Music

A classical encounter

BSM’s annual east-west encounter has a smorgasbord of presentations, academic sessions and concerts

The Bangalore School of Music’s 17th annual East West Music & Dance Encounter 2019 (EWMD) is an eight-day celebration of music and dance. The EWMD began on February 2 with seminars, panel-discussions, workshops and master-classes by international musicians who are addressing students and interacting with them on various facets of music. The Hindustani and the Carnatic tradition will explored and interpreted by young vocalists Bhumika Anantharaman (Hindustani) and K. Lavanya (Carnatic) for the Indian Classical Evening to be held on February 6, (Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium, BSM, RT Nagar, 5pm).

The EWMD also showcases a collaborative, specially-themed concert, Operaaga by MoonArraWorld Fusion Ensemble on February 9, (Jagriti Theatre Whitefield, 6.30 pm). “Indian classical meets the occidental and the oriental, jazz & blues in this concert by artists from India, Austria and Japan,” says MR Jagadeesh, Director-Operations, the Bangalore School of Music. Jagadeesh took some time out to speak of the annual musical extravaganza.

What is the response to the workshops and masterclasses?

They are always eagerly anticipated by our students and faculty. The workshops mean a lot to the world of western music in India. Artists and visiting faculty such as Prof Anders Miolin from the Zurich University for the arts, Marialena Fernandesfrom the Viennese Conservatorie, Biggi Vinkeloe from Sweden are all here to address the students.

How has EWMD progressed over 17 editions?

The Encounters were conceptualised by our late founder, Aruna Sunderlal, inspired by ethno-musicologist, Prof Krollreuter in 1990. It used to be bi-annual and has become an annual event since the last three years. It continues to showcase both Indian Classical and Western Classical and Jazz forms. We try to keep the aesthetic meaningful, given the challenges of funding and the changing scenario of music.

The initial encouragement also came from Raja Ramanna, Doreswamy Iyengar and BVK Shastry...

Yes, Aruna always said she was inspired and influenced by these luminaries. They not only took part in the earlier editions, but also conducted lec-dems, conferences and discussions. Raja Ramanna was associated with BSM and our founder for quite a long period.

What will we hear at Operaaga?

We will present solos, trios and ensembles with original compositions in vocal and instrumental arrangements. Operaaga is our concept of opera as an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (liberetto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera is part of a western classical tradition. We are using ragas such as Sumanesaranjani, Bindumalini, Durga, Abhogi, Keeravani, Yaman and others to explore facets of storytelling, some abstract concepts, connect with jazz and blues and world music.

We have used languages such as Tamil and Sanskrit. The singing styles explores and uses all voice techniques of stomach, chest and head. Instrumentally, we explore the elements of jazz improvisation, rhythmic nuances, world forms with lyrical and melodic aspects. For the first time virtuoso pianist Marialena Fernandes from Austria is collaborating. Haruyo Kimura, who has connected with us earlier, liked our music, especially one of our compositions, ‘Silk Roots’ and wanted to be a part of it.

What can we expect from opera in a theatrical setting?

Each of the songs/tunes that we perform tells a story in an abstract or concrete form. We explore this further using myths and legends from around the world, interpreting stories and folk tales. Mythili Anantharaman, who we are collaborating with, introduces people to a deeper understanding of ragas using our compositions and story telling.

Only when we see musical connections, and not disparities that we will realise music is one entity.

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Printable version | Mar 23, 2020 5:45:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/bsms-east-west-musical-encounter/article26193613.ece

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