The Madras Chamber Orchestra was formed by Mr. Malcolm Ranjore in1975. He, together with George Samuel, Desmond Xavier and Jerry Fernandes were its founding members. They were later joined by Mr. V. S. Narasimhan who became the leader of the group. The orchestra was fortunate to have the support and assistance of the Max Muller Bhavan, whose directors have helped us greatly by giving us a place to practice and, together with the German Consulate, has sponsored our performances in many places including venues in Kerala, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The United States Consulate, the British High Commission and the British Council have also arranged many performances for us. Master classes have also been held with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Stradivari String Quartet, and the Philadelphia String Quartet. The Orchestra had the pleasure of playing a concert under the baton of the noted conductor Jane Glover of the London Mozart Strings. The orchestra played two concerts with Leon Speirer, who was at the time the chief concert master of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The Madras Chamber Orchestra has been appreciatively note as “the only all Indian orchestra in India” by the Hindu Newspaper.
The orchestra was silent for almost two decades for various reasons of which, alas, one was a lack of support from the public. Happily, the orchestra’s work was revived in 2008 with a concert sponsored by Mr Rafiq Sait (Gatsby Collection & Raymond’s Nungambakkam). Since then, the MCO has performed five concerts, two in Chennai and three in Pondicherry. This is all thanks to M. Bernard Wacheux, an eminent French Violinist and music teacher who has long had a passionate dedication to the idea of preparing and presenting quality Western classical music in India.
He, together with restaurateur M. Pierre Elouard of Pondicherry has financed the orchestra, and we thank them most heartily. It is amazing that Bernard travels from Pondicherry to Chennai every Sunday to rehearse with the orchestra. We cannot fail to mention here Ms. Irene Ranjore of Chennai, the sister of the original founder of the Madras Chamber Orchestra, whose vision it was to resurrect it, and worked tirelessly to that end with its members in its recent formative years. Ahlauyu S. V’Naiud, the proprietor the 3B School of Music in Adyar, has come forward to make this evening’s concert possible. The Conductor and the members of the orchestra thank her very much as well.