Organised by the Art of Living (AOL) Foundation, the music concert titled 'Venu Naad' is scheduled on January 12 in Nashik and attempts to bring together thousands of flautists on a single stage measuring over 80,000 square feet.

"These musical concerts are a way to revive Indian classical music, values and spirituality," says Santosh Kapdne fronm the Aol Foundation.

Pandit Ronu Mazumdar terms this opportunity as the biggest achievement of his life.

"This opportunity of conducting the 'Venu Naad' is the biggest achievement of my life, even bigger than my nomination for the Grammy awards in 1996. I wasn't as happy even then. It is an emotional moment for me", says Mazumdar.

Organisers say the legendary flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia is set to attend the 'Venu Naad' as Chief Guest.

His presence stands to be a major inspiration for the artists playing in the event shares Pandit Mazumdar.

"I wanted him to bless all the flautists who would be present on stage, it would be a big inspiration for them to perform in front of the greatest flute player ever," he says.

The 'Venu Naad' is based purely on the use of bamboo flute along with accompanying percussion, playing the 'Raag Kalyan', an evening raaga meant to spread the message of peace and belonging.

Apart from the main seven-minute long 'Venu Naad' symphony, the evening would also compromise a solo piece by Mazumdar and a performance by International Art of Living Singer Vikram Hazra. The sound for the evening is set to be managed by Warren D'Souza.

Mazumdar says the the idea of the symphony came from the founder of AOL, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

"In the western world, it is popular for symphony orchestras to bring harmony. Gurudev asked us why can't Indian instruments do the same. That is how the idea of the Venu Naad developed. We've been practicing for about two months now," Mazumdar says.

Mazumdar has altered the conventional 'alaap' format to be able to maintain unison of the flautists for the duration of the concert.

"When we start the 'Alaap', it is not played in any kind of tempo, which creates scope for mistake. I've maintained a kind of tempo, like in a symphony orchestra, so as to minimize the chances of mistake and to keep up the unison in sound. I'm using my experience from the west here, it is going to be the same raag, yet the audiences will get to see something different", he says.

The process of bringing together such a large number of flautists was a long and exhaustive one. Mazumdar sent his students across the country to pick flautists who could play on the E scale, which has been structured by Pandit Pannalal Ghosh.

"For this concert, we have 800 professional instrumentalists, the rest being amateurs. The training sessions were really tiring and it took us two-and-half months to reach this point. Our volunteers went to Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, which is known as Bansuri Nagari or the land of flutes, to get 4,000 flutes for the concert", says Mazumdar.

International participants from Pandit Mazumdar's Indian School of Music in Chicago are also participating in the event, according to organisers.

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