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PhD musical performance showcases diversity of research at Macquarie

Page last published: 28 Sep 2015

Indian PhD performance
In early September the Faculty of Arts showcased a student research project through a beautiful and lively concert of Indian classical dance and music.

Mohan Ayyar, a PhDcandidate in music at Macquarie University, is exploring the music composition process for the Indian dance form known as bharatanãtyam. As part of his creative practice thesis, Mohan composed the music score for a full length bharatanãtyam performance.

The performance, titled ãnanda, was a celebration of joy and happiness, evident by the vibrant colours and rich melodies and rhythms presented to a near full house audience at the Macquarie Theatre.

Hosted by the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, this performance showcases a growing area of research in the Department. 

"Macquarie has had a successful record of creative practice PhD candidates for over fifteen years. Mohan Ayyar's project continues this fine tradition of combining both performance and scholarship. In addition,the performance showcased Macquarie's connections with the Indian community in Sydney", says Dr Andrew Alter, Associate Dean, Higher Degree Research.

PhD Performance

Mohan's research explores the complex choices a composer makes when composing for dance, balancing aesthetics with the grammar of South Indian classical music. The dances in ãnanda portrayed splendid stories of Hindu mythology including the cosmic dance of Shiva and tales from the epic, Ramayana. The dances were choreographed by Hamsa Venkat, a leading bharatanãtyam exponent and teacher based in Western Sydney and the items were danced by seven senior dancers of the Samskriti School of Indian Dancing.

The music was performed live by a talented team of Sydney-based Indian musicians which included Sangeetha Ayyar (vocals), Balaji Jagannadhan (violin),Pallavarajan Nagendran (mrudangam/double headed drum) and Mohan(synthesizer).

Most of the dancers and musicians are full time professionals in other fields but pursue Indian arts as their passion. The audio for the show was provided by technician Ben Nash and others from the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies.

The performance provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Macquarie University's connections with the Indian community in Sydney and the diversity of research being encouraged at Macquarie.

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