South Indian Percussion visiting Varner Hall

By Kevin Romanchik

On Nov. 1, Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance (MTD) is inviting Rohan Krishnamurthy, a musician from South India, to campus for students, faculty and guests to experience modern and traditional percussion music from Southern India.

This concert is part of MTD’s annual guest artist series, and will focus on percussion music from Southern India.

Michigan native Rohan Krishnamurthy is a long-time student of a legendary musician in India.

Guruvayur Dorai, who was originally supposed to be performing, but suffered from a stroke this past summer and was unable to make the journey from India.

“Rohan is Mr. Dorai’s number one student in America and has been studying with him for some time, and so I felt that he was the best person to take the place of his teacher,” Mark Stone, coordinator of percussion and world music at OU, said.

Four other musicians, including Jay Balan, Sam Jeyasingham, Mark Stone and Rohan’s mother, Sujatha Krishnamurthy, will assist Krishnamurthy on a variety of traditional instruments from South India.

“We are calling this a percussion concert, but it is going to be unlike any percussion concert that many people have been to, mainly because of the instruments we will be playing; particularly the instrument that I will be using, the mridangam, which is a pitched drum from South India,” musician Rohan Krishnamurthy said.

Krishnamurthy will be performing the compositions of his teacher, but also some of his own pieces, including a cross-cultural performance.

“I can tell you, having already had a rehearsal with Rohan, he is every bit as talented as his teacher,” Stone said. “He is a young musician, and the future of South Indian percussion.”

The MTD department hopes that by bringing pieces of culture from other countries, like South India, this event will broaden the horizons of OU students and members of neighboring communities. MTD hopes that the annual guest artists series will continue to provide a different perspective.

“This concert will be a new and enjoyable experience for the audience because this is a really incredible system of music, but it is not one that is widely known in the United States,” Krishnamurthy said. I hope to really share my knowledge and passion for this music with the audience.”

Krishnamurthy will also be teaching a world music course and a master class for the percussion students on Nov. 1.