Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka to perform for the prestigious ‘Pianists of the World’ series of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, Sri Lanka’s outstanding and award winning concert composer-pianist also a musicologist and highly qualified linguist, is billed to make her third appearance at London’s famed concert venue St. Martin-in-the-Fields with a solo recital on the 25th of October this year. She performs on invitation by St. Martin-in-the-Fields and her recital will be for the prestigious ‘Pianists of the World’ series. This is the oldest running recital series of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a series she performed for back in 2010 as well and founded by the legendary concert pianist, Dame Myra Hess. Dr. Ekanayaka performed to capacity audiences at this venue in both 2010 and again in 2012 and on both occasions the audiences were among the highest recorded at this venue. 2013 has seen Dr. Ekanayaka evolve a set of new compositions for solo piano to complete her maiden album comprising her own compositions. Her delightful programme for this recital includes Haydn’s Sonata in D Major Hob. XVI: 37, Beethoven’s Bagatelle WoO 59 “Für Elise”, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G minor Op. 23, Debussy’s L’Ise joyeuse and the world premiere of two of her own compositions, ‘Vannam (Gajaga, Hanuma, Mayura) & You’ and ‘In Lotus: Olu Pipila With Moment’.
The distinguishing feature of Dr. Ekanayaka’s recitals is that they incorporate her own compositions representing a novel musical genre. Her compositions within a recital programme comprise adaptations of melodies belonging to indigenous and popular Sri Lankan musics (most of which have never been adapted for the piano or harmonised), with musical motifs inspired by a particular aspect salient to each of the other works that form a given recital programme she is performing. In this sense, her compositions also function as a ‘link’ serving to unite at an experiential level the diverse works featured in a recital programme. Dr. Ekanayaka regards her compositions as deeply autobiographical and a result of her multilingualism (she is a native speaker of English and Sinhala), multicultural background, being ambidextrous and experiencing partial colour synaesthesia. Her compositions evolve spontaneously and as a whole when she is at the piano often within a few minutes.
Back in the summer of 2012, Dr. Ekanayaka debuted in the USA with a solo recital to a capacity audience at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC which was followed by a performance at the Asia Society Concert Hall in New York. Her programme for her Kennedy Center debut incorporated the world premiere of two of her own compositions.
Dr. Ekanayaka also holds the distinction of being the composer of the first composition and first compositions for the piano by a Sri Lankan composer to be performed at St. Martin-in-the-Fields (2010) and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC (2012) respectively.
She has been on the teaching faculty of Edinburgh University since 2007 where she has taught part-time in its departments of Linguistics and Music. Since 2012, Dr. Ekanayaka has also been developing a pioneering and so far highly successful music project on a purely voluntary basis aimed at empowering traumatised as well as underprivileged Sri Lankan children and youth recovering from the horrific civil war that ravaged the nation for over thirty years.
Official St. Martin-in-the-Fields event web-link; Click here
For further information about Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, her life and work, please visit www.tanyaekanayaka.com
Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka performing her composition ‘Dhaivaya: Alter(ing) Hue’ at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 2012. This composition incorporates an adaptation of and set of variations on the Sri Lankan hymn ‘Jehovah Thou Hast Promised’/Danno Budunge.