Collaborating with amazing artists is one of the most satisfying experiences of being a musician!

Acclaimed an “international mridangam performer” by USA Today and “pride of India” by India's leading newspaper, The Times of India, Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy is considered a musical ambassador.Having initially received mridangam training with Damodaran Srinivasan over the telephone in the U.S., Rohan continued his advanced training from maestro, Guruvayur Dorai, in India. Rohan has performed hundreds of concerts internationally since the age of nine as a distinguished soloist and collaborator in diverse music and dance ensembles.

Rohan has shared the stage with the leading artists of Indian classical music. He has spearheaded new cross-musical collaborations with eminent symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, and musicians including Grammy Award-winners Glen Velez and Vishwa.A highly-acclaimed educator, Rohan has presented Indian percussion institutes and summer camps, clinics, workshops, and master classes, and academic courses at world-renowned institutions, including the Eastman School of Music, Harvard University, MIT, Berklee College of Music, Duke, and Institute of Design (India).Rohan is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including USA Today’s “All-College Academic Second Team.” He was named an Indian Raga Fellow in 2013.

An innovator, Rohan designed a new drumhead tuning system that won him first place in Eastman’s New Venture Challenge entrepreneurship competition. His work resulted in a publication in the premier music journal, Percussive Notes, and he also received a patent for his invention. Recently, he performed at The Park's New Festival by Prakriti Foundation.

What influences have found their way into your music? What musician’s work inspired you the most?

Too many to name! It goes without saying that all of the legends of Indian classical, jazz, pop, etc., have helped guide all of us. My advanced mridangam teacher, Guruvayur Dorai, has always been an inspiration as a consummate artist and a human being. All of my collaborators have taught me different things--artistic and professional--at every step. I think it's up to us to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of every artist, and to see how we can learn from them and enrich ourselves and those around us. 

The Park Festival tour has been a wonderful experience performing with my talented friends, crossing artistic, geographic, and demographic boundaries, and gaining inspiration from the diversity of India. We're very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to coming back soon!

You have performed with some of the most famous names in the music world. How important are these collaborations with diverse artists for you?

Collaborating with amazing artists is one of the most satisfying experiences of being a musician! I've been very lucky to perform with senior artists in different genres who taught me so much about musicianship and professionalism. I remember the legendary violinist, T. N. Krishnan, told me when we were on tour in the U.S. that he has played with four generations of mridangam artists from my lineage!

You are committed to community service and outreach programmes .What has been the most gratifying experience for you?

I've always valued the idea of sharing what we know to those who lack access. One recent initiative is the new Indian Rhythm Ensemble that I'm starting at the San Francisco Community Music Center. The CMC has been around for almost 100 years with the goal of providing music education to everyone regardless of social, cultural, and economic background. With support from a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, we are starting this multicultural rhythm program in the heart of San Francisco, one of the most diverse cities in the world.

What are the challenges of being an artist today?

Besides the artistic and professional challenges that all artists have faced every generation, today, there's so much music available at our fingertips. It can be hard to figure out what to listen to and what to adapt to our artistry. It's so important to have excellent teachers who can help filter through all of that and help us learn how to learn.


Soulful journey

Son of the late Kolkata composer John Mayer, Jonathan began his musical training at the early age of 5 with Violin, Piano & Composition. He started his initial training under the western sitarist Clem Alford who was a disciple of Sachindra Nath Saha, Senia Gharana. Later he studied Imdadkhani Gharana technical proficiency under Ustad Wajahat Khan for a short while and finally settled in to the Senia Veen-kar Gharana under the extremely knowledgeable maestro Pandit Subroto Roychowdhury.

Jonathan Mayer studied composition from his father who studied violin with Phillipe Sandre in Calcutta, music theory with Melhi Mehta in Bombay, Indian theory with Sanathan Mukerjee and composition from Matyas Sether. Jonathan later  studied composition from Andrew Downes at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he gained a B.Mus (Hons) at the Birmingham Conservatoire studying both sitar and composition. Because of his ability to read western notation he has performed with a variety of genres and so far his career has seen him play with artists such as Dave Stewart, The Bingham String Quartet, Kathryn Tickell, Kumar Bose, Kuljit Bhamra, Erich Gruenburg, Rohan De Sarem, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra Kenny Wheeler, The Orlando Consort, John Wilson, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Future Sounds of London, Sarah Brightman, I Musici Fiamminghi Orchestra,and Sir Paul McCartney.

Jonathan has composed extensively for many genres including jazz, fusion, Indian & symphonic writing. His works have been performed and commissioned by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Docklands Sinfonia, Erich Gruenburg, Joji Hattori, and his father’s band Indo-Jazz Fusions. Jonathan can be heard on many soundtracks & films including Sarah Brightmans’ Eden, Kevin Spaceys’ Beyond the sea, Indian Summer (Channel 4), Victoria & Abdul (where he can be seen on film) and Salty. Jonathan is also co-founder of First Hand Records Ltd.

