"Each memory in my career has a value."

George Mihalache was born in Bucharest/Romania in 1971. He was raised in a family of musicians with it's roots in the old tradition of gypsy music and the family musicianship goes centuries back. George is of the 6th generation.

George's music education began when he was only 6-7 years old, studying music with his grandfather and learning gypsy music and Romanian folk tunes by ear. As a 15-year old he had already been working with several reputable and coveted musicians and playing with most bigger ensembles in Bucharest, and he had been touring several European countries.

Shashank Meets Lelo Nika Trio
George Mihalache's musical repertoire comprehensive and versatile, ranging from the gypsy music traditions of Romania through evergreen traditionals and classical favorites. He has been living in Copenhagen since 1994 and worked with many musicians within the genres of world music, jazz and classical music. Recently, he was in Kolkata  to participate in "Shashank Meets Lelo Nika Trio" as part of the 10th edition of The Park’s New Festival- 2016.With over 30 years in the field of Indian classical music, Shashank has performed at Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Denmark and Skopje Jazz Festival - Macedonia among others. Lelo Nika along with Thommy Andersson (bass) and George Mihalache (cimbalom) teamed up with Shashank Subramanyam (flute) for a soul stirring evening of melodious music.

How would you briefly describe your journey towards music?

I grow up in a musical family with deep roots in gypsy musical tradition. I am in the 7 generation.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of Gypsy music and harpsichord?

The gypsies have been wandering for 400 years. The trip start in North Western India. Musical instruments as they brought has evolved over time. The Indian Saturn will be in Romania (Tambal) cimbalom.

What are your feelings about the globalization of Gypsy music?

It is well. I have the opportunity to play and rather than at international level.

You have played with many musicians of different styles. Are these mergers difficult? How to mix different musical influences and genres?

No it's not difficult. There is a provocation every time and it works fine.

What have been the most memorable moments in your career?

Each memory in my career has a value.

How was your experience performing here?



“I believe that all of mankind's aptitude is a mixture of genetics, culture, education and training.”

Cédric Villani, one of three Editors-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Journal of Functional Analysis is the recipient of the 2010 Fields Medal in mathematics. Professor Villani was awarded the prize for his work on proofs of nonlinear Landau damping and convergence to equilibrium for the Boltzmann equation..

In 2009 Prof. Villani was appointed the Director the Poincaré Institute at the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris.  He was awarded the Henri Poincaré Prize that year, presented by the International Association of Mathematical Physics.  He has served on the Editorial Board of Journal of Functional Analysis and was invited by the late Prof. Paul Malliavin to the role of Editor-in-Chief, joining Field Medalist Alain Connes and Daniel Stroock.

What first drew you to mathematics?

I could not say and it always looked like a naturally interesting subject to me. I don't remember a time when I was not interested in it. But after all, we all study it at school. I also had some secondhand books for math for children, which were quite nice.  

Are there any mathematicians, living or dead that you have particularly looked up to?

Oh yes,  so many of them! Well, when I set up my Web page, 13 years ago(in those days it was a big deal to have a Web page!), I chose 5"heroes" and put them on my page with some eulogies: Ludwig Boltzmann, James Clerk Maxwell (both of them physicists but with a strong mathematical inspiration), Mark Kac, Alan Turing, John Nash. I regularly lecture about John Nash and Henri Poincare, both of them geniuses with their specific style.

One must have wondered a number of times why a formula or a theorem comes so easy to a person while other cannot even decipher a simple problem. Is Math a part of one's genetic makeup? 

I believe that all of mankind's aptitude is a mixture of genetics, culture, education and training. Anyway the example of Ramanujan cannot be explained by just culture, education and training, so there has to be some genetic component. Why not?

 How important, in your opinion, is mathematics in Indian culture?

The respect for math is very important, for sure, and also the development of calculation recipes. India has produced a number of amazing mathematicians. On the other hand, the core of India's math education is very much applied, and there is a clear tendency in research institutions to, on the contrary, explores very fundamental subjects.

How should maths be taught? Because a lot of people say, "oh God, maths I can't stand it.

Nobody knows how math should be taught, probably because there is not such a "must-be" way of teaching. It depends on the teacher, on the child, on the society. Nowadays there are many opportunities to enrich the teaching, with online games, enigmas, advice, experiments, public lectures, etc. But eventually it depends mostly on master and student relation, not the method.

Apart from research and teaching, what are the future career options we can pursue only doing maths?

