IAAC Diwali Concert 2021

IAAC Diwali Concert 2021

November 6

November 6th 7 PM ET
LIVE in person at the Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th street, NYC.

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IAAC Diwali Concert 2021

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IAAC Diwali Concert 2021

*Program subject to change without prior notice due to current covid situations
*Strict covid guidelines will be in place.
*Proof of vaccination required for attendance

Prasanna - Guitar

November 6th 7 PM ET
LIVE in person at the Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th street, NYC.

Buy Tickets


“Prasanna is a living hope for quality music" – A.R. Rahman

Guitar Prasanna is one of the most renowned and internationally acclaimed artists to have emerged from the Indian Subcontinent. He is widely considered to be the World’s most acclaimed performer of Indian Classical Carnatic music on the guitar – an art form he pioneered and inspired thousands of artists to follow suit. He was awarded the ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ for Carnatic music by H.H. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi in 2006. He was voted among the ‘top 50 creative Indians’ by Open Magazine in 2010 alongside India’s top celebrities in various fields. Most recently, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2021, from his Alma Mater, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Prasanna is one of only three Indian composers along with Pandit Ravi Shankar and A.R. Rahman, who have composed music for Oscar Winning films. His film scores include Megan Mylan’s Academy Award winning documentary ‘Smile Pinki’ and Sundance Festival film ‘After the Garden Grows’, Indian National Award and Filmfare Award winning Tamil film ‘Vazhakku Enn 18/9’, Ian McDonald’s multi award winning sports documentary ‘Algorithms’, Chetan Shah’s English feature film ‘Framed’ and many more.

Prasanna’s prolific body of work include 17 albums as leader, a concert DVD and an Instructional DVD and numerous concerts at major festivals all over the world. Prasanna is recognized internationally for his expertise in Jazz, Rock and Fusion music, performing and recording with multi Grammy winning artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Victor Wooten, Joe Lovano and others. Prasanna was a winner in the 2014 International Songwriting Contest in Jazz for his composition ‘Springtime in New York’. He is a member of three groundbreaking collaborative bands – ‘Raga Metal Conversations’ with Rock guitar legend Alex Skolnick and drummer Anton Fig, ‘Ragabop trio’ with ‘Journey’ drummer Steve Smith and saxophonist George Brooks and ‘Tirtha’ with acclaimed Jazz Pianist Vijay Iyer and Tabla player Nitin Mitta.

Prasanna’s creative collaborations with two-time Oscar winning Composer A.R. Rahman includes guitar performances in the Score and Soundtrack of Dreamworks’ ‘A Hundred Foot Journey’, Disney’s ‘Million Dollar Arm’ alongside numerous Indian films like Puthiya Mugam, Jeans, Swades, Highway and others. Prasanna also is credited with arranging and conducting the string orchestra for the title score of the 2002 Oscar nominated Bollywood Film ‘Lagaan’, MTV Coke Studio project released on Sony Music.

Prasanna is a highly regarded educator and has given lectures, talks, workshops and residencies at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Banff Center for the Arts, Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, Osnabruck Institute of Music etc. Prasanna’s passion for music education led him to establish one of the largest colleges of music in South Asia – Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) in 2009 with funding and infrastructure support from Marg Group of Companies. Prasanna served as President of the college for close to 5 years before moving on to pursue other avenues. Prasanna is affiliated with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as a writer and publisher, and as a Voting member of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammy Awards every year.

Shalini Lakshmi

Shalini Lakshmi

“Shalini Lakshmi brings luster” – Vintage Guitar

Shalini Lakshmi’s unique and evocative singing combines Carnatic, Hindustani, Rock, R&B, Jazz and Operatic styles of singing. In 2014, Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman invited Shalini to sing the title score for the Hollywood film Hundred Foot Journey. In 2012, she recorded for Prasanna’s score for the Indian National Award winning blockbuster Tamil film Vazhakku Enn 18/9. In 2011, four-time Grammy Award winning singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding invited Shalini to join her at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival in a performance of Shalini’s song ‘Vapor’. In 2005, She recorded a song for noted Cannes film festival winning composer Pierre Van Dormael for the French film Essaye Moi by Pierre Francois Martin.

