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Indian-American symphony conductors among 2016 Solti Award Recipients

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Indian American conductors Sameer Patel (left) and Ankush Kumar Bahl are the recipients of the 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, which supports and promotes emerging young American conductors as they launch their classical careers. (Arielle Doneson; ankushbahl.com photo)

Indian American conductors Sameer Patel (left) and Ankush Kumar Bahl are the recipients of the 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, which supports and promotes emerging young American conductors as they launch their classical careers. (Arielle Doneson; ankushbahl.com photo)

SAN DIEGO (Diya TV) — Sameer Patel, assistant conductor of the San Diego Symphony, and Ankush Kumar Bahl, assistant conductor of Washington D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra, have both been selected as members who will receive career assistance from the Solti Foundation.

The Solti Foundation was established in 2000 in honor of the late Sir Georg Solti, the Budapest-born orchestral and operatic conductor who was the longtime music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Patel and Bahl join the largest class of Solti Award recipients since its inception 12 years ago. The 11 awards handed out this year surpassed last year’s previous record of nine.

“I am honored by the Solti Foundation’s recognition, and I am grateful to my colleagues at the San Diego Symphony whose continuing support made this award possible,” Patel said in a statement.

As assistant conductor, Patel oversees the music and script for the symphony’s Young People’s Concerts, as well as special engagements that include donor concerts. Additionally, he handles public outreach, visits high schools as a guest conductor and speaks to youth about considering a career in music.

Before his arrival in Southern California, Patel previously served the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for three seasons.

“Since joining the Symphony as assistant conductor last year, Sameer has been an invaluable asset to the orchestra,” Martha Gilmer, chief executive officer of the San Diego Symphony, said in a statement. “He is not only a fine musician but he is dedicated to bringing music to our community. Sameer has infused a great deal of energy and enthusiasm into our Young People’s Concerts with his innovative programming — and the students have responded in kind.

“His first performance with the orchestra was last summer’s surprise John Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ concert for 7,000 exuberant fans — what a great way to begin his time with us. We are fortunate to have Sameer as part of the San Diego Symphony family and appreciate the wonderful contribution he has made in such a short period of time. We congratulate Sameer for this prestigious award.”

For Bahl, the association with the Solti Foundation runs deep — he was the recipient of the 2011, 2013 and 2015 foundation award for U.S. Career Assistance, as well as the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship. After a four-year tenure at the National Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, Bahl recently made appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the National Opera Orchestre de Nancy and the Copenhagen Philharmonic.

He was discovered in 2009 by former New York Philharmonic music director Kurt Masur, and soon after was hired as an assistant conductor to Masur at the Orchestre National de France.

Arts & Culture

U.S. and India conduct joint military drill on Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean

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Indian Ocean drill

DIEGO GARCIA, Indian Ocean (Diya TV) — The U.S. and Indian Navies went submarine hunting in the Indian Ocean, their first bilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise since a signing pact to work more closely together last fall.

India’s exports to China are up in 2019, while imports declined, leading to a $10 billion reduction in India’s trade deficit with China. Analysts say the current Washington-Beijing trade war has also opened things up for India.

The Jallianwala Massacre 100 years ago that left hundreds dead and 1200 injured at the hands of British troops is considered a key turning point towards a free India. British prime minister Theresa May marked the occasion by expressing “deep regret”, but there are still no apologies.

An effort by an American and British companies to help Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal save the airline from collapse dissolved after Etihad Airways and TPG Capital threatened to walk away themselves if Goyal was part of the deal.

And comedian Hasan Minhaj, who won a 2017 Peabody Award, received another Peabody nomination in the entertainment category for his Netflix show, “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.”

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Women filmmakers shine at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

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IFFLA staff with the 2019 festival winners

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded Sunday night with the zany slice-of-life film, The Odds, directed by Megha Ramaswamy. Complete with a glamorous closing night red carpet, and an awards ceremony, the festival ended with an after party at the Spice Affair in Beverly Hills.

(From Left to Right) Praveen Morchale, Christina Marouda, Shazia Iqbal, Anand Patwardhan, Nitin Sonawane , Divya Kohli Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

IFFLA was only four days this year (compared to five days in previous years), but there was still so much to see during that time. In addition to the curated set of films, there was an incredible panel discussion, Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age, that featured panelists working in various fields in the television industry and their struggles to rise up through the ranks in the Hollywood while being brown.

Panel Discussion Breaking in Brown. Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

This year’s film lineup boasted five world premieres, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and eleven Los Angeles Premieres, with films presented in nine different languages. The overall atmosphere was very relaxed, even with films that tackled difficult subject matters. Roughly fifty percent of the films were directed by women. Filmmakers and staff alike hoped for a future where it will be normal to have women and men equally making films.

Kicking off the awards ceremony, Director of Programming, Mike Dougherty, announced the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Widow of Silence.

“We present the Grand Jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn’t get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday…This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their film-making was beautifully wise and refined.”

Director Praveen Morchhale was visibly surprised as he walked up to receive his award. The film he said was about those, “that nobody talks about and nobody treats them as a human.” Even though it was Morchhale’s first time at IFFLA, he felt as if he had been coming here for many years. He credited his win to the women in Kashmir the film portrayed.

The Audience Award for Best Feature went to Reason. Director Anand Patwardhan received a standing ovation when he went to collect his award. Patwardhan said, “most of the time our film is getting thrown out of festivals, I wasn’t expecting this.” He added that it meant a lot for the film to be well received at IFFLA and how that will hopefully impact its reception in India.

Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak was a crowd favorite winning the Audience Award For Best Short Film. The jury mentioned how she almost gave up on filming because she was getting thrown out of mosques. Iqbal spoke about how when people think of Muslims, they only think of Muslim men and not women, many of whom experience tremendous misogyny. She hopes people will be able to “see beyond what misogyny and religion does to people.” Iqbal added, “a director is nothing without their team.”

“a layered portrait of a woman determined to pursue her needs and impulses,” the Grand Jury awarded their prize for Best Short to The Field from director Sandhya Suri. “the film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life,” the jury added.

After the awards, Dougherty introduced the closing night film, The Odds by saying the film was the “perfect way to close IFFLA on a celebratory note.”


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Arts & Culture

One-on-One with Prime Minister Modi

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One-on-One with Modi

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — In a rare sit-down interview in the middle of an election, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discusses his first term and what he plans to accomplish if he is elected to a second term. Watch the full interview tonight on a special Diya TV Dialogue at 7 pm.

Two U.S. Senators are urging more negotiations with India over a Trump administration plan to end preferential imports because it could raise costs for American consumers.

Meanwhile, India purchased a missile system from Russia. Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is hopeful the deal will avoid sanctions and scrutiny from the U.S.

Thiru Vignarajah a former federal prosecutor, who also once served as deputy Attorney General in the state of Maryland, announced he is running for mayor of Baltimore as a Democrat.

And our entertainment reporter, Kari Lane will take you behind the scenes at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, an event proudly sponsored by Diya TV, full of some of the brightest stars you will soon see on the silver screen.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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