Doing only math these are the main areas. But if you allow for blending with other sciences, mathematicians can do great engineers, developers, algorithm wizards, and so on. The field is so full of opportunities that 'mathematician' was ranked several times "No.1 job in the world" by the American company Career Cast.

What research problems and areas are you likely to explore in the future? 

Problems at the intersection of geometry, analysis and classical physics are for me.

What advice would you give a young student trying to learn mathematics in India?

Widen your views as much as possible, and please travel widely for learning.


LILA YOGA is unity within life

Yogacharya Erica Kaufman - Erica Kaufman, MFA, E-RYT500+, is the founder of Lila Yoga and the owner of Lila Yoga Studios in PA, USA. She is a life long student of JidduKrishnamurti’s philosophy and Krishnamacharya’s teachings. Erica’s mother introduced her to yoga at age 9 and she has continued as a devoted practitioner ever since.

Teaching since 1984, Erica has the highest Registry with Yoga Alliance, been awarded Yoga Journal’s Karma Credit, and is featured in numerous publications: The Times of India, DNA India, THE WEEK-SMART Life Magazine, Centered Magazine, and Center Daily Times, along with European and American TV.

Workshop at The ICCR, Kolkata
Erica is faculty at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, the world famous International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, India and at the Penn State University in America. Erica teaches the ancient wisdom of yoga as a daily practice and is dedicated to wellness and appreciation of life. As a mentor to yoga teachers, aspirants, and community members alike, Erica tours the USA, Europe, Israel and India teaching the full spectrum of master classes, workshops, and teacher training programs on Lila Yoga, Movement Improvisation, and Contact Improvisation. Recently Erica conducted a  4-day programme on Lila Yoga Surya Namaskar and Lila Yoga Asana Practice at the  Abanindranath Gallery, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Kolkata and taught in Chennai as well.

What is Lila Yoga?

LILA YOGA awakens energy in our yoga practice & our lives. It is a holistic vinyasa practice that aligns body, breath & intentions. Yoga postures become playgrounds to awaken, explore and unite with prana—the universal life energy.

You see LILA YOGA combines physics & consciousness. Lately it’s feeling like a revolution of love and life! You see lila is the Sanskrit word for the loving-creative divine rhythm of life. Yoga is Sanskrit for unity. So LILA YOGA is unity within life.

Why practice YOGA in a class?

One of the most magical things about yoga is how it can melt away differences and illuminate our common humanity. Yoga is a practice that continues throughout our lives. We learn from each other. We are a community of diversity with a common heart truth.

What we do on our yoga mat should not stay there. In fact what we do on our yoga mat is only useful if it is applicable in our lives at large and how we relate to each other, ourselves, and situations.

I am forever thankful to the community of people I meet and the opportunities to learn and grow and discover.

As a teacher, I learn from each person who practices with me. I learn from teachers who I once taught and trained. Life is a beautiful opportunity to learn and evolve.

Being together in a yoga class offers us the opportunity to be in each others presence and respect and honor the journey we each need to go through. Yoga is a life long practice that provides tools to support a healthier way of being.

How did yoga become such an integral part of your life?

I was sick as a child. I was suffering a lot with health. My mother is  a smart marvelous creative being who was very interested in  Krishnamurti and his philosophy. Through this she learned about yoga and Krishnamacharya. She started to teach me pranayama, meditation & simple yoga postures. It had a profound effect on me. The first time we practiced, I felt a sense of ‘vacation from suffering’. That’s what I told my mom. It was powerful in a great way, so I wanted to continue practicing and we did. We continued ever since.

What do you like most about yoga?

I like that there is no end to it. Yoga is an extraordinary expansive and complete science of the human experience and our potentials within that experience. I so appreciate that every aspect of human  nature is addressed within it.

Stress, tension, frustrations, depressions are key things identified in today’s youth life. How can one get rid of such symptoms through Yoga?

Yoga is extremely powerful.  Even just allowing 10/15 mins a day to practice can enable healthier thoughts and energy within our lives. Yoga enhances our coping abilities, recovery capabilities and capacity for joy. And all of this is measurable in the neural receptors of our brain. Science has shown if you practice yoga, you can actually create an environment within the brain that is more receptive to positivity and to relaxation.

Workshop at The ICCR, Kolkata
Many of today’s youth have grown up with constant access to computer devices. These devices are amazing but can also pull us out of the current moment. Think about how rare it can be to just walk down the street and not being caught inside of your own thoughts or inside of your own computer/phone. I think this has been a real challenge for the youth. They grew up with it.

