Sohal went on to produce two works for accordion that are intended to extend the instrument’s repertoire and to challenge performers to exploit the possibilities of this highly complex and ever-evolving instrument.
His great desire was to write a full-scale opera. At one point, at the suggestion of the Royal Opera House, he and Salman Rushdie met to discuss the possibility of collaboration, but even though the pair of them were keen, this was not to be.
Instead, Sohal went on to work on a musical for Tara Arts in collaboration with the writer Farrukh Dhondy, and on an orchestral work for the South Bank centre which would have marked his eightieth birthday.
Instead, Sohal went on to work on a musical for Tara Arts in collaboration with the writer Farrukh Dhondy, and on an orchestral work for the South Bank centre which would have marked his eightieth But these works were not to be completed either. On 30th April 2018, after hearing the news of his friend, Trevor Preston’s death, he went out for a walk. On the way home, he had a massive heart attack which knocked him for six and ended his innings. His death occurred on Buddha Purnima, the day that marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
Sohal was a mould-breaker who transcended national boundaries. His resilience was remarkable, and his determination unwavering. ‘The thing is,’ he once said in later life, ‘if you have your origins in a poor country, sponsors are hard to come by. I don’t have inherited wealth, and I don’t depend on the state for anything. I don’t teach because I think it dilutes your creative purpose, and I have passed up a lot of comforts which people of my age would take for granted because I do not wish to be diverted from this central task.’ Not an easy position for anyone. Yet because of this dedication, Sohal has given us some of the most inspiring, most rewarding and most important works of our time.
‘Naresh is a very talented composer… some of my colleagues should pay more attention to him.’ – Zubin Mehta, Outlook India magazine, 2010.