IAAC Freedom Concert 2021

IAAC Freedom Concert 2021

August 14 -15

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: IN PERSON CONCERTS POSTPONED. In light of increasing Delta variant numbers and with revised CDC guidelines, IAAC board has decided in the best interests of audience and artists’ safety, to move the inperson concerts to late October. The virtual concerts will continue as planned.


IAAC Freedom Concert 2021
IAAC Freedom Concert 2021
New York State Council of ArtsNew York State Of Opportunity Council on the Arts

'IAAC Freedom Concert 2021' is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

*Program subject to change without prior notice due to current covid situations


Saturday, August 14th 7:15 pm
Prasanna

Carnatic and World Guitar

LIVE in person at the Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th street, NYC.

Prasanna

Prasanna Prasanna is the quintessential Indian Renaissance man. A pioneer in performing Carnatic music on the guitar, an engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, a composer for award winning films, an internationally acclaimed guitarist in contemporary Jazz, Rock and Blues, a Magna-Cum-Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, and an entrepreneurial visionary who established a world class music college that blends the Indian Gurukula system of learning with contemporary western college education pedagogy.

Prasanna was voted among the ‘top 50 creative Indians’ by Open Magazine in 2010 alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Amir Khan, Viswanathan Anand, Arundati Roy and others. Prasanna (Smile Pinki) also belongs to a select group of Indian composers along with Pandit Ravi Shankar (Gandhi) and A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) who have composed music for Oscar Winning films.

A fearless innovator in contemporary music and yet steeped in the authentic Carnatic tradition with 6 years of study with guru Vocalist Tiruvarur Balasubramaniam and 26 years of study with masterful violinist guru A. Kanyakumari, Prasanna has been the first point of exposure to the possibilities of Carnatic music for thousands of listeners and musicians from the around the world. He was awarded the ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ for Carnatic music by H.H. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi in 2006.

He is deeply devoted to spreading the gospel of Carnatic music on the guitar and is passionately educating young children from all over the world in this beautiful art form.

Prasanna’s prolific body of work include 16 albums as leader, a concert DVD and an Instructional DVD and numerous concerts at major festivals with some of the world’s most acclaimed artists across every genre of contemporary music. He has performed with Airto Moreira, A.R. Rahman, Jordan Rudess, Esperanza Spalding, Joe lovano, Illayaraja, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Victor Wooten, Dweezil Zappa, Alex Acuna, Dave Douglas, Omar Hakim, Larry Coryell, T.K. Murthy, Anthony Jackson, Howard Levy, Trilok Gurtu and others. He is a member of three groundbreaking bands – ‘Raga Metal Conversations’ with Alex Skolnick and Anton Fig, ‘Ragabop trio’ with Steve Smith and George Brooks and ‘Tirtha’ with Vijay Iyer and Nitin Mitta. Prasanna’s composition ‘Falsehood’ is featured in the Book ‘Essentials of Jazz – the first 100 years’ by Henry Martin and Keith Waters alongside the works of some of the most influential composers in Jazz History. Prasanna was also a winner in the 2014 International Songwriting Contest in Jazz for his composition ‘Springtime in New York’.

Prasanna’s 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.

His creative collaboration with 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’ . Prasanna also collaborated with A.R. Rahman on his MTV Coke Studio project which is also released on CD and DVD worldwide by 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. He has also taught such accomplished musicians as Dweezil Zappa, Dave Fiuczynski, Marc Rossi, Mauricio Zottarelli, Gustavo Assis Brasil and many others. 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. He currently lives in New York City. Prasanna is affiliated with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as a writer and publisher, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) as a member and as a Voting member of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammy Awards every year.


Sunday, August 15th 8:30 pm
Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash

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Amaan & Ayaan Ali Bangash

Amaan Ali Bangash - is the eldest son and disciple of the Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan and grandson of Haafiz Ali Khan. He belongs to the seventh generation in an unbroken chain of the Senia Bangash School. He was initiated by his father into the fine art of Sarod playing and gave his first public performance at age eight. Amaan’s musical style is marked by its precision in tunefulness, bold and resonant strokes, along with tradition and continuity of Indian Classical Music. Amaan’s performances have evoked creditable applause. Today, Amaan is considered one of the finest Sarod players in the world and has obtained a very special place for himself among music enthusiasts across continents. He is an inspiration for the younger generation of musicians. He continues to enchant audiences with his virtuosity, sheer brilliance and charismatic stage presence.

