World music ensemble kicks off performing arts series
Campus and community audiences will have a rare opportunity to experience one of India’s finest musical treasures when world-music ensemble Sangeet Millennium kicks off the Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series. The group, founded by Dr. Amie Maciszewski, is scheduled to perform beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25 in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on the campus of the University of Science and Arts.
The Sangeet Millennium ensemble draws heavily on the sounds of Indian classical music but mixes it with musical ideas and instruments to which Americans can relate.
The ensemble is scheduled to hold a workshop at Lincoln Elementary School on Sept. 26.
Maciszewski, who holds a doctorate in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin, has spent more than two decades performing Indian classical and world music in front of audiences in North America, India, Europe and Japan.
In addition to her academic training in the United States, Maciszewski traveled to India and studied both the sitar and traditional Hindustani vocal technique from two internationally recognized gurus. She has earned also two advanced music degrees from Viswa-Bharati University in India.
In addition to her work as a musician, Maciszewski is passionate about women’s rights and has engaged in extensive research about female courtesans in India, both historic and present-day. In addition to writing several journal articles on this topic, Maciszewski has produced four films documenting her research.
Dr. Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music and coordinator of the Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series (DWPAS), says that Sangeet Millennium embodies the kind of interdisciplinary approach to the arts for which USAO is known.
“Dr. Maciszewski’s determination to master the daunting discipline of Indian classical music is matched only by the passion with which she uses her research to draw attention to the plight of female musicians in India,” Bohannon says.
“She is the kind of performer from whom we hope our own scholar-musicians can learn and model their own careers.”
The West’s fascination with the sitar dates back, however, to the British occupation of India, which began in 1858. Since then, it has reigned supreme as the symbol of Indian music and, when Eastern philosophies like Hinduism became more widely studied in the United States in the 1960s, the unmistakable sound of the sitar wasn’t far behind.
The Beatles were responsible for introducing many Americans to the sitar, particularly through the song “Norwegian Wood” where the sitar is prominently featured. Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison studied with the most famous sitarist of the 20th century, Ravi Shankar.
Shankar held a concert in Chickasha in the early 1970s on the campus of USAO, which was then called the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts.
The DWPAS will continue on Nov. 30 as the Chicago Tap Theatre company is scheduled to perform, bringing with them a mission to preserve a uniquely American dance form while entertaining audiences of all ages. The dance troupe is slated to perform at special holiday show.
DWPAS is produced by the USAO Foundation in conjunction with the Chickasha Public School Foundation and is supported in part by an award from Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oklahoma Arts Council, and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Local sponsors include KOOL 105.5 Radio, The First National Bank and Trust, Standley Systems, Mosley Agency, Eduardo’s, MidFirst Bank, Crazy 8 Café, Dunn's Food Center, Mike Day Insurance and the Chickasha Bank and Trust Company.
General admission tickets for either show are $12 for the general public, $10 for seniors 60 and over, $4 for all students and kids under 18, $7 for USAO staff/faculty and $3 for USAO students. Tickets can be purchased at the USAO Business Office or online at usao.edu/dwpas.
More information can be obtained by calling 574-1293.