded close to 60,000 hits on the concert window live stream the night of the show. Since then, Berklee Indian Ensemble and Berklee India Exchange supporters globally have been clamoring for videos of the concert, claimed the college.
“The concert was a monumental event that raised $250,000 that created a full tuition scholarship model in A.R. Rahman’s name to support talented musicians from India to have an opportunity to follow their dreams to attend Berklee in the U.S.,” said Clint Valladares, co-producer of the event, and managing director of Berklee India Exchange.