The Oakland East Bay Symphony Presents NOTES FROM INDIA, 3/28

By: Jan. 15, 2014

As they continue a successful and varied 25th anniversary season, Music Director and Conductor Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony present the latest world-wandering chapter in their innovative and popular series exploring symphonic music from various world cultures with Notes from India Friday, March 28, at 8 pm at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. The program will include the world premiere of Where Shadow Chases Light, a new work by young Indian composer Juhi Bansal in her Oakland East Bay Symphony debut, commissioned as part of the Symphony'sNew Visions/New Vistas Commissioning Project, supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. The evening will also feature sitar soloist Stephen Slawek performing Ravi Shankar's Concert No. 1 for Sitar and Orchestra, excerpts from Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar's Passages and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92. A pre-concert talk by John Kendall Bailey and Juhi Bansal will take place at 7pm and concert is sponsored in part by Mueller Nicholls Builders. For information, visit .

Maestro Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony have made an annual tradition of the Notes from . . .concerts. They have presented music from the Middle East, Iran/Persia, the Philippines, Armenia and China, broadening and bringing together audiences for both symphonic and world music and providing a platform for discussion about the roles of orchestras in multi-faceted music-making and as a powerful tool for exploring the meanings of community through the arts.

The music of Juhi Bansal has been described as "luscious" and "passionate", and takes its inspiration from a widely disparate set of elements. As an Indian composer brought up in Hong Kong, her pieces draw subtly on those traditions, entwining them closely and intricately with the gestures of classical music. Expressive and emotive, much of her music begins with extra-musical origins: visual stills from nature, poetry, or poignant and biting phrases of prose.

Her works have received numerous national honors and awards, including the Five Colleges New Music Festival Competition, ASCAP Lotte Lehman Foundation Art Song Competition, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer awards, and fellowships to attend the Atlantic Music Center, Seasons Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival Composer's Symposium, and the Pacific Music Festival. Recent commissions and performances include Where Shadow Chases Light, commissioned by the Oakland East Bay Symphony with funding from the James Irvine Foundation, Michael Morgan conducting; I've Looked For You (text by Gregory Scofield), which was commissioned by the AIDS Quilt Songbook 20th Anniversary project;
The Lost Country of Sight at the Five Colleges New Music Festival; and An Imaginary Thing for the Los Angeles based Panic Duo's 2013 season.

An active conductor as well as composer, Ms. Bansal often premieres works of other composers as well as her own, and she is co-artistic director of the New Lens Concert Series, which brings programs juxtaposing contemporary and classical works to the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle areas.

Stephen Slawek, PhD, is a disciple and protégé of the late, legendary Indian music master, Pandit Ravi Shankar. He serves on the faculty of the University of Texas, where he brings an Asianist's perspective to the curricular offerings of the ethnomusicology program. He specializes in the musical traditions of South Asia and has secondary interests in Southeast Asian music and American popular music. His publications draw upon extensive field experience and personal studies of performance practice in India. He has authored one book, Sitar Technique in Nibaddh Forms (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1987) and, with Robert Hardgrave, Jr., co-authored Musical Instruments of North India: Eighteenth Century Portraits by Baltazard Solvyns (Delhi: Manohar Publishers 1997). He has contributed articles and reviews to several journals such as Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, and The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Notes and Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and has articles in The Garland Encyclopedia for World Music: South Asia and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Professor Slawek has served as a member of the Council of the Society for Ethnomusicology, as Second Vice-President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, as a member of the Board of the Society for Asian Music, and as editor of Asian Music, the Journal of the Society for Asian Music. A senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, he has an international reputation as an accomplished performer on the Indian sitar.

Tickets for the March 28 concert are priced $20 to $70 and may be purchased at or call 510-444-0801.

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