Amaan has performed at numerous main stream venues in India and around the world. In 1986, he performed at the Festival of India in Moscow. Thereafter, he made his UK debut in 1990 and his US debut in New York at the Asia Society in 1991. He performed for the Temenos academy at St. James Palace in London for HRH Prince of Wales in 1995, 1997 and 2003. Amaan hosted a music series on Zee TV called ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’, with his brother, Ayaan, from 2001-2012. .In 2001 and 2002 he also took part at the Summer Arts Festival in Seattle and the Edinburgh Festival in the UK, he performed with Cellist Matthew Barley and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain along with a series of workshops and also worked on his album ‘Strings Attached’ with A Matthew Barley, in July 2002. He released his solo album titled ‘Amaan’, in 2002.Upon reviewing this album, Songlines World music magazine said that he was a “worthy heir to his father’s crown.” Amaan did an Australian Tour in 1999 and 2003 where he played at the World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Opera House in Sydney and the WOMAD Festival in New Plymouth and Adelaide. Amaan has also preformed regularly at the Palais beaux-arts in Brussels; the ESPLANADE in Singapore; the Chicago Symphony Center, the Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in the USA; the Womad and Salisbury Festival and the Enescu Festival in Bucharest; and the Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Center in the UK.

In 2005 Amaan composed music for the film ‘American Daylight’ which was directed by Academy Award winner Rodger Christian. In the same year, he also collaborated with the Derek Trucks Band at the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia and featured with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in Real World Record’s album called ‘Moksha’. In 2006 Amaan collaborated with Evelyn Glennie at Queen Elisabeth Hall at the Rhythm Sticks Festival and also appeared at the WOMAD Rivermead Festival in UK. His electronica lounge albums titled Reincarnation (2005) and ‘Truth’ (2006) won him critical acclaim. Amaan performed at the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament on the commemoration of India's 60th year of Independence and did a concert for Coca Cola at The Fox Theater, Atlanta, in 2007.

In 2005 Amaan composed music for the film ‘American Daylight’ which was directed by Academy Award winner Rodger Christian.

In 2009, he played at the United Nations in New York in presence of Ban Ki Moon to commemorate the Ode to Peace Concert along with his Father. In April 2011, , Amaan collaborated with American Folk artist Carrie Newcomer at Lotus Arts Festival in Bloomington along with his father and brother and also performed at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In 2011, Amaan collaborated on a project with folk singer and song writer Carrie Newcomer premiered called ‘Everything Is Everywhere’. This project with Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash released on Light Records the same year with concerts in Indiana. A love for haunting melody lines, an attraction to compelling rhythms and a sense of deep spiritual grounding are the connecting threads in this new musical confluence.

In 2011, Amaan also performed for Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper at the Year of India Inauguration at Musee de la Civilisation Theatre in Ottawa. In 2012, Amaan Ali Bangash stared in a PETA ad strumming his Sarod against a backdrop of birds flying freely across the sky and next to the words "Bring Harmony to Birds' Lives - Let Birds Fly Free". In 2013, he also presented his father’s Sarod Concerto Samaagam with the London Philharmonia Orchestra with conductor David Murphy; same year he performed in the US at Duke University, NC and concluded at Hill Auditorium, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; the same year he performed with Oudist Rahim Alhaj for Amjad Ali Khan’s Grammy Nominated project, Ancient Sounds at Kirkland Center of Performing Arts and Chicago World Music Festival; and performed at Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Música. Amaan and Ayaan composed two customised special albums New Delhi in 2011 and Raga in 2013 for The Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts.

In 2014, Amaan toured India with Britten Sinfonia, one of the world's most celebrated and pioneering ensembles. He performed at WOMAD Festival at Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England; and performed at The Getty Center in Los Angeles under its annual concert series ‘Sounds of L.A.’ The series explores L.A’s varied musical geography, celebrating the work of masters as well as up-and-coming musicians from around the globe. He also played at a Peace Concert at the United Nations, presented by The Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, along with the UN Academic Impact (an initiative of the Department of Public Information of the UN) at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium at the United Nations.

