The Sunshine Orchestra is the marquee project of the A R Rahman Foundation. Socially and economically deprived children with an aptitude in music are provided free musical training. Once equipped with the requisite skills, endowed with confidence, they are groomed to explore opportunities and build a career in music, as teachers or as performers. The children get a better understanding of their own and other cultural identities through the exploration of Indian & Western musical traditions. They benefit from the exposure to global cultural trends through their interactions with eminent international musicians and learning from them. Most importantly, the Sunshine Orchestra is a stepping stone to building harmony, unifying people, diluting communal and cultural differences.
Since its inception in the year 2008, the foundation has adopted over 100 students, primarily from the MGR Corporation School, Kodambakkam and other institutions, who hail from economically underserved sections of the community. The students are trained by expert faculty in orchestral instruments including strings and brass, in an effort to empower them with life skills and provide them with a viable future career within the creative industries.
The latest expansion has started to involve training in the woodwind instruments - flute and clarinet. We are on the lookout to sponsor a teacher for this division of the orchestra.
The Strings Ensemble was initiated in the year 2008 and from then on classes were offered in Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass.
The most advanced batch of students form the nucleus of what we hope will become a full time symphony orchestra. Under the mentoring & training of Mr. Srinivasa Murthy, a renowned conductor and puristic Violinist, these string students further master their trade.
They have already demonstrated a level of measured professionalism undertaking recordings for Film Scores as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. They are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A. R. Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.
The Brass Ensemble, was initiated in the year 2016 under the tutelage of Lisa Sarasini, a professionally trained Trombonist. The Brass project has seen a continuous growth and is on the right track to create a top class entertaining brass ensemble who can perform at the highest level.
Brass playing has traditionally been male dominated because the instruments are heavy, loud, and take some degree of physical energy to play. Despite this, in the world of western music, much headway has been made to change this perception, thanks to many extremely talented and successful female brass players. Playing a brass instrument requires special training and practice - improving lung capacity, and building muscles around the mouth - and the women are proving they are just as capable as men.
At The Sunshine Orchestra - brass section, we are extremely happy to have 7 girls studying with us, a number which we plan to increase in the near future. At first, we found that the girls prefered to play strings instrument, especially violin but as soon as they learnt a few notes on the brass instruments they were hooked. We feel that playing a louder instrument has in a way given them more confidence and we are very proud of them for the progress they are making. We soon hope to have an ensemble of girls on brass.
A R Rahman Foundation is collaborating with many noted women brass artists from across the globe to inspire our girls. A recent video message from the highly acclaimed Bones Apart Trombone Quartet from the UK has set the stage for future collaborations. Our girls of brass can benefit from the experiences of these world class artists to learn better and stay motivated in their pursuit.
The Sunshine Orchestra Brass Buddies, is a virtual mentorship program started during the global Covid-19 pandemic to connect musicians & teachers from across the globe with the sunshine orchestra brass students in India. A mentorship oriented initiative for all the teachers looking forward to teaching music utilising their strengths & sharing their musical talents with those in need.
During these uncertain & challenging times, we feel a responsibility to unite our community, and to use this moment to learn from one another, to grow and to become stronger. Check this link out to read more about this initiative.
To our sense of achievement, we have started our first outreach program at a government aided school, General Cariappa School, Saligramam, Chennai.
After our selection process, we have selected 38 students from the age group of 10-12 years and involved our senior string students to teach them Violin and Cello to start with.
This is helping the orchestra reach out to many more children who are in need which has induced a sense of responsibility and giving back to our senior students.
On the invitation of Mr. Nephiu Rio, the Chief Minister of Nagaland, and TaFMA (Task Force for Music & Arts is a department of the Government of Nagaland) Dr. A R Rahman visited Nagaland to grace the finale of the Hornbill Festival.
During a visit to an orphanage in Kohima Dr. A R Rahman was impressed by the choir and found a connect with 20 students aged between 8 and 11. These 20 students are now a part of The Sunshine Orchestra family. The children will learn orchestral instruments while attending regular school and can then decide to pursue it full-time after completing studies as career musicians.
• Feature film - Cobra
• Feature film - Farishton
• Jaalam Concert at Shivanjali Temple of fine arts, Coimbatore
• Feature film - Shikhara
• TED Talks India - Nayi Baat, Mumbai
• Feature film - 18-am Padi
• Light upon light - collaboration with Sami Yusuf
• Feature film - Dil Bechara
• Feature film - Bigil
• S. P. Balasubrahmanyam Concert, Hyderabad
• Harman’s 10th Anniversary concert, Bangalore
• S. P. Balasubrahmanyam: Illaya Nila, Kuala Lumpur
• ARR Live - Chennai concert
• S. P. Balasubrahmanyam: Voice of the Legends Tour, Singapore
• Feature film - 99 Songs
• Feature film - Sanju
• Feature film - Sarvam Thaala Mayam
• Hockey World Cup Theme
• Apple Short Film Dec 2018 • Blinded by the light short film
• Nisdin YouTube jammin
• ARR Live @ Isha Ambani Wedding
• Feature film - Chekka Chivantha Vaanam
• Feature film - Sarkar
• Netru Indru Naalai concert with Dr. A R Rahman
• Inauguration of The Hindu Lit Festival
• Divine Symphony Orchestra concert
• Rhapsody Outreach 5th Aniv, [Brass Ensemble]
• Harman Concert KM Conservatory [Brass Ensemble]
• Madras Medai Concert
• The Sunshine Orchestra Harman concert
• Harmony with A R Rahman Series on Amazon Prime
• Chekka Chivantha Vaanam audio launch
• News J TV channel launch program concert
• India’s Got Talent - Special Episode
• IPL opening ceremony
• Feature film - Sachin - BGM
• Feature film - Viceroy House - Song
• Feature film - Mom - Song & BGM
• Feature film - Mersal - Songs
• German Youth Orchestra
• Nenje Ezhu Concerts with Dr. A R Rahman, Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai
• Music University JAYAM festival
• KM Conservatory Day [Brass Ensemble]
• KM Conservatory Graduation Fanfare [Brass Ensemble]
• Performed at Petronas Philharmonic Concert Hall, Malaysia
• Miami University Symphony orchestra
• United Nations with Dr. A R Rahman
• KM Conservatory Christmas Concert 2016 & 17 [with Brass Ensemble]
• Singularity Concerts at Serendipity Arts Festival
• Ability Foundation Awards
• Radio Mirchi concert @ Chennai Trade Centre [Brass Ensemble]
• Daan Utsav
• Chennaiyil Thiruvaiyaaru Music Festival
• MTV Unplugged with Dr. A R Rahman
• First performance in front of Family and Friends
• Faisal and Shabana Foundation
• Scottish Symphony Orchestra - Workshop
• KM Conservatory Day
• Voices In Harmony
• News 7 Concert With ARR
• Indian National Youth Orchestra