The principal horn of India’s South Asian Symphony Orchestra, Nivanthi Karunaratne, who is of Sri Lankan descent, has been invited to represent the orchestra in a virtual performance honouring the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 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. Rao is a former Indian Ambassador to the United Nations. 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.
“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’,” Karunaratne said. Classical Movements founder and president Neeta Helms first envisioned an inauguration tribute to honor 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.