Indian classical violinist and mathematician Purnaprajna Bangere and David Balakrishnan, of the multi-Grammy Award-winning Turtle Island Quartet, have created a new musical syntax based on a geometric framework that integrates Indian classical music and Western music, encompassing elements from classical, blues and jazz. The result opens new frontiers with exciting new sounds and structures that transcend known genres of music. Joining Purna and David to complete the ensemble are bass virtuoso Jeff Harshbarger from Kansas City and the talented Amit Kavthekar from Boston on Tabla.
Purnaprajna comes from a important school of violin players in India. He had rigorous training under the well known south Indian violinist and a teacher of great repute HKN Murthy. HKN Murthy is the student of the legendary Indian musician M. S. Gopalakrishnan. Purnaprajna is a representative of his school, and plays the style of music known as the Parur style, characterized by high technical virtuosity and musicianship. He has been invited to give solo recitals in the prestigious music festivals and venues such as the Learnquest music festival in Boston, the Cleveland Music festival, Toronto Music festival, Lied center of Kansas, Asian Art Museuem, San Francisco and MIT Heritage Arts of South Asia. Purnaprajna has recently come up with a geometric framework to explore integration various genre and is currently working on this with David Balakrishnan, the director of the musical group Turtle Island String quartet and Dan Gailey, Director of Jazz Studies at KU. He is a professor of Mathematics and Music at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Purna's music website is: www.purnaviolin.com
David Balakrishnan, composer/violinist and founder of the Grammy winning Turtle Island Quartet,” was born in Los Angeles, California in 1954. After graduating from UCLA in 1976, he quickly established his reputation as a talented young improvising violinist, appearing on many recordings and making guest appearances with the David Grisman Quartet and jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli. Under his direction, Turtle Island has won 2 Grammy awards and David himself has been nominated 6 times, the most recent being a 2015 nomination in the Jazz composition category for his piece, "Confetti man". Considered an important musician/composer, in 2015 David was awarded the Chamber Music America’s prestigious Classical Commissioning Program grant, supporting a full-length work commemorating the quartet’s 30th anniversary season.
Voted 2011 Person of the Year by Plasticsax.com and Best Bassist by Pitch Magazine, Jeff Harshbarger has had quite an eclectic career. A prolific composer and bandleader in his own right, Jeff has recorded and performed across the globe with varied artists of repute. He is a co-founder of Tzigane Music, an artist-run collective and record label, and is the curator of Jeff Harshbarger Presents: An Alternative Jazz Series, promoting new improvised music in Kansas City. Jeff also hosts Wednesday's Jazz in the Afternoon from 1-3 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI.
Young and talented Amit Kavthekar (the last disciple of Late Ustad Allarakha) has rhythm running in his veins. At the early age of six, when most the children of his age were playing about, he was being groomed in the art of tabla playing by great maestro Ustad Allarakha.S ince 1991, he was fortunate to be taught tabla intricacies by the world famous tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. Amit has played with some of the greatest Indian musicians such as Ustad Zakir Hussain and Sivamani on Zee Tv in India, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma in his Documentary directed by Jabbar Patel in India, He has accompaneid Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez Ustad Ashish Khan, Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta and Pt. Kushal Das. Presently Amit is teaching in New England School of Music which is based in Boston MA area.