Sri Lanka’s sensational musical maestro’s most recent accomplishment is the invitation to be the founding member of the prestigious ‘International Choral Conductors Federation’ (ICCF).

Rohan de Lanerolle, a name synonymous with the global music fraternity has a list of stellar achievements which are a source of pride to the Motherland.

  • Magister Chori,
  • Member of the Croatian Conductor’s Association,
  • Adviser to the Visual & Performing Arts University Sri Lanka
  • Founder / Artistic Director of the National Unity Orchestra – Sri Lanka.
  • The only Sri Lankan to function as Artistic Director of two International Choirs: The Fricilia Mixed Choir, Manado – Indonesia and the Ao Naga Choir, Delhi – India.
  • Rohan was appointed Choir Director in March 2019 to the largest Government Girls School Choir – Visakha Vidyalaya who have under his leadership won the All Island Choir competition after a period of six (6) years.
  • Rohan has conducted master classes for Choirs and Soloists in Indonesia, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Sri Lanka.
  • He has judged National and International choral festivals / competitions such as;
  • 17th Budapest International Choir festival & competition
  • 18th Venezia in Musica Competition – 2019
  • Musica Eterna Roma”- Italy 2018
  • 1st “Salzburg International Choral Celebration & Competition”- Austria 2017
  • “Venezia in Musica”- Italy 2016
  • “The 11th In Canto Sul Garda Competition”
  • “Queen Choral Festival” – Italy 2015
  • “Voyage of Songs”, Hong Kong 2014 & Zhuhai – China 2011
  • The 1st “Asian Cantate” – Bangkok 2013
  • The “Klang Music Festival” – Malaysia 2011
  • Local singing competitions
  • Rohan has sung as Soloist for Mozart’s Coronation Mass under Gabor Hollerung at The Salzburg Dome – Austria
  • Handel’s Messiah – all three sections in Singapore and Malaysia under Lee Chong Min.
  • Performed in The Oderzo Dome and the Abbey of Folina, Treviso – Italy,
  • Graced the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, The Asia Society Hall – New York, St John’s Smith Square, Sheldonian Theatre, The Adrian Boult Hall, The Edwin Evans Hall and the Solihull Arts Complex – UK, The Bentley Music Auditorium – Malaysia, St Pauls Church – Chicago, St Andrews Cathedral – Singapore, The Princess Diana Room of The Castle of the Angers – Frankfurt, The Commercial Center Hall for the annual business Gala Ball – Graz, The Bunjil Theatre – Melbourne and extensively in Sri Lanka.
  • Rohan forms one half of The De Lanerolle Brothers who are singers and business partners – entrepreneurs.


Q.Was being a conductor, part of the great plan in your life?

Never! But God altered the course of my destiny in the most amazing manner. Everything aligned for the culmination of this grand moment and I feel blessed.

Q.When did your epiphany in the field of conducting occur?

I was approached by Fricilia who was from Indonesia who met me in person in Hong Kong during a competition. She was instrumental in having me visit Manado for a workshop and then invited me to take up the position of Artistic Director of her choir thus bridging a link into a brand new world of conducting….

Q.Did you take to it as a duck to water?

Yes, I glided into it with ease. Initially it proved to be challenging as the languages posed a barrier but we passed that hurdle with the power of music that transcends all. The ebb and flow of music is the key to building bridges and borderless communication

Q.How do you keep the choristers enthralled albeit the momentum upbeat when conducting?

I witnessed the passion the students had for singing despite the hardships they faced and I was intentional about achieving goals together. Thus it was imperative that I continuously keep myself up-to-date on the new techniques and ensure that the sessions be it in-person or online are lively and engaging.

Q.What does this new role entail in terms of your professional career?

The next phase of my journey into the genre of conducting has begun and while it is more challenging in terms of the responsibilities, the opportunities that it garners far outweighs and creates a sense of excitement. Surmise it to say, I feel like a gleeful child eager to know the rest of the story.

Q.Is conducting something very difficult and what do you really work on as a Conductor?

All it requires is a good ear and the ability to know how to draw the best from the participants of the choirs. For me, it doesn’t matter even if a Conductor throws his feet around as long as the person can get what is required from the choir so that they can make a lasting impression on the audience. For me personally, it’s about getting the basics right but I emphasize and work continuously on technique which includes many aspects. It is no mean feat and it requires continuous zeal towards achieving the goals.

Q.What is the origin and agenda of the ICCF?

Its origin is in Rome, Italy. The setting up of this federation is to allow a platform for all conductors from all parts of the globe to meet for a common goal- world music. This platform will allow anyone to connect with anyone through the federation. It will broaden collaborative opportunities where the standard of choral music will be uplifted and enriched in all countries.

What are the other countries that are a part of this body and who are the other prominent figures that have been invited to be part of this federation?

There is representation from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Russia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Sweden, United States of America, Argentina, Malaysia, Canada, Norway to name a few. While every member is in a class of their own, I have had the privilege of working alongside Brady Aldred (USA), Susanna Saw ( Malaysia), Tracy Wong (Canada), Wolfgang Zieglar (Austria), Michele Josia and Fabrizio Barchi (Italy) to date and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to work with many others.

Q.What was your reaction upon hearing the news?

It was bewilderment initially, followed by the realization that it is cause for immense pride for Sri Lanka. I believe that SL has retained high standards in the field of Choral singing, with four Championships to its name in addition to Gold and Silver awards won at varied global platforms bringing fame to our country. Due to this we as a country have a valid recognition and standardized representation from Sri Lanka in an international body and it is certainly an advantage. I believe that I will be able to gain extensive exposure by working alongside the expert panel of representatives enabling Sri Lanka to reach higher parameters.

  1. How can we as a country, in the throes of development gain global traction in choral music and how can Sri Lanka, as a country support its musicians and help others to achieve similar heights?

Certainly, there is a lot of groundwork to be done, which involves propagating the sphere of choral music to the provinces and creating a wholesome approach. Further, the up-and-coming musicians should inculcate a sense of patriotism – country before self. Eventhough, the authorities might lack in drive sporadically, one needs to keep focused and move forward while simultaneously networking with the international community and be creative in your thinking.

  1. What do you wish to say to those interested in representing the country in international platforms?

Always be humble and willing to enhance your knowledge. Be sincere and work towards the growth of the industry instead of personal gain and you will be duly compensated. Believe in the fact that international recognition can be gained even by living in one’s country of birth if you are passionate about your skill and willing to dedicate yourself to sharing the best of it with those around you.

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About Rochelle Gunaratne

I believe that everyone has a story to tell and in turn, I love listening to those stories, attempting to paint a picture to my readers with my words. I may not be an artist or painter, but I believe words can create powerful images in ones mind and it is how we share our stories with others.
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