Zakir Hussain and the Symphony Orchestra of India

The Symphony Orchestra of India begin their UK tour in Birmingham and are joined by Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain.

The Town Hall Symphony Hall team host a media lunch at Opheem. Jas Sansi joins Zakir and conductor Zane Dalal for a meal orchestrated by our very own Aktar Islam. 

130 Zakir Hussain, Satnam Rana, Aktar Islam, Nick Reed and Zane Dalal.JPG

First up, how many of you reading this knew India had a Symphony Orchestra? When I was contacted by Town Hall Symphony Hall (THSH) to photograph lunch with their conductor, my first reaction was ‘What?’


The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) was formed in 2006. It is the first, and remains, only professional western orchestra in India. SOI is based in Mumbai, it includes 26 nationalities including nine Brits. 


15 of the 89 players are Indian. A training programme has been established to identify and steer what conductor Zane Dalal explained over lunch ‘the most talented individuals in India.’ 

032 Zakir Hussain and Zane Dalal.JPG

Zakir Hussain and Zane Dalal

There are so many questions about the existence of a Symphony Orchestra in India.  Last night’s performance in Symphony Hall was mesmerising. My family is of Indian origin, and listening to them made me feel incredibly proud.


The collaboration with Zakir Hussain demonstrates the SOI are an orchestra without walls. Diverse in their make up and unafraid of exploring new grounds. 

066 Zane Dalal and Aktar Islam.JPG

If you have never seen an Orchestra perform live, consider this; you witness a finely tuned gathering of dedicated professionals under the leadership of a conductor communicating, through music, the message of a composer. The output is sound, but what you can only experience live is the physical co-operative action of the players.

081 Zakir Hussain,  Zane Dalal and Aktar Islam.JPG

If you’re an engineer and you want to understand how the mechanics of an industrial machine should operate, go see an Orchestra. 

140 Zakir Hussain and Satnam Rana.JPG

If you’re a Business Leader, go see an Orchestra and witness how a team, under the right leadership, can produce magic. If you’re a Restauranteur, go see an Orchestra and recognise the processes that produce world class restaurants like Aktar Islam’s Opheem. 


Go and see the Symphony Orchestra of India, details of their UK Tour can be found here:

Opheem are finalists in GQ Restaurant of the Year, website link:

Birmingham Town Hall & Symphony Hall; two world-class concert halls connecting people to music through inspiring live events:

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s