Boston Trip: Brandeis University and Wellesley College

Back in my comfortable chair at home, I thought it would be a good to time to catch up with you on my recent trip to Boston. It was definitely cold, but not snowy at least.

The events on the trip were:

  • March 26, 2008 – Concert with Phil Scarff and Natraj at Brandeis University, MA. 6pm.
  • April 4, 2008 – Guest interactive lecture at Wellesley College (Music of the Sphere MUS101). 1:30pm.
  • April 5, 2008 – Indian classical saxophone concert and morning Discussion panel. “Evolving Traditions.” B.U. Ganeshprasad: Violin, Rohan Krishnamurthy: Mridungam. Wellesley College, MA. 3pm.

First, the Brandeis concert. It was a first for me, as I was performing as a guest with Phil Scarff’s group Natraj. The group consisted of Phil Scarff on soprano saxophone, Michael Rivard on Bass, Bertram Lehmann on Drums and Jerry Leake on Tabla. The group combines Indian Classical and other influences with jazz. The approach is very different from what I do with VidyA, but it was fun to play with them and I think the show went pretty well. We did mostly songs from their repertoire , which included a small pallavi in Mohana raga by my guru Kadri Gopalnath, and a song in Saraswathi raga called “River” by Chitravina N. Ravikiran. We also did “Lost Tales” from the VidyA song list, the song will be on the new VidyA CD coming out soon. Here is a picture from the event courtesy of Brandeis.

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My time at Wellesley was fun. The lecture on Friday, though short, seemed to go well. It was mostly interactive with a little history thrown in. I also demonstrated various ragas and the students became familiar with the basics of keeping talam (the time meter) to the music. Thanks to Professor Gurminder Bhogal for having me in the class.

The actual concert was on Saturday. The morning had an interesting discussion panel where we talked about the topic of preservation vs change…the ongoing discussion in any art. The discussion was lively and everyone brought up interesting points, which I wont discuss here in detail. Malini Srinivasan and the Jayamangala troup performed a wonderful bharatanatyam program. The varnam in Kambodhi was fanatastic.

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After that, myself, B.U. Ganeshprasad on Violin and Rohan Krishnamurthy on Mridangam took the stage. I debuted a masterpiece composition by Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Sri Dakshinamurthe in raga Shankarabaranam raga, Misra Jhampe (10 beats) talam. It is the first time it has been performed on saxophone. It was definitely enjoyable to finally play such a wonderful composition and favorite of mine, on this instrument. I just hope I did it justice!

Of course, it was great to play with Ganeshprasad and Rohan again. Hopefully, we can do it again soon. We also got to spend some time together after the concert. Check out the full flickr set for more pics.

View the full photoset on Flickr.

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Photos by Ganesh Ramachandran.

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