Friday, July 10, 2020

A Warm welcome to our Brass Buddies

During these uncertain & challenging times, we feel responsible to unite our community and to use this moment to learn from one another to grow and become stronger. We hope this newsletter brings you joy, inspiration & motivation and we sincerely hope that you, your dear ones are well and safe.

The Sunshine Orchestra Brass Buddies, is a virtual mentorship program started during this pandemic to connect musicians & teachers from across the globe with our students in India. We thank our Director of Brass - Lisa Sarasini for initiating this project and expressing her views about this program.

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We welcome our new mentors to our ever expanding family and applaud their dedication to ensure that music indeed provides inspiration and comfort to all.

Trumpet Mentors

Helena Vieira

Helena is from north Portugal who started learning the trumpet when she was 12 in Artave (A professional music school). She continues her studies in the music university in Porto - ESMAE. At the moment she is pursuing her masters degree in Sibelius Academy. She has been recognised in various music competitions: “Terras de la Sallette”, “Albertino Lucas”, “Póvoa de Varzim Competition” and “Finnish Yamaha Music Foundation”. Her experience includes work with the Vaasa City Orchestra and Oulu Sinfonia and many more.

Jim Bulger

Jim is a freelance trumpet player based north of Manchester in the Rossendale Valley. Since graduating from the RNCM in 2005. He has worked with Opera North, Manchester Camerata, BBC Philharmonic, Northern Ballet, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also toured with productions of Hairspray, King & I, Top Hat and Annie and played West Side Story, The Producers, Into The Woods and Chicago in regional theatres.

Sérgio Filipe Rocha Pereira

Born in Castelo de Paiva, Sérgio Filipe Rocha Pereira started his musical studies at the age of 7 at the school of the Banda de Música dos Mineiros do Pejão, later joining the Academia de Música de Castelo de Paiva.
Throughout his career, he has worked with several renowned trumpeters and conductors.
Currently, he teaches Trumpet and Chamber Music at the Conservatório de Música de Paredes and at the Academia de Musica Costa Cabral. He is part of the Banda Sinfónica Portuguesa , the Orquestra da Costa Atlântica and is a founding member of the Concentus Trumpet Ensemble and the Invictus Brass Quintet.

Mark Harrison

A Royal Northern College of Music alumni, Mark is a freelance trumpet player working regularly across both the UK and Norway. A founding member of a ten-piece brass ensemble, Brasskompaniet, Mark splits his time across chamber music projects in Norway and a diverse freelance career in the UK. A regular performer with the Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Mark has also worked with the Halle Orchestra, Opera North, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and on regional theatre productions such as The Producers, Gypsy, Jerry Springer the Opera, and the 2019 award-winning revival of Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre.

Horn Mentors

Jonathan Harris

Jonathan is a French horn player and teacher based in Manchester, UK. He is a horn tutor at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and since 2019 has been working as horn tutor for the RLPO In Harmony project.
Since his first performance with a professional orchestra in 2006, he has been regularly performing with all of the major orchestras in the north of England. Having previously been invited to India to perform with the Symphony Orchestra of India and the Bombay Chamber Orchestra, a return in 2019 saw him performing alongside the Shillong Chamber Choir.

KyuSung Lee

KyuSung Lee is from South Korea and studied French Horn in Germany at Hocschule für Musik Trossingen, Hochschule für Musik Würzburg  and  postgraduate at the Universität Mozarteum Austria.
His professional work includes performing with Lucerne Festival Academy, Symphony Orchestra Kuopio and performing the Strauss 1. Concerto with Jena Philharmonie, as well as solo engagements in South Korea.

Trombone Mentors

Kieran Joy

Kieran is a composer and educator based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. His performance experiences range from playing with major symphony orchestras to performing solo recitals. He has studied both classical and jazz music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the USA, being taught by some of the most successful trombonists in the industry. During his studies, he was awarded the Terence Nagle award for solo playing for his performance of ‘Sequenza V’ by Berio.  Also, as part of the Five Cities brass quintet, he was awarded the Philip Jones prize for chamber music.

Jonathan Hollick

Jonathan grew up in Plymouth and started playing the trombone when he was 14 years old with his local youth brass band which was run by his Father. In 2011, Jonathan gained a place at the Royal College of Music in London and studied under the tuition of Byron Fulcher (Philharmonia Orchestra) and Lindsay Shilling (Royal Opera House Orchestra)
In his time there, he won a series of awards, including the Trombone Solo prize two years running, the Brass Chamber Music competition, and the British Trombone Society Student of the Year award.

Over the past decade the impactful stories of the Sunshine Orchestra have inspired many, and this year with our Brass Buddy program, we hope to motivate you and once again establish the fact that Music has broken all boundaries.
Our mentors and students have expressed their happiness, to be able to exchange their gift of music.

