NewsPress Release: 9/13/02
MARLBORO, VT Marlboro College's Whittemore theater will transform into a collection of moods, colors, and cosmic forces later this month with a South Indian Classical Music concert. The public is invited to the concert on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. There, David Reck will play the veena and David Nelson the mridangam. The veena is a plucked string instrument similar to a sitar. A mridangam is a two-headed, horizontally held drum used in classical Indian music and capable of intricate rhythms.
Reck, a senior disciple of the legendary Mme. Ranganayaki Rajagopalan of Madras, has studied veena since1968. He has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, MOMA's Summergarden Series, the East-West Festival (Rome), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Last December he played four concerts in the 2001 Madras Festival of Music and Dance in India to critical acclaim, distinguishing himself as the first American veena player ever to appear. As a scholar his books include "Music of the Whole Earth" and "Worlds of Music" as well as many articles on India's musical traditions. Recipient of many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, he teaches at Amherst College.
Nelson has distinguished himself in concerts worldwide, most recently a European tour with the legendary flutist T. Viswanathan. He is a disciple of the great Tanjore Ranganathan and teaches as visiting artist in mridangam at Wesleyan University. As the premiere exponent of mridangam in the United States he has accompanied many of south India's leading musicians both here and in India. As a scholar his seminal study of tani avartanam -- drum solo compositions in Indian concerts -- is unmatched in the field.
South India's classical music alternates between exquisite jewel-like songs and expansive improvisation. Each song (and improvisation) is set in a melodic entity known as a "raga," which is a collection of melody bits, scale, ornaments, and intonation connected with expressive moods, meditations, colors, deities, times of day or cosmic forces. "Tala," or a recurring time cycle of three, five, seven or eight beats, frames not only songs and improvisation, but the mind-boggling complex world of rhythm found in Indian drumming patterns. This concert will be in place of the Alex Ogle concert originally slated for this day. The Ogle concert will be held at a later date. The concert is free of charge.
Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies. Its 300 undergraduate students enjoy a 7:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community, and individualized courses of study on a 350-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont.