Indian music and dance intersect with the West in this stunning performance of works by composers Reena Esmail, Asha Srinivasan, Shirish Korde, and Nina Shekhar. Featuring original choreography and contemporary Bharatanatyam dance by Portland’s creative laureate, Subashini Ganesan.
Reena Esmail, Shirish Korde, Nina Shekhar and Asha Srinivasan explore technical and conceptual possibilities as they travel the intersection between the West and India. This vast terrain is accompanied by the movement of Portland’s Creative Laureate, Subashini Ganesan, performing both a newly choreographed work, and contemporary Bharatanatyam dance. The composers all currently live in the U.S. and work to communicate openly about their lives and their music existing at this intersection between Indian and American cultures. This concert is not simply about Indian music—it is about tradition, modernity, intersectionality, and identity, all within the context of today.
The resulting work shifts between incredibly poignant to undeniably powerful. Indian Music Now is a compelling investigation of contemporary Indian music, and a treat not often found in the Pacific Northwest.
Alone, Dancing (2003)
by Asha Srinivasan
Asha Srinivasan is an Indian-American composer and Associate Professor of Music at Lawrence University, Appleton, WI. Her mother, Lalitha is a professional singer, and Asha has been involved with music since her early childhood in India, starting vocal lessons in Carnatic music (the classical music of Southern India) at age six. Introduced to Western classical music through the public school system in the US, she had the opportunity to take her first Music Theory class in high school which sparked her passion for creating music. She draws from her Western musical training and her Indian heritage to create her compositional language.
Honk If You Love Me (for clarinet, electronics, and dancer) (2018)
by Nina Shekhar commissioned by Third Angle New Music
Nina Shekhar is currently a fifth-year undergraduate at the University of Michigan pursuing dual degrees in music composition and chemical engineering. Her music explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter. She has also previously collaborated with the JACK Quartet, and her piece Quirkhead, about O.C.D. and mental illness, is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary chronicling the inaugural Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. Aside from composing, Shekhar performs as a flutist, pianist, and alto saxophonist.
Jhula Jhule (2013)
“From the Mahabharata” Suite (2015)
by Reena Esmail
Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, bringing communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. In addition to her work as a composer, Esmail is the Co-Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music that connects the great musical traditions of India and the West. She is also the Composer-in-Residence with Street Symphony, where she works with communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
by Shirish Korde
Shirish Korde is celebrated for “integrating and synthesizing music of diverse cultures into breathtaking works of complex expressive layers.” His works have been performed by orchestras such as the Chicago and New Zealand symphonies, Boston Philharmonic, the National Polish Radio Orchestra; and ensembles such as The Boston Musica Viva, Da Capo Chamber Players, and The Ensemble Modern among others. He has received many grants and awards from institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, The Fromm Foundation, and The Siemens Foundation. His works can be heard on the Chandos, Neuma, Centaur, and Mode imprints.
Portland’s Creative Laureate Subashini Ganesan is the Artistic Director of Natya Leela Academy where she choreographs contemporary works to express the universal emotional depths present in her form, Bharathanatyam (South Indian Classical Dance). Her works have been showcased at local and regional festivals including Ten Tiny Dances, Conduit’s Dance +, NW Folk Life Festival, and the Salem Library’s “World of Music.” She is a recipient of several grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) and is also an Operations Committee member of RACC’s Right Brain Initiative. As the Director of Studio 2@Zoomtopia, in SE Portland, she founded N.E.W. (New Expressive Works), an Artist in Residency Program.