Of the relationship Jim Bulger, Brass Buddy mentor says,
“The fact that I can effectively communicate and advise my Sunshine Orchestra Brass Buddy (Karthick) from a different country, in a language that isn’t his first language and during a global pandemic with all the restrictions that it offers, is a testament to the universal language of music.” 

From our student Karthik,
"I enjoy having Jim as my brass buddy. He is funny and kind and sends me brass videos every week. It feels great to hear the sound of his beautiful trumpet and he comments on my videos with helpful advice. Being stuck at home at this time, I do not always feel motivated but Jim's videos always lift me up"

Each and everyone of you have created a special moment in time for our foundation. We would like to thank all of you for allowing us to experience your gifts and for us to continue to share the gift of music.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Hum Haar Nahin Maanenge

Stepping up to the need of the hour and to show our solidarity to the people whose livelihood is severely affected, by the nation wide lockdown, our foundation is dedicated to providing relief to the most vulnerable.

 Since the lockdown, the film shootings have been suspended completely. As a result, the incomes of more than 70% of the FEFSI members have been affected. With love and compassion our foundation has supported 1260 families of FEFSI, we thank music director, Shri Dhina for facilitating this humble contribution.

 We would also like to thank Smt Shubha Mudgal, for facilitating our support to the Assistance for Disaster Affected Artists (ADAA) campaign, an initiative launched to support the families of artists from music, dance, theatre and performing arts. We are also in the process of helping more families, the details of which shall be updated shortly.

 Along with that, relief kits have been supplied to 500 families in Red Hills - in the villages of Iyer Kandigai, Kettanamalli, Lakshmipuram and around 140 families of transgenders, corporation workers, auto men & Petrol Bunk workers from Kodambakkam, Ashok Nagar, & Royapettah since April 2020.


To express our gratitude for the policemen who have been on foot since the first lockdown and are also frontliners in fighting this Covid - 19 pandemic, received Masks, Sanitizers and Gloves as a token of respect from the A R Rahman Foundation.


We most humbly, thank our volunteers T M Faizuddin and Ashok Permal who’ve coordinated  the supply of these relief kits. 

In this hour of need our foundation has partnered with Bhoomika Trust - For Covid Initiatives, and supported their efforts to provide relief to migrant workers in their program ‘Food First’. Under this program,  the distribution of cooked food (Breakfast and Lunch) to the migrants in shelters and trains is provided and until June 1,560 meals have been provided.


To ensure the safety of our frontline healthcare workers we have supported the program Health First. Under this program 577 N95 masks have been distributed.

The A R Rahaman foundation truly believes that humanity is the virtue of the human race and with compassionate gestures towards one another, we shall come out of this pandemic even stronger. 


- Vidhi G Bhanushali
Manager - Grants & Sponsorship

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A Note from our Founder - Dr A R Rahman

 Dear readers,

We have now been in lock-down for over 40 days and have entered a new normal. Our teams, volunteers and teachers continue to serve the society & help those in dire need, along with ensuring the well-being of the students enrolled in our Sunshine Orchestra programs. We are grateful that all of them are safe and have shown immense solidarity in these trying times, all while imparting their respective duties.

The A R Rahman Foundation aims to empower the weaker sections of the society, through music education along with the other initiatives undertaken by our foundation time and again. The longevity and continuity of all our initiatives are entirely reliant on donations, both domestic and foreign.

We most humbly like to thank the Government of India, for approving our FCRA Certificate of Registration in compliance with all the rules and regulations laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs, India.

Our international and national donors are now playing an equally important role in the social, cultural and educational development of the society by extending their support to all our initiatives wholeheartedly.

On behalf of the entire foundation, Thank You!

We have stepped up our quality control and safety measures during this COVID-19 crisis. Given the slow-down in the transportation of essential commodities, our teams and volunteers are working tirelessly to ensure that we can continue to help our extended family of cine musicians and daily wage workers, whose means of income has come to a standstill as a result of the nation wide lockdown.

With love and compassion our foundation has till date supported 1230 families of FEFSI members. Along with supplying relief kits to 500 families from different villages, surrounding Chennai, and also to 100 families of daily wage workers from Kodambakkam and Ashok Nagar.

We have also extended our support to the families of artists by contributing to the Assistance for Disaster Affected Artists (ADAA) campaign. 

Very soon we shall connect again to update you with the details of our ongoing COVID-19  relief campaigns initiated to help stranded families along with many more stories of hope and empowerment from our music education programs.

I also want to reiterate that our foundation truly believes that humanity is the virtue of the human race and with compassionate gestures towards one another, we shall come out of this pandemic even stronger. 

Until next time, I would like to personally urge everyone to practice social distancing. Let us all pledge to keep this world a safe place. #HumHaarNahinMaanenge

 “It’s easy to be calm at the best of times. Staying calm at the worst of times; that’s real serenity.”