The late Revd. Father Theodrore Mathieson
InspirationIn December 1946, at a very sensitive time in Indian history - just before Independence - Theodore Mathieson, as a young priest, came to Calcutta to join a celebate Anglican Brotherhood at the Oxford Mission, founded in 1880.
He ran the Hindu Students Hostel, and worked among the lepers of the city. In 1955 he was transferred to the Mission’s centre at Behala, south of Calcutta, where he ran the Compound and looked after the health, education and welfare of the 100 orphan or part-orphan boys. He started the Industrial School to train boys for industry, and pioneered non-formal education for less academic boys. He was brilliant at finding jobs for them: and when jobs in industry became difficult or impossible to find, he helped start the Calcutta Youth Self-Employment Centre (CYSEC) to train young unemployed men to start their own small businesses. He was continually applied to for money by people in need, and thanks to his family backing was able to respond generously.
Above all, as a talented musician himself, Father Mathieson took on the music in the Compound. He saw to it that every boy had the opportunity to learn an instrument. Bengali boys, he found, had a natural aptitude: many went on to a career in music, both Western and Indian - in orchestras, teaching, the Navy Band or the film industry - and all had their cultural horizons widened. It was Father Mathieson who spotted the exceptional talent of his prize pupil Anup Kumar Biswas, when he was a young pupil at the Mission school, and he provided the inspiration and instigation for Biswas to go to England in 1974 and study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, which resulted in his becoming a cellist and composer of international stature.
On his deathbed, in 1994, Father Mathieson expressed his concern to Biswas about the future of a Western musical tradition in Calcutta and Biswas promised him that it would be continued. This brought about the founding of the Mathieson Music School, and The Mathieson Trust, the charitable organisation formed to provide the funding for the school. In this way, his name lives on and his good works are perpetuated.
Anup Kumar Biswas
Founder (Solo Cellist, Composer, Conductor & Lecturer)Anup Kumar Biswas was born in West Bengal, India. He has chosen to make his home in the musical capital, London since 1974. He has given concerts throughout Great Britain, including The Royal Albert Hall, St James’ Palace, Lambeth Palace, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, House of Commons, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Riverside Studios and Grays Inn (where, in addition to a Vivaldi concerto, he played an Indian raga at the personal request of HRH the Prince of Wales). He has appeared as a soloist playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to a capacity audience.
In celebration of the 300th Anniversary of J. S. Bach in 1985, Anup Biswas undertook a tour of cathedrals, churches, and the Purcell Room, London playing the complete cycle of Bach solo cello suites. The tour also included India and Sri Lanka, sponsored, by the, Goethe Institute. He has successfully repeated a similar tour entitled ’BACH 2000’ in the Autumn and Spring 2000/1 season.
In 1994 Biswas established a unique music school for poor and deprived children in Calcutta. The Mathieson Music School is named after Biswas’ guru, the late Rev. Theodore Mathieson who ran an orphanage in Calcutta for fifty years. Biswas arranged, as part of a cultural exchange programme, a major tour for the Mathieson Music School in the UK and India in 1996 and 2000.
The Guadagnini Piano Trio, which Biswas formed, toured Asia under the aus-pices of the Goethe Institute. The Hinckley Music Club and Anup Kumar Biswas commissioned a piano trio from Naresh Sohal in celebration of his 50th birthday, with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain and East Midlands which toured the UK in March/April 1990. The trio performed in Asia under the auspices of the Goethe Institute, New Delhi.
The Theatre Taliesin Wales commissioned Biswas to compose music for their production of Tristan and Essylt in March 1986. The two and a half hour work was his first composition and was highly praised by critics in both the local and national press. It was recorded for Kaleidoscope by BBC Radio 4 the World Ser-vice, Harlech Television and BBC Television, and has already been broadcast twice by BBC Radio Wales. He also arranged the music for Hedda in India, a production of Hedda Gabler featuring Jenny Seagrove.
He was commissioned on two occasions to write music for the Royal Gala Performance of the Commonwealth Institute in 1987 and during the Centenary year in May 1993 in which he also performed in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the HRH Duke of Edinburgh. In February 1999 he performed again for Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh at the Commonwealth Institute, London. He has performed his own compositions in Germany, Finland, Norway, India and the UK . In 1992 Biswas appeared at the Royal Albert Hall performing his own composition ’The Celebration’ from the ballet "Ten Guineas Under the Banyan Tree." He was commissioned to compose, perform and direct for a music theatre production of ’At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers’ by Salman Rushdie, which was on tour in the UK in the Autumn of 1999. Recently he had a further commission to compose and perform music for a documentary ’The Twins,’ both these compositions have been praised highly by the critics.
At the age of six he went to a mission school in Calcutta where his musical talent was recognised and encouraged by the Rev. Theodore Mathieson. He started playing the cello at the age of ten, and at sixteen made his concerto debut and recorded for All-India Radio and Television.
It was Canon Eric James, with the help of many Trusts in the UK which enabled Anup Biswas to come to London in 1974 to study with Thomas Igloi at the, Royal Academy of Music and Amaryllis Fleming at the Royal College of Music; he also studied with Pierre Fournier in Geneva and with Jacqueline du Pre in London. Anup Biswas has won many awards, including the Suggia Gift for Cello in three successive years, and a Countess of Munster Scholarship. He attended master classes with Lynn Harrell in London, with Ebarhart Finke in Berlin and with Pierre Fournier in Geneva and with Einor Holms in Calcutta.
Biswas, regularly broadcasts on BBC TV, ITV, Channel 4 and various BBC Radio stations, performs in London at the South Bank Centre, tours, all over the UK and in Europe. Every year he returns to India to give Master classes for the children at the Mathieson Music School. He has performed in all the major cities in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan under the auspices of many organisations including the British Council and the Max Mueller Bhavan and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
Biswas’s various festival appearances have included concerts at the Cleveland, Teesdale, Belfast, Greenwich and Hereford Three Choirs Festivals, and he, has taken Masterclasses at Dartington International Summer School.
In 1989 he formed the Dante Alighieri Orchestra, of which he is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor.
In 1993 Anup Biswas toured Ireland performing Bach cello suites and also toured Poland where he recorded for Polish Radio and TV. M Biswas was invited to perform at a Gala concert at the House of Commons, London in December 1993.
He regularly tours the USA including performances at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York and Smithsonian Art Gallery, Washington DC. He is booked to perform there again in the Autumn 2003. Biswas has recently returned from an extensive tour of the USA, South Africa, Romania, Germany and Spain, performing with well known orchestras as soloist and as a recitalist.
In 1997 Biswas formed a duo partnership with Romania’s Premeiere violinist Cristina Anghelescu performing a specially devised programme for violin and cello in recitals and appearing with major orchestras playing the magnificeient Double Concerto by Brahms around various parts of the world. Anup Biswas is the only solo cellist in the world who is equally at home performing both European and Indian classical music. He studied Indian Classical both Hindusthani system (North Indian classical) and the Carnatic system (South Indian classical) music from Samir Dutta, Ustad Imrat Khan and various other teachers in India. He has collaborated with many reputed classical Indian musicians and dancers.