Rajkumar Shrestha flicked his baton, musicians raised their instruments, and the audience at the Academy Hall in Kathmandu stood up for Nepal’s national anthem gloriously rendered with violins, violas, cello, sitar and flute by a 60-member orchestra.
The lyrics of Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka Hami, Eutai Mala Nepali (“We are different flowers of the same garland”) evokes Nepal’s ethnic diversity, but last Wednesday it also defined the diversity of the musicians from Norway and Nepalis of various ages and ethnicities.
And because this was a project of the Nepali-Norwegian Orchestra, the soothing tones of the Norwegian national anthem came next. In the center of the orchestra, surrounded by violinists was Eivind Rossbach Heier from the string quartet KvartalKvartetten on the cello alongside his father who played the viola.
Raised in a musical family with his mother a cellist and sister a violinist, Heier first came to Nepal in 2015 as an instructor with three other tutors and fifteen young people through a youth orchestra in Norway. Their goal was to teach Nepali musicians classical music to establish orchestras in the country.