VIJAY UPADHYAYA : CONDUCTOR
Vijay Upadhyaya was born in Lucknow in India. After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in English literature, economics and history, he continued his studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria where he studied conducting, composition and opera. His musical training includes 12-year degree courses in percussion include (tabla) and Indian classical dance (Kathak) in India.
He was visiting professor at the conservatoires in Paris (France), Edmonton (Canada), Tbilisi (Georgia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Chengdu and Beijing (China), Istanbul, Trabzon and Malatya (Turkey) and in Damascus and has directed projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia , Singapore and East Timor. Since 1988 he is active as a conductor of choirs and orchestras in Austria and abroad. These include the “Graz University Choir and Orchestra,” “Thirteen Strings” in Canada, “The Boston Sinfonetta” in the United States and the “Borusan Orchestra” in Turkey.
1993-1995 he was lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. In 1995 he conducted at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS). From 1994 to 1999 he was music director of the St. Charles Church in Vienna. His arrangements of Austrian carols are broadcasted throughout Europe.
From 1997 to 2001 he worked as a conductor at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome and was involved in projects with the “Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia”. From 2001 to 2005 he conducted the “European Voices Istanbul” at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Istanbul and in the spring of 2005, he was head of a European Union project called “European Horizons” in Turkey. In this project master classes in conducting were held at 8 Turkish conservatories and concerts given in 5 countries. In 2010 he founded the “India National Youth Orchestra” which, among other activities, played the opening of the German year in India during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
2007-2010 he was artistic director of the Austro-Iranian Symphony Orchestra and Choir in Tehran. Since 2008 he works as an expert for the evaluation of cultural projects for the European Union. Since 2009 he has been a regular guest conductor of the Chinese National Orchestra and Choir. 2010-2013 he was conductor of the Providencia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concepción Symphony Orchestra in Chile.
He currently directs the Orchestra and Choir of the Vienna University, the Vienna Schubert Orchestra and the Vienna Festival Chorus and has performed with world-renowned artists such as Peter Sellars, Christoph Schlingensief, Subhash Ghai and Peng Liyuan and worked at institutions such as the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Burgtheater , the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. Since 2013 he has reduced his activities as an international conductor and completed on his first symphony, which was premiered on 11th December 2014 in Vienna at the Konzert Haus.
SONIA KHAN : MANAGING DIRECTOR
Sonia Khan is an expert in the field of organizing multinational cultural events. This includes dealing with government institutions, companies and cultural organizations. Her expertise lies in the coordination of complex events involving many different parties and offering solutions for complicated cultural undertakings.
Using her experiences in management and dealing with the youth, she is now the Managing Director of the ‘India National Youth Orchestra’ and the Director for India of the ‘Austrian Music Concepts’ – an organization which develops innovative music programs.
She has managed and coordinated various events like the ‘Lanxess India Young Euro Classic'; for the German year in India, the opening ceremony and some more events of the “Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities”; for “150 Years of Italy’s Unification” between the Embassy of Italy, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Delhi International Arts Festival.
She managed and coordinated the activities for “Jodhpur One World Retreat” set up by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur.
In 2012, she was appointed as an adviser and member of the interview board with the “Union Public Service Commission” with the Government of India for the ‘music and theatre division’. She is also a consultant to the Bollywood Industry.
In 2013, becoming a member of the ‘Commonwealth Youth Orchestra’, Sonia coordinated the cultural activities for ‘Culture 2014’ in Scotland and the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth Games.
In May 2014, she became the North India Representative for the ‘Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’ ABRSM.