Playing around India : A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-De Haas (2002)

Playing around India – A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, is a radio documentary I produced in 2002. [original Dutch title: Op streek in India – een portret van de Nederlandse celliste Saskia Rao-de Haas]
The documentary is mostly in dutch, but this video offers a transcript in english locked to the timetable, in order to make this production accessible for an international audience. To allow convenient reading of this transcript, you should play the video in HD (1080p).
Production date: May-June 2002. First broadcast by Concertzender on 8 November 2002, also broadcast by Radio Netherlands on 25 and 29 December 2002. Voice narrator: Wim Vriezen.

In the documentary ‘Playing around India’ (produced May-June 2002) programme maker Pieter de Rooij introduces the career of the brilliant 31-year-old (that is, in 2002) cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas. She is one of the very few people, and the only European, to play the classical ragas of North India on the cello. She is considered the only genuine cello soloist by the Indian concert going public. Her virtuosity and deep musicality have introduced a new resonance to Indian music and have been enthusiastically receieved by critics and audiences worldwide. To achieve a proper Indian sound Saskia Rao-de Haas plays on a specially modified cello: smaller (so as to be able to be played sitting on the floor), with five instead of the usual four strings, and with ten ‘sympathetic’ strings. These freely resonating strings give a beautiful Indian sound to the cello and the instrument has quickly become very popular.
For two years (speaking from 2002) Saskia Rao-de Haas has lived in New Delhi with her husband, the famous Indian sitar player Shubhendra Rao. As well as traditional raga improvisations, she and her husband play their own compositions in which they mix classical Indian music with elements from European folkmusic and Western classical music.
In May and June 2002 Saskia and Shubhendra toured outside India when, for the first time, Western audiences were able to hear the combination of sitar and cello in Indian classical music. Programme maker Pieter de Rooij caught up with the couple in Amsterdam where they gave a concert at the KIT Tropen Theatre on 25 May. Saskia talks about her music, her cello and her life in India. Her husband Shubhendra, the violin maker Eduard van Tongeren and her former teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, Joep Bor, all have something to say about Saskia’s amazing cello adventure. Recordings from the Amsterdam concert are heard during the documentary.

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De Concertzender: muziek van topkwaliteit uit alle periodes en alle richtingen!

Voor elk wat wils bij de Concertzender. Zoals de kraan water geeft, zo geeft de Concertzender muziek. Muziek van topkwaliteit uit alle periodes en richtingen. Kijk maar es naar onderstaande promo.

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Valentina Lisitsa: Rachmaninoff/Warenberg Piano Concerto #5 2nd Movement

Now Listen to this!

Valentina Lisitsa plays the theme of the Rachmaninoff/Warenberg ‘5th’ Piano Concerto’s 2nd movement, recorded in Amsterdam. A very beautiful interpretation, that imho combines and fuses a poetic delicacy with soulful temperament and powerful passion that only Valentina can bring out to the listener. I’m sure you’ll enjoy her playing here as much as I do.
This piano concerto is an arrangement by Alexander Warenberg of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony. The recording presented here is used with permission and part of video-material shot by Alexei Kuznetsoff (Valentina’s husband) in Amsterdam, May 2010, that features Valentina playing piano solo parts of the Rachmaninoff/Warenberg Piano Concerto #5.
Valentina was performing in The Netherlands in May 2010. On 29 May 2010 I did a video-interview with Valentina in Rotterdam on the Rachmaninoff/Warenberg 5th Piano Concerto after she played the concerto with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on 28 May 2010.

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Me and Valentina after the interview in Rotterdam

I will present this interview in a video-report later on this year combined with the video-material, shot in Amsterdam, of Valentina playing piano solo parts of the ‘5th’ concerto.

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22-5-10: not to be missed recital by world class pianist Valentina Lisitsa in Leiden

On Saturday 22 May 2010 electrifying world class classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa is performing in Leiden, The Netherlands. She’s gonna play an exciting and daring programme: two Beethoven Sonatas (the ‘Mondschein’ and the very complicated ‘Hammerklavier’) and all(!) 24 etudes of Chopin. For more information on the location and sale of tickets, click here. On Friday 28 May she will perform the Rachmaninoff / Warenberg 5th Piano Concerto (European premiere) with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Both concerts are really a must for evry lover of classical piano playing.

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Valentina Lisitsa during a rehearsal in the Abbey Road Studios, London, December 2009 (photo: Pieter de Rooij)

I consider Valentina Lisitsa a once-in-a-generation pianist and one of the best classical pianists ever. To illustrate my words I’ll present below ten videos of Valentina that show the immense range of her musical powers. Most of these videos are from her Youtubechannel, which is actually the world’s best visited channel of a classical pianist. I also would like to refer to my Youtube video-documentary on Valentina’s Rachmaninoff recording project with the London Symphony Orchestra that can be found on my Youtubechannel, along with other videos I made last year in London of Valentina talking and playing. If you live in Holland and you like classical piano then don’t miss this great opportunity to hear the one and only Valentina Lisitsa live on stage in May 2010 in Leiden and Rotterdam.