Shalini has performed with several top-notch Jazz/Fusion artists such as Jeff Coffin, Terri Lyne Carrington, Rodney Holmes, Mike Pope and others. She is also part of “Black Wall Street” project with renowned Broadway musical singer Alicia Hall Moran. Shalini has recorded on Prasanna’s albums Be the Change, All Terrain Guitar and on numerous scores for Dance theater productions. Shalini is also passionate about imparting cross-cultural music education to children through her unique teaching methods.

Harvey Wirht

Harvey Wirht

Harvey Wirht was born in Suriname where he started his music career. He continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music and has since then recorded on over 40 albums including “Life Overflowing” with John Tchicai and Charley Colhase, awarded outstanding album in the Boston Awards 2000.

Harvey’s expertise across Carribean musical styles, Jazz, Funk and many more has led him to perform with a diverse array of Artists around the world. Harvey has worked with multi Grammy winners, Angelique Kidjo, Harry Belafonte, Lauren Hill and Ziggy Marley and performed at the NAACP awards, the Jay Leno Show, the late night show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and the Peace ball for the inauguration of president Obama. Harvey Wirht has received the " honorary order of the yellow star " one of the highest State decorations by the Surinamese government and is the founder of the band Caribbo with Hall of fame inductee steel panist Andy Narell.

Harvey’s long association with Prasanna started when he invited him to be drum faculty at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai. Since then Harvey has been the drummer of choice for Prasanna at numerous concerts around the world including the Esplanade in Singapore, Alpen Capital Event at Jumeira Beach in Dubai, PanIIT Conference in Rhode Island, The Bollywood Reloaded Show in California and many more.

Dr. Aruna Sharma

Classical and Semi Classical Vocal
November 5th 6 PM ET
LIVE in person at Consulate General of India in NY.


Dr. Aruna Sharma

Dr. Aruna Sharma was born at Sri ganganagar, Rajasthan, one of India’s culturally rich states. Inspired and encouraged by her father, who was a lawyer by profession, a highly learned person, a connoisseur and patron of Indian classical music, she has devoted her entire life to music. She comes of a highly educated and talented family, hailing basically from Jammu & Kashmir, where everyone is deeply committed to music besides his/her own specialized areas.

Aruna Sharma started learning classical music under the guidance of Ustad (Maestro) Jamal Khan, a Royal Musician from the court of Baroda, at the tender age of three. She studied music in an academic context at school and college level and did her Ph.D. in music from University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, under the guidance of Dr.B.L.Sharma .She was trained under Prof. R.C. Nadkarni , Prof. Sudha Srivastava and many renowned scholars of music. She started performing at the age of eleven in her school years at district and state level competitions.

In her twenties, along with her teaching assignment, she gave solo performances in major cities of India such as Mumbai, Delhi, Allahabad, Indore, and almost in all the major cities of Rajasthan. She was awarded ‘Surmani’ title by Sur-Singar Parishad, Mumbai for her exquisite performance. Aruna Sharma performed regularly on Indian Radio and Television. Besides India, she has given performances in different countries such as the U.K., Canada, Middle East and in the United States. Thus, she has carved her niche as a competent exponent of Indian music across international frontiers. A versatile artist, Aruna Sharma has rendered her performances in classical, semi -classical and devotional music. Along with her numerous live performances,

Aruna Sharma has released several compact discs in the past, featuring her renditions in different styles of singing such as classical music, devotional songs and Ghazals. She was awarded research Fellowship in 2011 By American Institute of Indian Studies under the guidance of Padm Vibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali khan Saheb. Aruna sharma has published two books of her compositions and one book on theoretical aspects of Indian music, the key role of consonances in Raga music. Aruna Sharma taught at Savitri Girls’ Post Graduate College Ajmer, Rajasthan, with her characteristic devotion and passion. At present she is teaching at Stony Brook University, New York with same enthusiasm, zest and dedication.



