The principal horn of India’s South Asian Symphony Orchestra has been invited to represent the orchestra in a virtual performance honouring the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Led by world-renowned conductor Marin Alsop, 14 musicians will be representing the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Peabody Institute, South Asian Symphony, St Louis Symphony and the Utah Symphony.
Nivanthi Karunaratne, who is of Sri Lankan descent, will represent India’s South Asian Symphony Orchestra. The virtual “Inauguration Fanfare for Joe and Kamala” will be streamed on social media on Tuesday, January 19, at 12 pm US-Eastern time and live-streamed simultaneously by concert tour company Classical Movements, 14 orchestras and other partners, with a combined digital footprint of over 7.6 million, a statement said on Thursday.
“The South Asian Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to be a part of this truly inspirational musical offering on the occasion of the presidential inauguration. We are happy that Nivanthi Karunaratne, who is a wonderful exemplar of our mission to promote peace and the understanding that bridges divisions, is a participant,” said Nirupama Rao, co-founder and trustee of the South Asian Symphony Orchestra and also a former Indian Ambassador to the US. Karunaratne said, “I performed for the then-Vice President Biden in 2015 and remember being struck by how warmly he treated the musicians. He mentioned the many personal tragedies he has faced, and thanked us, saying, ‘Our favourite music gets us through those times’.” Classical Movements founder and president Neeta Helms first envisioned an inauguration tribute to honour the first female president during the Democratic primaries in 2008, approaching Marin Alsop before having to set the idea aside.
After reviving the idea in 2016 for Hillary Clinton’s potential inauguration, it is only now that the opportunity arrives – assuming additional significance in this historical and cultural moment, the statement said. Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, will be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States during a largely-virtual swearing-in ceremony on January 20.
But it won’t be a typical inauguration, for several reasons. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and fresh security concerns following a pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol last week have combined to force some changes to what is a historical American day.
More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be in the city, with about 5,000 more on standby. Most of the events surrounding Biden’s swearing-in will be virtual.
Biden’s inauguration is expected to feature limited attendance. The Biden Inaugural Committee has already announced that the typical parade that follows the swearing-in ceremony will take place virtually and will feature supporters from across the country.