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Zubin Mehta conducts Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar in stirring concert

Conductor Zubin Mehta and musicians of the Bavarian State Orchestra rehearse with Kashmiri troupe led by Ajay Sopori in Srinagar on September 6, 2013, a day before the Kashmir Concert.
Conductor Zubin Mehta and musicians of the Bavarian State Orchestra rehearse with Kashmiri troupe led by Ajay Sopori in Srinagar on September 6, 2013, a day before the Kashmir Concert.
 
Renowned India-born music conductor Zubin Mehta conducted a stirring concert by the well-known Bavarian State Orchestra from Munich at the spectacular Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar this evening.
 
Amid protests by Kashmiri separatist groups and tight security, the concert, called "Ehsaas-e-Kashmir" (Feelings for Kashmir), was attended by more than 1500 invitees from Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and other parts of India.
 
The sun shone gently on the performers and the audience as the orchestra played in the 400-year-old Mughal Gardens on the banks of the famous Dal Lake and against the majestic Zabarwan Hills.
 
"I have waited for this moment for a long time. There are those we have hurt inadvertently. I promise next time we shall do this with everyone in a stadium where everyone can come, so it won't be a select few. When the music starts, a positive wave will go from this stage everywhere," Mr Mehta, 77, said before the show began.
 
The concert began and ended with Mehta conducting the orchestra along with Abhay Sopori's troupe  which played with traditional Kashmiri instruments.
 
The main programme of the Kashmir Concert, which was telecast live in India and more than 50 countries around the world, started with Ludwig von Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 in C Major (Op. 72b), followed by Joseph Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major. The soloist was Andreas Ottl.
 
After that, the orchestra played Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Concerto for violin and orchestra in D-major, op. 35, with Julian Rachlin as the soloist.
 
Finally, the orchestra came up with a powerful performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67.
 
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For an encore, Mehta led the orchestra in playing Strauss's foot-tapping polka Thunder and Lightning.
 
The concert had become the subject of a major controversy with Kashmiri separatist groups terming it as an attempt to draw attention away from alleged human rights violations in the state. They had called for a general strike in Srinagar in protest against the show today.
 
A parallel concert, called Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, with the aim of presenting the reality of Kashmir and the turmoil being experienced by the people of the state for more than two decades, was held 10 km away from the venue of Mehta's concert.
 
German Ambassador Michael Steiner, the brain behind the event, had said here earlier that the event was meant to be a cultural tribute to Kashmir and its warm-hearted people.
 
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