In 2012 he played at New York’s Metropolitan Museum and The Lensic in Santa Fe. The same year, his performance with his father recorded at Wigmore Hall was released under the ‘live at Wigmore Hall’ series in UK. The latest album Rang - Colors of Sufism released in March features Amaan and Ayaan’s interpretations of traditional Qawwalis on the Sarod in 2012. Amaan recently performed at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium at the end of his father’s Stanford University residency in 2012. In 2013, Ananta Opus 195, a concerto for sarod, symphonic and electronic orchestra written by Pierre Thilloy and performed by Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash with the Avignon Provence Symphonic Orchestra and the Kords Collective, conducted by Samuel Jean premiered in India. His latest release is called Live in Lisbon, produced by Sarod Records, co-founded by Amaan and Ayaan, released on iTunes recorded live at Grande Auditório Gulbenkian.

In October 2002, Amaan received the Provogue Society’s Young Acheivers Award for performing

In addition to playing the Sarod, Amaan co-authored a book with Ayaan titled ‘Abba-God’s greatest gift to us’ on his father’s life in November 2002. Roli Books, Lustre Publications published the book as a part of their ‘Family Pride’ series. Amaan has also anchored Top Drive, the all new television series on Star World that was aired in January 2003 for five episodes. He also took part in the relay for the 2004 Athens Olympics in New Delhi in June 2004. In early 2010, he co-authored his second book with Ayaan called ‘50 Maestros 50 Recordings’ for Harper Collins and also released an album called “The Music Room” and ‘Sarod Symphony’ with his father and guru. In 2013, their new project Headwaters released. The collaboration is with Malcolm Dalglish, a renowned Hammered Dulcimer player from the US. A project, with its interplay of ancient voices and images.

In 2014, Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway on as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert along with the lineup of Queen Latifa, Steven Tyler, Nuno Bettencourt and Laura Mvula.

His album, Amalgam is a follow-up on the highly acclaimed album "Soul Strings" released in September of 2015, in which sarod virtuosos Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash joined forces with American classical violinist Elmira Darvarova to create a unique collaboration, a bridge between their respective musical traditions which were carried whole and un-compromised. Amalgam brilliantly confirms this daring, supercharged, yet profoundly respectful and even affectionate meeting of these musical minds, made all the more profound by the inclusion of music icon Amjad Ali Khan. Amalgam features a solo work composed and performed by Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova, powerfully informed by the folk traditions of her own Bulgarian roots. Amalgam brings new meaning and a redefinition to the description "World Music" as it crosses and joins classical genres of the east and west with brilliant musicianship in world premiere performances. In June 2016, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash completed their three city Spain tour with the finale concert in Madrid at Teatros del Canal and also made their China debut at Shanghai Center Theater in Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Amjad Ali Khan and his widely acclaimed disciples and sarod virtuosi Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash were recently felicitated at the coveted Global Music Awards under the Gold Medal category for their outstanding contribution to the global music industry and excellence in the classical music sphere Global Music Awards are prestigious and are increasingly recognized by industry insiders to give legitimacy to outstanding artists. The top tier honour was bestowed on the trailblazing trio in correlation with their “Peace Worshipers” album which was released in July 2017 by Affetto Records and distributed by Naxos. In 2018, Amaan played with Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra and Bronx Arts Ensemble. The UNDay Concert 2018 featured Sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan, accompanied by his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, and the Refugee Orchestra Project conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya, Conductor. This year’s concert dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi was themed on “Traditions of Peace and Non-violence” in the presence of António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. Recently, Amaan played his Father’s concerto Samaagam with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with Conductor Xian Zhang.

Amaan & Ayaan Ali Bangash

Ayaan Ali Bangash - Ayaan Ali Bangash represents the seventh generation of a musical lineage known as the Senia Bangash School. The younger son and disciple of the Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan stepped into the world of music and the Sarod, at a very early age, with confidence, clarity, consistency and technical mastery all of which he learnt at his father's knees. Ayaan gave his solo debut when he was eight years old and has been performing concerts in India and abroad, since then. He has also assisted his illustrious father at concerts all over the world. Over the years today, Ayaan has carved out a special niche for himself in the world of music. His approach, vision and versatility make him an icon for the youth in the music industry. His contribution in making the Sarod a cross-over instrument in a variety of genres has projected him as an artist of high repute.