Jonathan has performed all over the world including, France, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, America, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and two very successful tours in India as well as a number of performances for the BBC in the UK.

You started playing piano and violin at an early age of 5. What sparked your interest for sitar?

My father is Indian, born in Kolkata. He was also a violinist/Composer (John Mayer) and formed The Indo-Jazz Fusions band with Joe Harriott in 1966. The sound of the sitar was always around me while growing up but only decided to pick it up later in my youth.

You have collaborated with a wide range of artists including Sir Paul McCartney & the BBC Concert Orchestra. How important is to collaborate and to work with other genres of music?

Although my father is Indian, my mother is English and this dual heritage is my musical identity. I studied both sitar from Pandit Subroto Roychowdury and composition from my father and so combining the two cultures feels natural to me.

Your music can be heard on many soundtracks & films.  The sitar has added an Indian sound to Hollywood films from the 1950s. What are your thoughts on Hollywood’s obsession with the sitar?

As long as it is done with respect for the instrument and genre is can only be a good thing!

Do you think sitar’s hybrid version (the electronic sitar for example) which is being hotly pursued by young, experimental musician a threat?

Not a threat. As long as there is no confusion between an acoustic sitar and electric as they are different instruments, just as electric and acoustic guitars are seen as different instruments. You cannot play classical Hindustani on an electric sitar and you cannot play rock/funk on an acoustic one with conviction and volume.

Indian classical music has a strong following abroad, but do you agree the genre's popularity hasn't translated in the country of its origin?

Classical music be it Indian or western is a niche market. I wouldn’t say there is a massive Indian classical music  following abroad but there are possibly more concert opportunities through festivals. Media plays such a huge part in everyone’s lives and so being bombarded with Bollywood or Justin Bieber and being told that their music is great can’t help the classical cause but these are only fads and Indian classical music will stay around and evolve. I read an article recently about the decline of the big classical musical festivals in India and that is a worry, we must keep concert opportunities open for the sake of culture.

For centuries, art and music have helped establish a spiritual connection between humans irrespective of their race or ethnicity. Does music helps you to reconnect to exalted, higher places?

That’s too deep! I play, I love playing, and I have fun and try to take the listener on a journey which is fundamentally my journey. My journey is a story and I play with my character as each musician SHOULD have his/her own unique voice as no two people are the same. My story isn’t spiritual, it is about life, family, sorrow, love and travels. If someone would like to call this a spiritual journey then that is fine but I see it as being story in which I connect with myself and not a higher place….inner peace!

What new things are you working on now?

Just finished a full symphonic orchestral piece called ‘Pranam’. It is completely based on Kathak and was performed in Czech Rep in June. I am now looking to revamp a trio I was in called The Teak Project (sitar, guitar & tabla)


The Joy of Volunteering

Jerry Hsiao is a major in mass communication specialized advertising and public relations. His special habits focus on photography. Jerry likes to take a picture of the touching moment between people.  He was one of the co-leader for TAIndia 2017.

What inspired you to be the faculty of TAIndia 2017?

Actually, this is my second time to visit India. Everything in India is always full of surprise there. And I really miss the people I knew in Kolkata last year. I hope that I can do more for them and know more about them. So I decided to come back to India again.

How important is to for young people to volunteer and do community service?

Whether it is important to young people. I think it depends on what are you thinking. Some people just don’t know that is very important. We can’t blame on them. But if we really feel something from our heart when we service to the people who is in need. We should keep trying our best to do. Because we can learn from service and also know more about yourself. It looks like not a big deal. But actually we will found something with meaning to ourselves. Maybe you also will improve the community, city, country, or whole the world.

What has been the general feedback of volunteers?

We can have some reflection to our life. We always can get a deep reflection on our life after the service. Most of volunteers will know how lucky they are in the world. Because we are the person can give not the person who just accepts. And we found there always are poor people got a worst life than us.

What were the best aspects of your experience in India?

I will say that once I was walking on the flooded street in Kolkata, The water is floating a dead mouse and some garbage. I really felt so disgusting. But I quickly accept the entire situation. Because I found the Indians looks like everything normal for them. I just tell myself that the fear only come from myself.

What kind of impact do you think TAIndia have had on youth of Taiwan?

TAIndia is a really special group. Because our members are come from different country and area. We have two students from Hong Kong. And also four students come from China. We also invite two Indian students to join our group. It is an international group. But it looks not so difficult to us. And we also prove that India is not a dangerous country like the news reported. Because there always are some people will worry about that they heard we are going to India. But we show that India is absolutely safe and interesting. Like the nickname to Kolkata. It is the city of joy.

What do you wish for the future?

