RadioandMusic
| 16 Sep 2019
10 days of musical events features eminent and budding classical musicians from India and the US

MUMBAI: LearnQuest Academy of Music, a non-profit institution devoted to providing formal instruction in both Hindustani and Carnatic styles of Indian Classical Music, announced its 10th annual ten-day Music Conference culminating with a 3-day grand music festival onApril 3-5 at Regis College in Weston, MA. Leading up to the conference the academy will also host exciting concerts and informative lecture demonstrations.

The music conference will begin with two kick-off concerts by highly accomplished artists and teachers from the New England area – a Hindustani vocal recital by Swati Panda and a sitar recital by Jawwad Noor on March 7, and Carnatic vocal recitals by Uma Sankar and Bhuvana Ganesh on March 14. These kick-off concerts will be followed by an exciting concert, on Sunday, March 29, featuring the tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, a star Hindustani flautist Rakesh Chaurasia and a star Carnatic violinist Ganesh Rajagopal of the famous violin duo Ganesh-Kumaresh together with six Celtic musicians on flute, fiddles, guitar and bodhran. The concert will be hosted at The Somerville Theater by Boston's prestigious music organization World Music and will be a part of the annual LearnQuest music conference.

Following Zakir Hussain's concert the conference will feature four lecture demonstrations by well-known musicians and scholars namely, George Ruckert of MIT, Ken Zuckerman from Switzerland, and Rekha Mennon and Jerry Leake both from Berklee College of Music.

These ten days of musical events, which marks the 10th anniversary of the LearnQuest's annual music conference, will culminate with a three-day grand music festival of Indian classical music from April 3 through April 5, 2015 at Regis College in Weston, MA.

As in the previous years, the artist line-up of the festival includes some of the preeminent leading senior musicians as well as outstanding star performers of the younger generation. The Hindustani vocal line-up includes the well-known Dhrupad exponents Gundecha Brothers, and highly acclaimed khayal singers Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Indrani Mukherjee, and Dattatreya Velankar; the Carnatic line-up includes the renowned vocalists S. Sowmya, Malladi Brothers and a young vocalist Abhishek Raghuram who has recently made a big splash on the Carnatic music scene in India.

The instrumental artist line-up includes the renowned saxophone Maestro Kadri Gopalnath, the prodigious flautist Maestro Shashank, sitar virtuoso Ustad Nishat Khan, a renowned flutist of the Maihar Gharana Pt. Rupak Kulkarni, and two young outstanding instrumentalists, Gupta Brothers, who will perform a sitar-sarod jugalbandi. A noteworthy inclusion in the line-up is a percussion ensemble, Laya Vinyasa, consisting of highly accomplished young musicians from the Boston area and Washington DC area – Sowmia Narayanan on ghatam, Amit Kavthekar on tabla, Pravin Sitaram and Tarun Bangalore on mridangam, and Kamala Kiran on violin.

Pradeep Shukla, president and co-founder of the academy, said this is the tenth year of the music conference and no event can successfully sustain itself without broad based support. We are very grateful to our audience who attend the conference year after year, to our donors for their financial support and to our team of dedicated conference committee and volunteers for their tireless work behind the scene. He added that we are pleased that this year we have artists from India representing a wide geographical area of the country, such as Delhi, Bhopal, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata to name a few.

Here is a brief introduction of a few senior artists performing during last three days of the conference.
Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha, known as the Gundecha Brothers, are leading Dagarvani dhrupad singers. They always sing together. Together they have been awarded Padmashree in 2012. They have set up a dhrupad institute outside Bhopal , India, where they teach students from all over the world.

Sanjeev Abhyankar is a Hindustani vocalist. He rendered his first stage performance in Mumbai, at the age of 11 in 1981. Since then, he has traveled extensively all over the country and abroad. He has several albums and has given playback for films such as Maachis, Nidaan, Sanshodhan, Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar and Banaras.

 Dr. Kadri Gopalnath is an Indian saxophonist and one of the pioneers of Carnatic music on the saxophone. He has produced many albums. Together with jazz flautist James Newton, he recorded Southern Brothers. In 2005, Gopalnath began a collaboration with American saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, which resulted in the 2008 album Kinsmen.

 Shashank Subramanyam is a exponent of the Bamboo Flute specializing in Carnatic music. He is a child prodigy and began performing from age of 6 and has performed in the top circuit for three decades. He performs in a wide range of concert environments from the pure Indian classical, Symphonies, Jazz and cross over projects.