Shillong: Padma Shri awardee Neil Nongkynrih, founder of Shillong Chamber Choir, passed away on Wednesday evening in Reliance Foundation hospital in Mumbai, a family member said.
“Neil was unwell for sometime. He had a septic shock brought about by a perforated ulcer, in Mumbai, where he had gone to record an album,” Neil’s brother-in-law, P.B.O. Warjri told UNI.
“We are making arrangement to bring his mortal remains to Shillong,” he said.
An alumnae of Trinity College and Guildhall School of Music in London, Nongkynrih did numerous shows as a concert pianist in United Kingdom and taught music in Oxfordshire.
One of his many successful pupils is Phillip Selway, member of the popular British band
In 2001, Nongkynrih returned to his birthplace Shillong from United Kingdom and started started teaching piano. In the same year, he founded the Shillong Chamber Choir, a multi-genre choir, which
had won accolades from across the world. Nongkynrih revived the Khasi language with a Khasi opera.
In 2010, the choral group won the reality TV show India’s Got Talent in 2010. The same year also saw the choir being awarded three gold awards at the 6th World Choir Games for Musica Sacra, Gospel and Popular Music in Shaoxing China (Shanghai).
The Choir also also performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for visiting USA President Barak Obama and Michelle Obama during their state visit to India.
Besides being a Padma Shri awardee, Neil has a number of state and national awards to his credits. He was awarded the U Tirot Sing Award in 2011, Forbes Person of the Year in 2010‐11, Indian Chamber of Commerce Musician of the Year in 2010-11, CNN IBN Special Achievement Award for Indian of the Year in 2010-11, Kalabaaz of the year – Big TV Awards in 2011 and is also a Member, World Choir Council.
In 2017, the Central government appointed as a member of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has expressed sorrow on the demise of Mr Neil Nongkynrih, mentor and conductor of Shillong Chamber Choir.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister said :”Mr. Neil Nongkynrih was an outstanding mentor to the Shillong Chamber Choir, which enthralled audiences globally. I have also witnessed some of their superb performances. He left us too soon. His creativity will always be remembered. Condolences to his family and admirers. RIP.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma took to his micro-blogging site and voiced his sadness over the sudden of Nongkynrih.
“I am saddened beyond words by the sudden demise of Padma Shri Neil Nongkynrih, founder of the famous Shillong Chamber Choir. He was a mentor to the country’s finest choir that serenaded crowds wherever they performed. We have lost a gem today,” Sangma tweeted.