A group of Indian students have become the first musicians from AR Rahman's KM Music Conservatory (KMMC) to arrive in the UK as part of a new educational partnership.
Middlesex University has worked with KM Music Conservatory to build a course which allows Rahman's students to bring together Western and Hindustani styles, with musicians who successfully complete their Diploma in Chennai now given the chance to gain a full honours degree in London.
The first group of KMMC students began their studies at Middlesex University recently and BA Music programme leader Dr François Evans is excited about the collaboration: "In the short time the students have been in London we've already learned much from each others' cultures and the way we perform.
"Apart from experimenting with fusions of Indian and Western music techniques, it will be wonderful to contrast different educational styles, mixing instruction in India where it's common to learn under a single highly regarded musician, with the UK, where we teach under a shared curriculum."
AR Rahman is also delighted to see the first group of KMMC students arrive in London. He said: "When a vision becomes a reality, you are inspired to do more. This is a great start for Indian kids to have this multicultural exposure, because they are the leaders of tomorrow."
The Indian music star founded KM Music Conservatory to expand the horizons of musicians in India and his students share this ethos. Abinav Sridharan from Chennai, now studying at Middlesex, said: "India, as we all know, has a myriad of cultures and arts, with a majority of it originating from different parts of the country itself. I find the same here in London, just that there are more opportunities for people from all over the world to showcase their talent. This scene is just in its starting stages in India and studying here will certainly give us a chance to experience all that London has to offer."
Tshering Leizum Bhutia from Sikkim said: "Western music was totally new to me and studying first in the comfort of my own country gave me confidence and the courage to take the big step towards studying in London. There are definitely more opportunities here in London where Western classical music in concerned. We now have access to live performances such as operas, concerts and musicals which are not available in India but are very important in our line of study."The partnership will now see further students come to London each year.