William Harvey to Perform World Premiere of “Seven Decisions of Gandhi” with the PSO
Conductor Sameer Patel
On Saturday, March 11 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 12 at 4 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents the world premiere of composer William Harvey’s Seven Decisions of Gandhi. Written for violin and orchestra, the work was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Ela on the occasion of her 80th birthday. The composer is soloist, accompanied by Dibyarka Chatterjee on tabla. The program also includes Alexander Borodin’s thrilling Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 “Pathétique.” Guest conductor Sameer Patel takes to the podium for both concerts at the Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.
An admirer of Gandhi, Harvey was intrigued by the fact that Gandhi was once a violinist like himself, and this sparked an idea for composing a piece about the peaceful revolutionary. Harvey explains, “Had Gandhi decided to stick with the violin, world history might have been very different. This gave me the idea that a violin concerto about his life could be based on decisions that made him the international nonviolence icon he is today. When I met his granddaughter in Durban, South Africa, in 2017, I ran this idea by her, and she gave the project her blessing. During the pandemic, I finished the concerto just in time to dedicate it to her for her 80th birthday on July 1, 2020. The concerto will hopefully inspire us all to make decisions as well as Gandhi did, and to choose nonviolence and principled thought in all aspects of our lives.”
Tickets for the March 11 and 12 performances start at $30; youths 5-17 receive a 50 percent discount with an adult purchase. Visit the Princeton Symphony Orchestra website at princetonsymphony.org or call 609.497.0020.