Free Lunchtime Concert: Tanya Ekanayaka
St Martin’s Embassy Series
Beethoven – Piano Sonata No.21 in C ‘Waldstein’
Ekanayaka – 2013/14 June Echoes (World Premiere)
Tanya Ekanayaka Piano (presented by The High Commision of Sri Lanka)
Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, Sri Lanka’s internationally acclaimed and award winning concert pianist-composer returns to St Martin-in-the-Fields this season for her fourth solo recital at this iconic concert venue. Classically trained and with a background in Asian and Popular musics, she is also a musicologist and highly qualified linguist. Tanya Ekanayaka began studying the piano when she was just five years old, made her debut public recital appearance at the age of twelve and has since given solo recitals at some of the world’s most prestigious concert venues. Her United States debut was a solo recital at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC in 2012. Performing to a capacity audience and received with a standing ovation at the end, her recital incorporated the world premiere of two of her own compositions which represent the first compositions for the piano by a Sri Lankan composer to ever be performed at the Kennedy Center. Consistent with her interdisciplinary background, Tanya holds a doctorate for interdisciplinary research involving the disciplines of Linguistics and Musicology from Edinburgh University as well as a range of degrees in Music Performance, Linguistics and Literature.
The distinguishing feature of Tanya Ekanayaka’s recitals is that they incorporate her own compositions representing a novel and unusual musical genre. Her compositions within a recital programme comprise adaptations of melodies belonging to ancient 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 recitals become a discourse where the merging of diverse musical genres and eras is facilitated. She regards her compositions as deeply autobiographical and a result of her multilingualism (she is a native speaker of English and Sinhala), multicultural background, ambidexterity and experiencing partial colour synaesthesia. Her compositions evolve spontaneously and often as a whole when she is at the piano.
Tanya Ekanayaka 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, Tanya Ekanayaka has also been developing a pioneering and so far highly successful music project on a purely voluntary basis aimed at empowering traumatised and underprivileged Sri Lankan children recovering from a horrific civil war that ravaged the nation for over thirty years. Impending music highlights include performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 54 as concerto soloist in Japan in May 2015.
Notably, since August 2014 Tanya Ekanayaka has been contracted with Naxos (Grand Piano Label): on 1st April 2015 this label launches globally, her maiden album of her own compositions for solo piano titled ‘Reinventions: Rhapsodies for Piano’ performed by her and representing her unique genre. The final composition featured in the album, ‘2103/14 June Echoes’ is being premiered at this recital. Tanya Ekanayaka’s album represents the first album of compositions entirely by a Sri Lankan composer to ever be launched globally by a leading international record label. For a taster of the album please visit: www.naxos.com/ecard/grandpiano/GP693/. The album is now available to pre-order from iTunes and Amazon.
For further information about Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, her life and work, please visit http://www.tanyaekanayaka.com/
Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org