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Durham, North Carolina, United States | INDIE

Durham, North Carolina, United States | INDIE
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"Hindugrass" 2008. Heitzenrater Music



John Heitzenrater is a multi-instrumentalist, whose performance career spans more than two decades and multiple genres. The instrument on which he is featured in Hindugrass is sarod, but he has also appeared performing and in recordings on tabla, bassoon, guitars, bass, ghatam, keyboards, and voice. On sarod, Mr. Heitzenrater is a product of the celebrated Maihar-Allaudin Gharana, which traces its lineage to Mian Tansen, court musician of Akbar the Great and the principle progenitor of modern Hindustani classical music. He studied sarod with Pandit Rajeev Taranath, distinguished disciple of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan and one of the world's leading exponents of the sarod. He studied tabla with Lucknow Gharana Maestro Swapan Chaudhuri. He is also versed in the folk music traditions of Macedonia and Bulgaria, in Western classical music, and in various American popular traditions including rock, folk, jazz, and bluegrass. In his diverse performance career, he has shared the stage with an array of talented musicians from around the globe. He performed at the Dalai Lama's World Festival of Sacred Music with master South Indian drummer Poovalur Srinivasan, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles with chitravina virtuoso N. Ravikiran and master drummers Glen Velez and John Bergamo, and he accompanied tabla master Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on harmonium. Mr. Heitzenrater earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Composition and Performance (on sarod, guitar, and bassoon) and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Multi-Focus Guitar performance from California Institute of the Arts. In addition to his performance career, John recently finished scoring the short film “A Soaring Life” by Lucas Ridley and the feature film “20 Years After,” the latter with Chris Johnson.

Chris Johnson is a multi-talented musician/ audio engineer/ sound designer/ composer and producer with over 15 years experience covering a diverse range of projects from live performances and workshops to studio recordings. As a multi-instrumentalist, Chris has spent the last 10 years expanding his knowledge and performance skills on instruments from around the globe. Included among these are many percussion instruments from India such as dholak, kanjira, moorsing, and pakawaj with an in-depth study of the Delhi and Lucknow style of tabla in the tradition of Taranath Rao and Swapan Chaudhuri. Chris has also been a maker and teacher of the Australian aboriginal instrument, the didgeridoo, for 13 years and has performed with many different artists in both live and studio situations. Recent projects include regularly performing tabla alongside distinguished North Indian classical musicians such as Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee (sitar), John Heitzenrater (sarod), Viswas Chitnis (sitar), and Jay Manley (Saraswati guitar). Chris performed with and designed soundscapes for the Paperhand Puppet Intervention band in the "I Am Insect" and "Hungry Ghost" productions in 2008. Chris also co-produced the score for the independent feature film "20 Years After" with composer John Heitzenrater.

Jay Manley is a guitarist, producer, composer, and music instructor in Chapel Hill, NC.  Manley received his first guitar at eighteen months old and has devoted his life to the instrument. Classical, Hindustani, rock, blues, country, and jazz all live happily side by side and emerge in his playing style.  Manley was an A.J. Fletcher Scholar and received a B.A. in music from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He studied classical guitar under Robert Nathanson, jazz with Frank Bongiorno, and composition with Dr. Steven Errante.  For three years, Jay studied the Hindustani or North Indian classical musical tradition under vocalist Madhu Mita Sen Saha.  This has led to tremendous musical involvement in the Indian community of Raleigh, Apex, and Morrisville, NC. He is often spotted accompanying Bengali groups and performing Hindustani influenced music on a custom built 21-string “Saraswati” guitar.  He is currently studying with sarodist John Heitzenrater of the Maihar Gharana.

Branavan Ganesan is a tabla player and percussionist from the Chapel Hill area.  He started his percussion studies on the mridangam, in the South Indian (Carnatic) tradition.  He switched to tabla in his teens, first studying with tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain and then Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.  Branavan is also a standing member of the acoustic group Jaffna, based in Philadelphia.  He plays percussion instruments from many traditions, primarily Hindustani classical, flamenco, and Middle Eastern music.