Ayaan has won the hearts of music lovers both in India and abroad. He made his UK debut in 1989 and US Debut in 1991 at the Asia Society in New York. From 1997 onwards Ayaan has performed regularly at the Carnegie Hall and Smithsonian in the US; Palais Beaux-Arts in Brussels; Chicago Symphony Center, ESPLANADE in Singapore; Summer Arts Festival in Seattle; and at the Edinburgh Music Festival and the Royal Festival Hall in London. He made his debut tour to Australia in 2003. Ayaan has played concerts at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, World Beat Festival in Brisbane and at the Opera House in Sydney. Ayaan performed for HRH the Prince of Wales at St. James Palace for the Temenos Academy in 1997. In 2000, Ayaan joined his father at the Dalai Lama’s Sacred Music Festival inauguration in New Delhi From 2000 to 2001, Ayaan hosted a very popular music and talent show air on Zee TV called ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’, with his brother, Amaan. In November 2002, Ayaan co-authored a book with his brother, Amaan titled ‘Abba-God’s Greatest Gift to us’.

This book was on his father’s life and was published by Roli Books, Lustre Publications under the ‘Family Pride Series’.

Ayaan collaborated with the noted Cellist Mathew Barley of UK at the Royal Festival Hall in 2002. In July 2002, Ayaan conducted a workshop for the National Youth Orchestra of UK which was followed by a concert with the NYO. Over the years Ayaan has performed at Konzerthaus in Vienna; Symphony Hall in Birmingham; Bridgewater Hall in Manchester; Recital Hall in 2005, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; and the Centre d`Art Contemporain in Geneva and the UN International Labour Organisation auditorium, Geneva in 2006. In 2003, Ayaan performed for Prince Charles at his High Grove Estate for Temenos Academy. In the following years Ayaan played at the Symphony Hall in Fukuoka and New York’s Town Hall. In 2005 he composed the music score for Roger Christian’s film “American Daylight”. He played at the Metropolitan Museum in 2012 and Salisbury Festival in UK in 2005, among other venues across the world.



Saturday, August 14th 8:30 pm
Dr. Radhika Chopra

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Dr. Radhika Chopra
Dr. Radhika Chopra
Dr. Radhika Chopra

Dr. Radhika Chopra Born and brought up in Jammu, Radhika started learning music at a very young age from Pt. J.R.Sharma and started performing on stage and for All India Radio Jammu. After graduating from Govt College for women Jammu, she joined the Faculty of music and fine arts, Delhi University for post graduation in Hindustani classical music. She topped the university and also did her M.Phil. And Ph.D. from the faculty itself. She learnt Thumri, Dadra and Ghazal from the most eminent guru, Smt. Shanti Hiranand, renowned disciple of Begum Akhtar. In an era where fusion and new age music dominate the current Indian music scenario, Dr. Radhika Chopra, an extremely talented and a versatile artiste, predominantly features as a rare performer who continues to excel and please the connoisseur with her traditional puritan raga based gayaki. Dr. Radhika Chopra, is a much sought after composer and singer not only across India and Pakistan, but as far away as the United Kingdom, the Near East and East Africa where loyal audiences have been charmed and enthralled by her melodious & soul stirring renditions, and fabulous personality. Blessed with the divine gift of music and years of relentless effort to achieve perfection, Dr. Chopra’s excellence & finesse, her crisp & clear voice coupled with her impeccable diction of both the Hindi and Urdu languages have won her accolades of the discerning listener right across the globe. Dr. Chopra’s accomplishments have been recognized by the highest authorities in the field of Indian music, having been empanelled by the ICCR to perform in foreign countries to promote classical Indian music and commissioned by the Indian Ministry of Culture to commemorate legendary figures such as Ghalib, Kundan Lal Saigal, et al. Radhika Chopra has also performed at the ‘Jahan-E-Khusrau’ Sufi Festival to mark the death anniversary of Hazrat Amir Khusrau.


Saturday, August 14th 6:00 pm
Dr. Aruna Sharma

Classical and Semi Classical Vocal

LIVE in person at the Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th street, NYC.

Dr. Aruna Sharma

Dr. Aruna Sharma
Classical and Semi Classical Vocal
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.

Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas
Harmonium/Guitar

Dibyarka Chatterjee

Dibyarka Chatterjee
Tabla
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.

Monday, August 16th 7:00 pm
Akshara Music Ensemble

LIVE in person at the Rubin Museum of Art 150 West 17th street, NYC.