It used to be that doctors were the only ones who had to deal with the stress of being on call. Now everybody is on call all the time. We don’t have as much down time that is free of devices (phone, television, etc).  I’ve seen first hand how many youth suffer from anxiety, stress, tension and even panic attacks. Those of us who are in the field of yoga can extend ourselves with compassion to our marvelous youth and offer to sit quietly with them for a few peaceful minutes.

Yoga has tremendous benefits for children and it would be fantastic to see this integrated in schools. Do you possibly see this happen in the future?

 Yes. Traditionally India has offered yoga in school. I think India  is at a pinnacle point right now between tradition and modernity. I  hope India keeps its India spirit…and yoga is a big part of that beautiful spirit. Perhaps some think that it’s more modern or sophisticated to abandon the great science of  yoga. But honestly, I have never encountered anything more current or sophisticated than yoga. So, no matter how modern or posh a school is, I do hope that the basics of life skills that yoga can offer us continue to be an integral part of education.

Do you see any trends or tendencies in yoga industry?

In the US, for the general public, there’s been an emphasis mostly on fitness and the physical beauty that results from the physical practices of yoga. Now, there seems to be more interest in meditation. In India I’ve noticed that there’s a shift happening in the past 7 years or so, where yoga is not only being offered in traditional ashrams and schools but in studios as well. I plead to all of India to keep the heart of yoga honest. As yoga becomes more available in studios, I plea to the studios owners to keep the integrity and depth of yoga as a central focus.

My body is very fit, but that’s not my focus. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yoga supports me and feeds me, excites and stimulates me. Through the application of yoga practices I learn how to rest my troubles; how to broaden or clarify perspectives; how to elevate awareness. These aspects of yoga are profound and have contributed into my health in all aspects of my life.

Do you have any advice for beginners? How do we start?

Find a good teacher. Even before you find a good teacher know  that inside of each of us is a wise teacher. There is a part of us that  is wiser than our years. We just don’t listen to our wiser self. We don’t listen to our higher soul. Even if you are not in a position to finding a teacher, try to sit with yourself (even for few minutes) to be peaceful. Relax your body. Relax and slow your breath. Feel a peaceful heart. Allow yourself to enjoy being in a quiet state of being. Allow yourself to develop a relationship to that particular state of being.

Here it is in a nutshell: What you think and how you are, affects  everything about the way you act in the world. Taking a few minutes a day to relax and be peaceful can allow a calmer mind to make wiser decisions that are in harmony with the heart.

Workshop at The ICCR, Kolkata
Do you believe yoga can act as a catalyst for World Peace?

Lately I’ve been interested in inner-peace. Science shows that when we are within a calm, peaceful, healthy mind, we make better decisions. Yoga can bring about these qualities and help establish them within our ways of living. If we can start locally, I believe it will affect us all globally. Let’s each take time to cultivate a calm mind and a peaceful heart. And within that state of being, wish well for everyone, everywhere always.

This conviction is evident thought yogic literature and traditions. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the first ethical declaration is ahimsa—non violence. He states that when we are firmly established in yoga, all hostilities cease. In order to live peacefully, our breath, heart, mind, words, actions towards others must also be peaceful.

So yes…I do believe that the tools of yoga can be a powerful catalyst for inner-peace, which in turn leads to peace within thoughts and actions, which leads to more and more peace in our world. There is a beautiful mantra often recited in yoga practices that serves as a declaration of such peace:  Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu—May All Beings Everywhere Be Happy and Free.

For more information please visit www.LilaYoga.com and sign up to be on the email list.

"Jean-Jacques Lemêtre : the musical soul of Théâtre du Soleil"

Jean-Jacques Lemêtre has composed the music for all shows of the Théâtre du Soleil since 1979. He has performed with several French symphonic orchestras, engages - partly exclusively - in the music and the instruments of the Middle Ages (Orchestre Médiéval de Paris), works with Pierre Boulez in his Orchestre Inter contemporain. In between he returns to Rock, plays Jazz and Free Jazz, pertaining stilistic elements of European and extra European Folklore, as well as traditional music of the Middle East.

In 1978 he worked for the first time with Ariane Mnouchkine and her Théâtre du Soleil (Mephisto) where he found his artistic focus. The work and success of one of the most important theatres of our time is now unthinkable without him.

