Shillong Chamber Choir founder and music composer Neil Nongkynrih dies in Mumbai


Shillong Chamber Choir founder and music composer Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai on Wednesday following a brief illness, choir officials said.

The 52-year-old conductor and composer who brought CSC to national fame after a reality TV show a decade ago has died at Reliance Hospital in Mumbai after a brief illness, have they declared.

Neil and the whole choir had been in Mumbai for the past three months for work. “He was admitted to the hospital yesterday and died the evening of today after an operation,” a spokesperson for the group told PTI.

He said the remains of Neil, who received the Padma Shri, in 2015 will be returned to his home here as soon as all formalities in Mumbai are completed.

A former student of the prestigious Trinity College of Music in London and the Guildhall School of Music, Neil returned in 2001 after years of playing and teaching music in England, to found the Shillong Chamber Choir.

In 2009, the Shillong Chamber Choir collaborated with the famous Vienna Orchestra for a series of concerts.

The following year, the choir also won gold medals at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in three categories – Music Sacra, Gospel and Popular.

However, India woke up to this talented choir and its founding mentor after winning the reality show “India’s Got Talent” in 2010. Initially, the choir was reluctant to participate in the show because it was about ‘a western classical music choir and the members were unsure. whether their music would go well in a mainstream show. However, as they say, the “rest is history”. The choir conducted by Neil has also collaborated with the world-renowned Fitz William Quartet. He has also partnered with big names in the world of Indian music including Ustad Zakir Hussain, Usha Uthup and Shankar Ehsan Loy. Their Christmas album in 2011 became the best-selling non-cinematic music album in India.

In 2010, the choir performed for former US President Barack Obama and then-First Lady Michelle Obama during their visit to India.

Notably, the SCC’s version of “Vande Maataram” was played on the live television broadcast of the Indian space rocket Chandrayaan – 2 landing on the moon.

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Posted on: Wednesday January 05, 2022 9:18 PM IST


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