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27 Sep 2022, 14:38 HRS IST
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  • Shillong Chamber Choir founder Neil Nongkynrih dead

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20:28 HRS IST

(Eds: Adding fresh matter, background)

Shillong, Jan 5 (PTI)
Shillong Chamber Choir founder and noted music composer Neil Nongkynrih died in Mumbai after a brief illness on Wednesday said Choir officials.

The 52-year-old music conductor and composer who led the SCC to national fame after a reality TV show about a decade ago, died at the Reliance Hospital in Mumbai after a brief illness, they said.

Neil and the entire Choir were in Mumbai for the past three months on work. "He was admitted to the hospital yesterday and passed away in the evening today after a surgery," a spokesman for the group told PTI.

He said the mortal remains of Neil, who was awarded the Padma Shri, in 2015 would be brought back to his home here as soon as all formalities in Mumbai are completed.

An alumni of London's prestigious Trinity College of Music and of Guildhall School of Music, Neil came back in 2001 after years of performing and teaching music in England, to set up the Shillong Chamber Choir.

In 2009, the Shillong Chamber Choir collaborated with the famed Vienna Orchestra for a series of concerts.

The next year, the choir also won Gold awards at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China in three categories - Music Sacra, Gospel and Popular.

However, India woke up to this talented choir and its mentor-founder after it won the reality show `India's Got Talent' in 2010. Initially the choir was hesitant to participate in the show as it was a western classical musical choir and members were unsure of whether their music would go down well in a mass audience show. However, as people say, the "rest is history."

The choir led by Neil has also collaborated with the globally acclaimed Fitz William Quartet. It has also teamed up with big names from the world of Indian music including Ustad Zakir Hussain, Usha Uthup and Shankar Ehsan Loy. Their Christmas album in 2011 became India's highest selling non-movie music album.

In 2010, the choir performed for former US President Barack Obama and the then first lady Michelle Obama during their visit to India.

Notably, the SCC's version of 'Vande Maataram' was played during the live telecast program Indian space rocket Chandrayaan - 2's landing on the moon.

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