He does seminars and workshops on traditional instruments and theatre music throughout the world (Japan, China, Indonesia, India).Several of his pieces of theatre music for the Théâtre du Soleil were awarded with a prize of the "Meilleure Composition Scénique de l’Année".

In 2005 he was the first to be awarded with the newly founded Prix Molière for Theatre Music.

Recently, Jean Jacques Lemetre conducted a workshop at the The Old House, Kolkata which was organized by  The Alliance Française du Bengale & Culture Monks.

Why do you think Theatre du Solelei is so popular given that it has no speaking parts especially against the Hollywood era of violent big explosion genres?

The “Sun Theater”  [created by Arianne Mnouchkine, in Vincennes, near Paris]  is a popular, but elitist theater, which speaks about everyday life, with both a political and social vocation, trying to be in total respect with the audience : welcoming them, offering them authentic shows, making them dream, giving them some keys, encouraging them to take part in the show, feeding them, in every sense of the word, explaining them, showing them, that is the difference with Hollywood.

What is it about acting (mime) and music that stirs emotions?

Music come from actors and characters, and then it brings a plus to the play and to the text, but it should not touch too much the right chords.

Do you personally have a favorite type of music to play or listen to? You seem proficient in so many.

I love all kind of music, unless they are good, unless they talk to me, learn things to me, give me various pleasures, make me dream and give me some “elsewhere”.

What was your early training in music? Did you come from a musical family? I began music when I learned singing Gregorian Chant, and at the same time when I learned clarinet and bassoon in the music school, and also saxophone by myself, percussion instruments, and later, ancient middle-age instruments, baroque music, and finally plucked and bowed stringed instruments.

I understand that Circus Ethiopia is an outreach program teaching mime and acrobatics to poor children in Addis Abba. Infact that used costumes and equipment is given to that program so that children and their families do not have to beg. Would that work in India?

Every thing that makes possible for a child to have a « child’s real life » must exist and all the government's should consider this as a priority.

I don’t know if we have to copy  this African system for India, but the idea is magnificent and authorize a direct connection with adults(children’s parents), and make it possible to join the more disadvantaged and poorest persons who live in the most inaccessible places of the world.


A Magical Left Handed Repertoire

Maxime Zecchini is a French pianist, winner of many prizes all over the world. He has played in Paris as well as in numerous festivals and concerts in France and abroad. Maxime Zecchini is an eclectic musician: he has orchestrated music for television, and directed musicals.Fascinated with composition since early childhood, he is the composer of numerous original works and transcriptions. Maxime Zecchini had the idea of exploring the left hand repertoire a few years ago when he first studied Ravel’s Concerto pour la main gauche. The idea that playing with just five fingers could sound like two hands seemed like an extraordinary wonder to him. These works display the left hand’s vast capacities: at its best, it can make the piano sound like a full orchestra.

What made you take up the piano?

I have seen someone plays piano on the TV and I have asked to my parents to begin piano. Because I have found the sound of the piano very beautiful and attractive.

Max Zecchini  at the Calcutta School of Music
Who have been your mentors?

I have had the chance to have fantastic teachers since always; I have a lot of mentors!

Is playing with your left ( non- dominate hand? ) just an interesting thing to try or does it have vast Implication for composers?

It’s a big challenge for composers, because with just five fingers, the piano must sound like with two hands!

Would left handed people enjoy the piano playing more if they started out earning left hand pieces?

No I think it’s not important! Because on piano, 
there is no difference or facilities between the left handed people or right handed people! The sensations are the same.

Because being left handed was discouraged for centuries, is playing left handed a way of validating left handed people and giving them access to music in a way that starts with their dominate side?

I don’t think,  the repertory for thee left hand is not more way for the left handed people; it’s just an another work, because the difficulty will be the organization of the energy; it’s very physical to play this piece!

Could starting with the left hand be more creative since it crosses over to the right ( creative ) side of the brain?

I don’t know…. Maybe… It’s an interesting question . But, I don’t have the answer….

You have played in India. How different is it to play here as compared to playing at international venues?

It’s the first time for me in India; It’s a beautiful experience to play in this fantastic country. I’m very glad to do discover this repertory for the left hand. The audience is very attentive and interested and it’s a big pleasure for me!

As a pianist, what recommendations do you have for these children in India who are learning piano? How would they also become successful in their music?

The most important is the determination. Because, the work is different and intensive: but the result is very  fantastic! Travel around the world, share his/her passion of music, play on stage in front of the audience are the big motivation to practice piano each days!


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