About the Foundation
The aim of the South Asian Symphony Foundation (SASF) is to promote greater cultural integration for the cause of peace in our region of South Asia, through the medium of music and the creation of a South Asian Symphony Orchestra. The inspiration has come from Ambassador Nirupama Menon Rao’s years in diplomacy and what she saw as a felt need for providing a platform to promote more dialogue, cultural synergy, and friendly understanding among the youth of the eight countries in South Asia, including India.
The Foundation will hold music workshops, master classes, lectures, and training in orchestral music for young musicians by internationally renowned master teachers of orchestral music. The aim is to foster artistic talent and creativity among these young musicians of promise. We will organize performances of the South Asian Symphony Orchestra in various cities of India and South Asia, as also the rest of the world. In due course, we will enable the development of orchestral repertoire, including classical and indigenous music from South Asia.
Orchestras are beautiful creations, they transcend race, religion, language, and borders. They are microcosms of the world –where different musicians and instruments join in harmony together, where walls begin to crumble, and differences recede. In an orchestra, all musicians are equal – music cannot be made without everyone doing their job. Habits of cooperation are inculcated and coordination and self-discipline are hallmarks. Friendships are formed and these friendships are taken home. Over time, the orchestra can be an avenue to greater cooperation and be a peace-builder. As its members play, they have to listen to each other to balance their sound within the larger sound and make a performance happen. The players develop empathy for those around them in the orchestra.
Why South Asia, you may ask. South Asia has often been defined as just India and Pakistan, but the history of the region is much more nuanced and incredibly vibrant. South Asia extends from Afghanistan, through Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, through India, Sri Lanka, and to the Maldives. Nationalism has trumped regionalism in this space. We would like our Orchestra to point the way to recognition of the fact that South Asia is in many ways an integer, bound more together by our commonalities than our differences. To quote the famous words of Ambassador Vijayalakshmi Pandit, before the United Nations, “Let us sweat in peace, not bleed in war”.