Indian music master launches new faculty recital series

Rhythms of India, a concert of classical South Indian music featuring the Trichy Sankaran Percussion Ensemble, will launch the new Faculty Recital Series of the Department of Music at York University on Thursday .

Left: Trichy Sankaran

The ensemble is headlined by internationally renowned master percussionist Trichy Sankaran, a charter member of the department and founding director of  York’s South Indian music studies. Sankaran, a virtuoso performer on the traditional mrdangam (double-headed drum), will share the stage with Gireedharan Satchithanandam on kanjira (frame drum); Mohan Kumar on ghatam (clay pot); Aswin Balamohan on morchung (Jew’s harp) and Jaishankar Balan on violin, with mesmerizing South Indian Karnatak vocals by Madurai R. Sundar.

Melding the compelling music and spirit of South India with a unique vision and strong individual performance style, the Trichy Sankaran Percussion Ensemble will present a musical masala of classical Indian works, while redefining musical boundaries.

Sankaran has earned worldwide recognition for his artistry as both a soloist and ensemble player. Considered one of Indian music’s most esteemed ambassadors, he has introduced many Western musicians and audiences to the intricacies and beauty of Karnatak music, the traditional classical music of South India.

Hailed as “a fabulous musician” by the New York Times, his critical accolades include The Globe and Mail’s review: “It was Sankaran who took virtuosity to its most vertiginous heights, articulating with indescribable sleight of hand, a wealth of liquid sound at astonishing speeds.”

Sankaran is featured widely in solo performances and broadcasts, and tours regularly with Karnatak artists in North America as well as India. He also performs frequently with jazz, electronic and world music ensembles, and is well known for his compositions for Toronto’s contemporary gamelan ensemble, The Evergreen Club. He has concertized on four continents with Nexus and World Drums, and in numerous individual collaborations with artists such as David Rosenboom, Pauline Oliveros and Charlie Haden. His recordings include Laya Vinyas (1990), Sunada (1993), Lotus Signatures (1997) and Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums (1998).

The Faculty Recital Series is a new feature in the annual season of public events presented by York University’s Music Department. The series comprises four concerts spotlighting faculty musicians performing in York’s magnificent new Recital Hall. The other performances in the series will showcase pianist and recording artist Christina Petrowska Quilico on Jan. 18, 2007, clarinetist Patricia Wait on Feb. 22, and pianist Casey Sokol, a specialist in contemporary improvisation, on March 8.

The Trichy Sankaran Percussion Ensemble concert takes place Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7:30pm in the Recital Hall, located in the Accolade East Building at York University’s Keele campus. Admission is $15 and $5 for students. Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Box Office Web site or by calling ext. 55888.