Listening to Rajeev Taranath play indian classical music will take you into an entire new world of inner exploration and transcendental bliss like never before. We are grateful and honored this true master of a musician will be performing live at UNIFY FEST September 22nd-25th, Santa Fe, NM! Get your tickets here!
Born into a highly creative family from Bangalore, India, Rajeev Taranath began studying music, song and poetry with his father at a very early age. As a teenager, he attended a concert featuring classical Indian music that would forever change his life and artistic path. Under the tutelage of great sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Taranath became dedicated to the sarod, the lyrical, deeply resonant relative of the lute. Today, nearly 40 years later, Taranath is considered one of India’s top classical instrumentalists whose performances masterfully combine the depth and rigor of traditional Hindustani classical music with inspired imagination and emotional intensity. For this, Taranath has received wide acclaim, including the Indian Government’s highest honor for the classical performing arts, the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award.
Currently living in Mysore, India, Taranath travels worldwide both teaching and performing. Over his expansive career, his concerts have included performances at major Indian music venues and internationally at universities, conservatories and world music festivals. His performance of classical ragas -highly textured patterns of melody- offer the listener an understanding of the tremendous scope of traditional North Indian classical music. Arts writer for the New York Times, Edward Rothstein, said of Taranath’s performance: “Rajeev Taranath’s sarod improvisations mixed the spiritual and the spirited…the raga began with introspective meditation and proceeded into an exuberant rhythmic celebration.”
Taranath’s credentials as a researcher and educator are as impressive as his track record as an artist. A noted linguist and lover of language, he speaks eight languages fluently and holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Mysore. As a Ford Foundation scholar, he researched one of the most important lineages of classical Indian music, the Maihar-Allauddin Gharana. Additionally, from 1995-2005, Taranath served on the music faculty of the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.
“As someone who has had the honor of hosting Rajeev Taranath in concert several times, I cannot express how fortunate we are to be able hear this living master perform,” says Colorado College professor Jonathan Scott Lee. “Rajeev Taranath is not only one of the world’s top exponents of classical Indian music, he is also an artist who is constantly searching, refining and always doggedly pursuing excellence. He unfolds layers of the raga with the expertise that come with the magic of time and sustained attention and demonstrates to us how inspiration and depth of experience work together. This is a beautiful example for all of us, at any age.
Clear your calendar, come to the performance and bring everyone you know.”
Rajeev Taranath connects us to a beautiful ethos in Indian classical music, in which achieved musicianship is the reflection of a profound and sustained love of the music and the instrument. The deep exploration of a raga through insistent riyaaz or practice over a lifetime and the value of learning and listening with humility is what propels the music forward. Eventually, an artist is ‘invited in’ by the raga so that IT becomes the performer. Taranathji is fond of a line from a poem by TS Eliot: “You are the music while it lasts”.