Neil Nongkynrih

Renowned concert pianist and the founder of the Shillong Chamber Choir, Neil Nongkynrih passed away on Wednesday in Mumbai at the age of 51.

Nongkynrih and the Choir were in Mumbai since November 2021 as they were working on a spiritual album.

Nongkynrih was born on July 9, 1970, to former Meghalaya minister and former chief secretary of Mizoram AH Scott Lyngdoh and Elvirial Nongkynrih.

Nongkynrih was the first professional musician from his family.

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His grand-aunt had introduced him to Mozart and Beethoven and he learnt most of his initial lessons from his sister Pauline Nongkynrih, a jazz musician.

In 1988 Nongkynrih left for Great Britain to study music.

He studied music at the Trinity College and Guildhall School of Music in London.

Apart from the concerts, Nongkynrih was also teaching music in Oxfordshire.

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In 2001, Nongkynrih came back to India and started teaching piano in Shillong. Subsequently, he founded the Shillong Chamber Choir.

It is said that Nongkynrih rose to fame after his choir won the Indian television reality show India’s Got Talent in 2010. Since then, Nongkynrih and his team never looked back.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma condoling his death tweeted,” 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.”

Nongkynrih was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India in 2015.

Apart from the Padma Shri, Nongkynrih also received the U Tirot Sing Award in 2011, the Forbes Person of the Year for 2010-11 and he also served as a member of the World Choir Council. He was a member of the Central Board of Film Certification from 2017 till the time of his death.

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