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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

Indian CEO’s meet with President Trump in London

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Indian CEOs and Trump

LONDON (Diya TV) — A number of prominent Indian CEOs from the US and the UK met with President Trump during a breakfast roundtable on his visit to London. Members of the American cabinet were also in attendance, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, as well as the president’s daughter, Ivanka.

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And Karamjit and Karawjit Singh took danger to new heights with this coconut and melon smashing display on America’s Got Talent, all while wearing a blindfold.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump ends $5.6B GSP trade preference for India

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump is ending $5.6 billion worth of trade concessions for India under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences program effective this week, saying India failed to assure the U.S. that it would provide ‘equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India.

Bay Area Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo reintroduced a bill to save work authorization visas for H-4 holders whose spouses are on track to get a green card. Many of those eligible are Indian American women.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education released new social studies standards, which for the first time include Sikhism. Nearly 700,000 students in Oklahoma public schools will now learn more about the Sikh community, in this effort spearheaded by the Sikh Coalition.

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Diya TV’s Ravi Kapur and Jonathan Choe are on-site and will have more courtside.

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Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

Campaigning stopped in West Bengal due to violence

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West Bengal violence

KOLKATA, India (Diya TV) — For the first time in India’s electoral history, the Election Commission ordered campaigning to stop a day early in West Bengal because of violence between political factions in Kolkata.

SAALT released an overview of the growth in the South Asian demographic around America and it shows the community is increasing exponentially.

SAALT says the South Asian population in the U.S. grew a stunning 40% in seven years, from 3.5 million in 2010 to 5.4 million in 2017.

The first ever Sikh American mayor of a large city, Ravi Bhalla, was portrayed by a New Jersey-based website in a photoshopped image as an Arab dictator. Supporters of Bhalla, who is the mayor of Hoboken, are denouncing the image as racist and want the “Hudson Mile Square View” to take it down.

And the Indian government held an event at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the world’s largest film industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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