I wish I won’t forget to keep doing service to the people. And never forget how lucky the life I have? I still will try to more for the world.


Exploring the concept of interdisciplinary

Alfredo Miralles is a contemporary dance performer and cultural manager. His work in performing arts production joins his two career paths: dance and project management. Since 2009 he works at the "Aula de las Artes" of Carlos III University in Madrid. He also writes and reflecting on dance, mainly working as a critic in SusyQ magazine. He is currently infused with the search of a suitable language on new technologies in conjunction with the art of movement. he was here to participate in Dance Bridges Festival 2017.

How would you characterize your relation to dance as an art form?

My relationship with dance is multifaceted. I work at the University Carlos III as cultural manager, creating projects around dance and new technologies. We work with students of different fields: engineers, sociologists... to approach Dance to other disciplines. So they are mostly pedagogical projects. But also I create some pieces with them as choreographer. So, this mixed profile between teaching, creating and managing conform my personal relationship with dance.

What are some central themes you’re exploring through your performances?

In my creative processes I am exploring the concept of interdisciplinary, which means I work not only with another artists, but with people from other fields of knowledge. Especially scientists. So I create mixed teams to create something together that put in dialogue different disciplines, as dance and computering. This is the center of my artistic research. 

What is your major source of inspiration?

My source of inspiration is the meeting with the other (that its also a meeting with yourself). When I start an interdisciplinary creative process I never know how its going to be the result, or even if we are going to be able to do something together. But the encounter with other disciplines make me think about my own dance practice, the borders of what I can imagine to be possible. So this meeting always pushes me out of my comfort area, which is the only place where the inspiration is possible for me.

What do you think how dance scene started to change in the context of technology?

Dance is linked to the world. And the world is getting more and more technological. So if choreographers want to talk about the way we connect nowadays with others, the way we construct our identity through social media, etc. they will start to consider the use of new technology as a way to express the new issues of current life.

What do you think the Dance Bridges Festival gives young dancers to take away?

Festivals are very important for young dancers. Its the moment when we can share with artist from other places, other cultures. It's a meeting point that enlarge your word. Specially this festival, whose name is Dance Bridges! For example, we've been attending workshops with artists from India and I'm going to meet a katak dancer (Alka Das Pranti) to share the interactive dispose of my piece. It's a way to share, to know new things and rethink your own practice and to notice that, in essence, we all are the same. Body language is universal. I can't be more agree with the festival statement: "in you I see my dance".

"The augmented body" is the scenic result of the encounter between 
the dance and new technologies promoted by the Carlos III 
University of Madrid (Spain) and configures an engineering bachelor thesis.

This dance solo seeks to establish dialogue between the two disciplines in
a horizontal hierarchy, in which technologies are part of the poetry of the scene 
based on real-time interaction.

In this piece, the Kinect sensor and the Processing programming is used to 
create interactive audiovisual that are activated and transformed by 
the movement of the dancer.

- Choreography, text and direction: Alfredo Miralles
- Interactive Audiovisual: Javier Picazas
- Interactive support: Javier Gorostiza
- Voice: Irene Gomez
- Original Music: Antonio Dueñas "A piel de héroe"

Link to short video:


Where letters become artistic creations

In collaboration with Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, the Nihongo Kaiwa Kyookai Society (NKKS) organized a Calligraphy Workshop which portrayed the fine artistic technique of writing in Japanese language using traditional brush, ink and other materials. More than 70 students, mainly from the Japanese language learning institutes, participated in the workshop that will be conducted by Ms. Hiroko Nagahama, a Former Calligraphy Teacher at the Tokyo Kasei University Girls Senior High School.
What keeps you motivated to keep coming back to Kolkata and do workshops?

My aim is to create more awareness about Japanese culture.  There are already a lot of people who love Japan. I want to increase their numbers.  In today’s age the connection between one human being with another is very important. You have to build relationships with people. Japanese calligraphy is the essence of traditional Japanese culture.
How can calligraphy be made popular here?

Unfortunately you don’t see much implementation of calligraphy here in India. Japanese calligraphy has evolved and is now taught as a required subject in Japan's elementary schools. One experience relaxation and emotional calmness while doing calligraphy.
What are your thoughts on online calligraphy courses?

There are useful resources and online courses are on the Internet. But it is important to learn the basics from a good instructor. Once you have the hang of it then you can take online lessons.
Any memorable experience  from this trip?

I was surprised to see the participants this time. How talented they were. Although many of them were doing it for the first time, they wrote so well. I am happy that so many people know about the existence of calligraphy.
What are the practical implications of calligraphy in modern times?

You can use it in making posters. Or you can use the calligraphy form in writing Indian languages. One can modify and personalize these styles for an infinite range of stunning effects
How spiritual is Japanese calligraphy?

It helps you to connect more deeply with their higher selves.


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