West meets East - 50 years later
A unique revival of the legendary project initiated by Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin
The first "WEST MEETS EAST" concert
Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin started to collaborate in 1966, fourteen years after their first meeting. Menuhin was responsible for the Bath Festival in the UK and decided that they should have concert together at the festival. He was not familiar with Indian music and was not accustomed to improvisation. However, he performed in a remarkable way, becoming the first Western musician in the world to play a "raga" on stage alongside Indian artists. The album recorded one year later would become one of the most famous in the history of the EMI record label, being awarded Grammy in 1968.
Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin - Human Rights Day Concert - 10 December 1967
2017 - 2018
In 2017, 50 years after the release of the "West meets East" album, Shankar and Menuhin's music was performed live on stage for the first time. A sold out tour featuring the most famous compositions of the "West meets East" trilogy brought 2500 spectators to the concert halls. In 2018, the repertoire was enriched with arrangements for violin and Indian instruments of famous Romanian classical songs having a folk source of inspiration.
Alexandru is the most acclaimed Romanian violin player. His fruitful musical career has been building since his debut in 1985 in successful concerts throughout the world in halls such as Théâtre des Champs Elysees – Paris, Carnegie Hall – New York or Metropolitan Arts Centre – Tokyo, appearing with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Kurt Masur or Christoph Eschenbach. Alexandru took up the difficult challenge to explore a musical tradition very different than his own. He travelled 50 years back in time and followed Yehudi Menuhin's journey, who had received several sketches from Ravi Shankar and, based on them, had created the "West meets East" music through practising and improvising together.
Udhai Mazumdar is a direct disciple of Ravi Shankar, with whom he studied in the guru-shishya parampara tradition, living together with the master. He has performed for the Royal Families of Britain and Sweden. He has accompanied Ravi Shankar on various occasions and has shared the stage with Zakir Hussain on the eve of the 75th birthday celebration of Ravi Shankar. Udhai played a key role in our project - to bring Ravi Shankar's music to live, starting from the few existing notations. As a composer, he enriched the "West meets East" repertoire with new arrangements which got him standing ovations and warm feedback from the audience.
Honoured with the President’s award of India, recognised as a proficient sitarist by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and a regular performer in the global stage, Rohan Dasgupta is an emerging name in the music fraternity of India, one of the most
charismatic sitar players of the younger generation. With his fine expertise and creative instinct, Rohan has always shown his orthodox and magical command over the implicit nuances of the
Ragas and, just Ravi Shankar, a keen interest in experimentations with other forms of music.
Descendant of a great family of musicians from Allahabad, Bhaskar received his first flute at the age of four, from master Bholanath Prasanna, professor of the legendary Hariprasad Chaurasia. His talent has been rewarded in numerous music competitions and he has got the privilege of performing for a diplomatic event in Delhi hosted by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi for the King Philippe of Belgium. Bhaskar brought a soulful dimension to some of the "West meets East" compositions, originally played on the metal flute.
A young Steinway Artist, Sînziana Mircea obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Kӧln (Germany) and a Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama,
London (UK), with a scholarship provided by Steinway & Sons UK. Currently, she is pursuing the Master in Arts Management and Administration at the Bocconi Business School in Milano (Italy).
Sinziana symbolizes the presence of Hepzibah Menuhin, Yehudi's
sister, in the "West meets East" project.
The repertoire of the "West meets East" project includes Western classical music compositions selected by Yehudi Menuhin, North Indian classical music, crossover compositions by Ravi Shankar, along with a new section - arrangements of Western music for violin, bansuri, sitar and tabla.
Raga Piloo by Ravi Shankar - Violin, Sitar, Tabla
Live recording from the concert held on 23rd October 2017, Auditorium Hall, National Art Museum, Romania