IAAC Freedom Concert 2021

Bala Skandan

Bala Skandan
Mridangam (Percussion)
Konnakkol (Vocal Percussion)
Initiated into the Carnatic percussion art of Mridangam, and the violin at age six, Bala Skandan is a classical Indian music polymath. Having emerged as a respected Mridangam exponent, he has performed with the doyens of Carnatic music, including Shri TV Gopalakrishnan, Shri N Ravikiran, Carnatica Brothers, Bombay Sisters, and has been acknowledged by the New York Times for his “superb musical accompaniment.” As leader of Akshara Music Ensemble in NYC, Skandan’s orginal compositions embrace Hindustani and Carnatic styles, as well as world music traditions. Skandan is a prolific educator in Carnatic music, teaching students in mridangam, kanjira, solkattu, and violin. Skandan has received tutelage under noted Carnatic gurus including, Guru Karaikudi Mani of Chennai (Mridangam), Smt. T Rukmini (Carnatic violin), Shri Seetharama Sharma (Carnatic vocal) and Shri T V Gopalakrishnan (Kanjira)

Jay Gandhi

Jay Gandhi
Bansuri (Flute)
Identified as an outstanding disciple of the world renowned bansuri maestro, Padmavibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jay Gandhi initially trained in vocal music under Smt. Kum Kum Sanyal, and later bansuri under Pt. Ronu Majumdar, Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao and Pt. Raghunath Seth. Inspired to gain deeper knowledge of both the gayaki ang (vocal style) as well as tantrakari ang (stringed instrument style), Jay has also taken guidance from Pt Vidyadhar Vyas (vocal), and Pt. Nayan Ghosh (Sitar, Tabla). In 2004, he completed an Individual Major in Jazz Performance at Oberlin College/Conservatory of Music (Ohio), studying privately under such Jazz luminaries as the saxophonist Gary Bartz and trumpetist Marcus Belgrave.

Amali Premawardhana

Amali Premawardhana
Cello
Amali Premawardhana is the Cello Teacher at Primoris Academy and a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. During her studies, she had the privilege of working in master classes with such greats as Yo-Yo Ma, Ron Leonard, and in orchestral workshops with world-renowned orchestral conductor, Kurt Masur. Her professional performances have taken her to major venues in New York City including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and countless venues across the United States and Western Europe. While performing brings Amali much joy, she finds great inspiration in teaching and sharing her love for music with her students.

Max ZT

Max ZT
Hammered Dulcimer
Lauded as the “Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer” by NPR, and a “Force of nature” by New York Music Daily, Max ZT is an innovator of the hammered dulcimer. Taking his roots from classical Irish folk music, Max has transplanted his compositional techniques to both Senegal, where he studied the Mandinko technique with the Cissoko griot family, and to Mumbai, India, where he received a grant to study under the Santoor maestro Padmavibhushan Pt. Shivkumar Sharma. Max has shared the stage with some of the most influential international musical leaders of the century including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Jon Bon Jovi, Karsh Kale, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Tinariwen, Jimmy Cliff, and more.

Shivalik Ghoshal

Shivalik Ghoshal
Tabla
Shivalik Ghoshal comes from a musical family. From the age of seven, Shivalik has been a student of Sree Kinner K. Seen of Punjab gharana since 1989. Kinner-ji’s father, Pandit Lachman Seen, is the gurubhai of the late Ustad Alla Rakha Khan-Saheb. Presently, he is a student of the tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri of the Lucknow gharana since 1997.

Shivalik has had the honour and privilege of accompanying maestros like Pandit Manilal Nag, Smt Girija Devi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Phalguni Mitra and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain. Last but not least, Shivalik has performed all the tabla drumming in the Oscar winning soundtrack of the 2004 docu-drama, “Born Into Brothels.” In 2013, Shivalik participated in the "The Jungle Book" Musical with Walt Disney Theatrics, working with, Toni-winning theater director Mary Zimmerman, Toni-winning dance choreographer Christopher Gatelli for Broadway's " Newsies” and multi-talented music director Doug Peck who remixed the Jazz based music of the movie with Indian classical instrumentation for the "The Jungle Book” musical that toured in Chicago’s Goodman Theater and Boston’s Huntington Theater, respectively. Currently, he is a part/member of the Raga Renaissance movement in Brooklyn as part of Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM) community that is dedicated to promoting Indian Classical/Raga based music throughout the NY area.

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