1. Rachmaninoff / Etude Tableau Op 39 No. 6 “Little Red Riding Hood

2. Liszt / Totentanz

3. Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto No.2 minus orchestra, 2nd movement

4. Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto No.1, 1st movement, Cadenza (my recording)

5. Chopin / Etude Op 25 No.12

6. Chopin / Etude Op. 25 No. 6

7. Chopin / Etude Op 25 No.7

8. Schubert/Liszt / Schwanengesang #13, Die Taubenpost

9. Balakirev / Islamey

10. Robert Schumann / Traumerei

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Playing around India : A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-De Haas (2002)

Playing around India – A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, a radio documentary by Pieter de Rooij, produced in 2002. [original Dutch title: Op streek in India – een portret van de Nederlandse celliste Saskia Rao-de Haas]

The documentary is mostly in dutch, but this video offers a transcript in english locked to the timetable, in order to make this production accessible for an international audience. To allow convenient reading of this transcript, you should play the video in HD (1080p).
Production date: May-June 2002. First broadcast by Concertzender on 8 November 2002, also broadcast by Radio Netherlands on 25 and 29 December 2002. Voice narrator: Wim Vriezen.
In the documentary ‘Playing around India’ (produced May-June 2002) programme maker Pieter de Rooij introduces the career of the brilliant 31-year-old (that is, in 2002) cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas. She is one of the very few people, and the only European, to play the classical ragas of North India on the cello. She is considered the only genuine cello soloist by the Indian concert going public. Her virtuosity and deep musicality have introduced a new resonance to Indian music and have been enthusiastically receieved by critics and audiences worldwide. To achieve a proper Indian sound Saskia Rao-de Haas plays on a specially modified cello: smaller (so as to be able to be played sitting on the floor), with five instead of the usual four strings, and with ten ‘sympathetic’ strings. These freely resonating strings give a beautiful Indian sound to the cello and the instrument has quickly become very popular.
For two years (speaking from 2002) Saskia Rao-de Haas has lived in New Delhi with her husband, the famous Indian sitar player Shubhendra Rao. As well as traditional raga improvisations, she and her husband play their own compositions in which they mix classical Indian music with elements from European folkmusic and Western classical music.
In May and June 2002 Saskia and Shubhendra toured outside India when, for the first time, Western audiences were able to hear the combination of sitar and cello in Indian classical music. Programme maker Pieter de Rooij caught up with the couple in Amsterdam where they gave a concert at the KIT Tropen Theatre on 25 May. Saskia talks about her music, her cello and her life in India. Her husband Shubhendra, the violin maker Eduard van Tongeren and her former teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, Joep Bor, all have something to say about Saskia’s amazing cello adventure. Recordings from the Amsterdam concert are heard during the documentary.

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Kaushiki Chakrabarty radio-special, 25 July 2009, with me as studio guest

Hey, that picture… looks like… is it…?… YES! …it’s Kaushiki-ji !!

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On Saturday 25 July 2009, dutch national channel Radio 6 featured a special on Kaushiki Chakrabarty in VPRO’s world music programme De Wandelende Tak. The programme’s host Walter Slosse interviewed me on Kaushiki’s career and music.
I also selected the music that was played in the programme, great music of course! The programme is still available for listening on demand.

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The programme was highligted as ‘radio programme of the day’ – with a photo (see above) of Kaushiki added and with additional info elsewhere on the same page (see below) – in the VPRO-guide (no.30, 25-31 July 2009), Holland’s best TV&Radio Guide.

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The picture shown in the VPRO guide is a cutout from this picture, showing me and Kaushiki in Leicester, during the Darbar Festival 2008.

Two years ago I portrayed Kaushiki in my radioprogramme Gharana and this episode is still ‘on demand’ available on the Concertzender website and I’ve also published a Youtube-portrayal of Kaushiki and some clips of her great Amsterdam concert in April 2007. Check it out, it’s great to hear and see her in performance!

You can still listen online to the special on Kaushiki. Don’t miss Kaushiki at her best in this radio-special!

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Youtube-video on my find of Ravi Shankar recordings from 1957

Ravi ShankarMy latest Youtube-video is concerned with a¬†sensational find I did of a recording of Ravi Shankar, made by Radio Netherlands in 1957. I did this find already in January 2002.¬†It might be nice for¬†viewers¬†of my¬†Youtube-channel who are interested in Indian classical music to learn about this interesting historical recording.¬†For more details, see the ‘more info’-section attached to the Youtube-video .

Support Holland’s irreplaceable musicstation, De Concertzender!

On monday, 24 november 2008, at 12.15 PM in The Hague, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science in the Netherlands, Ronald Plasterk, met a delegation of employees of De Concertzender. Managing Director of De Concertzender, Gusta Korteweg, presented him a petition that pleads for the preservation of De Concertzender in its present form, radiodistribution included.

Minister Ronald Plasterk receiving the petition from Gusta Korteweg, managing director of De Concertzender
Minister Ronald Plasterk has just received the petition from Gusta Korteweg, managing director of De Concertzender 

After receiving the petition from the Concertzender-delegation Minister Ronald Plasterk Continue reading

Radio Netherlands and All India Radio join forces at Amsterdam India Festival

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During the¬†Amsterdam India Festival¬†-from 12 november to 30 november 2008- Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) and All India Radio (AIR)¬†work together for the first time in their english language reports. It’s the beginning of a partnership that will enable Continue reading