Shillong, January 25: Neil H. Nongkynrih of Shillong Chamber Choirs has been honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the President of India in the field of Art on the tion’s 66th Republic Day.
Nongkynrih is the Music Director; Composer; Author; Founder of the Shillong Chamber Choir.
Nongkynrih took to the piano at an early age and had a passion for making a difference. Coming from a fragmented and often conflict stricken region of the North East, Nongkynrih has used his many talents to bridge, heal and inspire the people and especially the youth of the region. He has re–defined the arts and by bringing to light its power as an instrument of influence, he now has a voice that is heeded.
At the age of fifteen, Neil won his first tiol Piano Competition and this led to further studies in London, at the Guildhall School of Music and Trinity College. His teachers included one of Britain’s foremost pianists, Phillip Fowke and the Viennese pianist, Kathari Wolpe.
His first public performance in the UK was in the presence of British Royalty and this led to further recitals in Europe. He has also produced a successful series of concerts in Oxford, which included performances by the Oscar Award winning actress, Vanessa Redgrave, the British pianist Joan Macgregor and the American clarinetist, Gervase De Peyer.
Neil came back home to Shillong, India in 2001 after 14 years in Europe despite a promising career as a classical pianist. He then experienced first hand, the strife that his State was undergoing and took to his art as a means to bring solace to what was in distress. It was a humble beginning where he attracted a group of ordiry young people to form the Shillong Chamber Choir and on their home debut was immediately well received. They sang a whole range of music; from folk to opera, from rock to Jazz, and now venturing into Hindustani classical and revamped versions of Indian cinematic music.
Nongkynrih is presently the sole representative of India as a member of the World Choir Council.