School of Music

USM School of Music Presents Concert of Indian and World Music with Guest Artists Srinivas Krishnan and Arjun Chandy

October 11, 2013

Contact: Erin Bartoletti, (207) 780-5256 or

GORHAM, Maine – It’s not often that a University of Southern Maine (USM) YouTube video gets more than 53,000 views, but one special video did last year, and perhaps a reprised edition will break that record this year. 

The highly viewed video features the USM School of Music 2012 concert of the USM Composers Ensemble performing an A.R. Rahman song with Srinivas Krishnan, master Indian percussionist. 

The video is an excellent preview of this month’s concert of Indian and world music, featuring the USM Composers Ensemble, guest artists Krishnan and Arjun Chandy, singer and vocal coach, under the direction of Dan Sonenberg, USM associate professor and resident composer.

The details of the concert are:

  • “A Concert of Indian and World Music” performed by the USM Composers Ensemble with guest artists Srinivas Krishnan and Arjun Chandy, 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus; free and open to the public

Krishnan was invited to perform at the USM School of Music by Michael Stevenson, USM provost and vice president for academic affairs. Stevenson met Krishnan during a previous appointment at Miami University, Krishnan’s alma mater.

Stevenson aspires to continue developing relationships between USM and guest artists such as Krishnan in order to offer students more experiential opportunities.

Part of what USM is about is not only learning about an area of discipline, but getting to actually do it,” said Stevenson in a recent interview. 

“By having guests such as Srinivas Krishnan come and offer their expertise and get students excited - in this case about music they are not necessarily familiar with – it’s an excellent opportunity to perform.” Stevenson continued. “It’s a chance to do something different than listening to someone else do it and studying it – they actually get to do it.”

Krishnan invited Stevenson to his home in India, where Stevenson met the musician’s family members and visited the conservatory that Krishnan runs with A.R. Rahman.

Rahman is an Indian composer most well known for his score of the 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire.” Among his many awards are two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe.

“For the USM School of Music students to have the opportunity to work with these talented artists, who are so closely aligned with A.R. Rahman, is amazing,” said Dan Sonenberg, in a recent interview.

Chandy is a singer, arranger, studio vocalist and vocal group coach with a background in Indian classical music. He has performed through the U.S., India and Singapore, and also frequently collaborates with Rahman.

Krishnan and Chandy will spend the days leading up to the concert working the students of the USM Composers Ensemble to perfect their performance.

“The energy created by this kind of improvisational preparation is contagious,” Sonenberg said. “Last year, we were rehearsing into all hours of the night, and I expect the same will happen this year. 

Rehearsing with Krishnan will benefit the USM Composers Ensemble musically and will also offer additional learning opportunities. 

“Srinivas is always thinking about new ways to involve students in music, philosophy and culture,” Stevenson said. “He’s an incredibly talented individual, and like many artists, he is very entrepreneurial.”

The USM Chamber Singers, the university’s premiere a cappella ensemble, will join the USM Composers Ensemble for several pieces in the concert. Chandy will instruct the singers on techniques for singing Indian and world music, which will be new territory for a group that traditionally sings classical and Renaissance pieces. 

“It will be the first time the USM Chamber Singers have sung in Hindi,” said Robert Russell, USM professor of music and choral studies.

The Concert of Indian and World Music is free and open to the public. For special accommodations, call (207) 780-5142, TTY (207) 780-5646.

To view the YouTube video of the 2012 Concert of Indian and World Music, go to:

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