Fusion set to go nuclear for Harpenden conductor

David Murphy David Murphy

Friday, July 11, 2014
9:53 AM

Harpenden conductor David Murphy will see the benefits of his time spent with music guru Ravi Shankar reach its first landmark next Monday, July 14,

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David, the last student of Leon Barzin and a protégée of both Sir Charles Mackerras and Ravi Shankar, has become a leading pioneer in the fusion of Indian and Western classical music – a quest which has sparked the development of a new musical genre that taps into the common roots of both musical worlds.

His work with Ravi Shankar and the huge potential for musical discovery ignited the idea for the world’s first East-West Opera which David was creating with the maestro, music guru to the Beatles, at the time of his death in December 2012.

The opera, Sukanya, is based on a popular story from the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata and is about the discovery of love late in life. It also relates to Ravi Shankar’s own experience of life and love.

David trained as a violinist at the Purcell School and he also undertook masterclasses with Yehudi Menuhin, sparking an interest in Indian music. Conducting training followed at the Guildhall School of Music, privately with Leon Barzin – the only surviving pupil of Toscanini – with Seiji Ozawa at Tanglewood and as assistant to Sir Charles Mackerras.

The Indian spark ignited by Menuhin grew when David began creative projects with Indian musicians. He went on to perform and to study intensively with Ravi Shankar who was his guide in the world of Indian music for almost a decade.

With author Amit Chaudhuri and Anoushka Shankar, David been completing the opera from the sketches and notes the maestro left should he pass on before the completion of the work. He wanted Sukanya to combine music, dance and animation in a completely new way.

Shankar envisaged Sukanya featuring ground-breaking live projected animation generated in real time by music,and synchronised with dance.

The first landmark in bringing the completed opera to the stage is a fundraising showcase and reception at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on Monday.

For further information email sv@firstmaestro.com and see the project website www.ravishankaroperaproject.org

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