Anish is learning Harmonium under the guidance of of Dr Kedar Naphade, a senior disciple of Pt Tulsidas Borkar. Prior to that Anish leaned from Shri Hemant Kulkarni for over 7 years. Anish also learns Keyboard under the guidance of Shri Bobby Chatterjee.

Anish is a 16 year old 11th grade honors student at J P Stevens high School in Edison, New Jersey.

Anish has performed at various events in US as well as in India. Marathi Vishwa's various programs in NJ, Pandit Jasraj Institute's Mewati Sangeet Parv in New York, and in Pune, Hyderabad in India.to name a few

Anish also sings in choir and he is a member of highly acclaimed JP Steven's Chamber choir. Anish has performed in various national level honor choirs.

Besides music, Anish enjoys reading, practicing Jiu Jitsu, and doing math.

Dibyarka Chatterjee

Dibyarka Chatterjee

Dibyarka Chatterjee is a young Tabla player from the Farrukhabad Gharana, and is the son and disciple of Pandit Samir Chatterjee. Having grown up in a musical environment his natural inclination towards Tabla became apparent early in his childhood. At the age of five he was initiated by his father into the ancient system of pedagogy called the guru-shishya parampara (master-disciple tradition).

Dibyarka was born in Kolkata, where even in his childhood he was already performing in concerts as well as on Akaashbani Kolkata's Children's Section (National Radio - Kolkata Station). At the age of ten he moved to New York City with his family; since then he has continued to perform regularly with both Indian and Western music. Dibyarka has had the honor and privilege of performing with renowned musicians like Pandit Jasraj, Pdt. Budhhadev DasGupta, Pta. Lakshmi Shankar, Utd. Shujaat Khan, Utd. Mashkoor Ali Khan, Pdt. Ramesh Mishra, Pta. Shubhra Guha, Pta. Tripti Mukherjee, Pdt. Suman Ghosh to name only a few. He has collaborated in world music projects with groups like the Dance Theater of Harlem (in 'South African Suite'), the Battery Dance Co. (in “Songs of Tagore”), and with fusion musician/composers like Salman Ahmad (Junoon), Douglas Cuomo, John McDowell (on the award-winning documentary “A Son’s Sacrifice”), Gary Lucas & Najma Akhtar (on their collaborative album "Rishte") etc. He has composed music for, and performed in, two off-Broadway theatrical productions (Nuraldeen's Lifetime & Lee/gendary). He has also performed in many prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, the United Nations General Assembly, Lincoln Center & Asia Society in NYC, Place des Arts (Montreal), the Google Amphitheater (Palo Alto), Salt Lake Music Conference (Kolkata, India), Pratishruti Festival (Bhopal, India) etc. He has also appeared on numerous radio shows such as The Leonard Lopate Show and New Sounds on NPR, Raag Aur Taal on WKCR etc. (recordings available below). Dibyarka is a part of the Arpan ensemble featuring some of finest musicians from the NY/NJ area.

Dibyarka has a Masters in Fine Arts from Goddard College (VT). His academic pursuits are mainly focused on the history, theory, and philosophy of Indian Music. As a guest lecturer Dibyarka has conducted classes and lecture demonstrations at numerous institutions such as Columbia University, Dartmouth College, New York University, Manhattan School of Music etc. He also teaches Tabla classes regularly at various institutions and locations in NY & NJ.




Happy Diwali to all. This concert gives me an opportunity to musically celebrate India’s unity in cultural diversity that connects to the core of the Diwali spirit. I enjoy bringing worlds together through music. With my amazingly talented wife Vocalist Shalini, who is versatile across many languages and styles and the brilliant multi-dimensional Surinamese Drummer Harvey Wirht, I am excited to take you all on a journey through a kaleidoscope of Indian and Western music – from Bhajans to Brazilian song, from Bollywood hits to Bob Dylan, from Carnatic Kritis to Contemporary Jazz and Prasanna originals that have resonated with my own fans and guitar lovers! Let’s have a fun ride! - PRASANNA

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