Music of the Commonwealth – Project of the Australian Saxophone and Piano duo – HD Duo

Having chosen sitarist and composer Professor Pradeep Ratnayake of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura as the musician from Sri Lanka to compose for them for their new ambitious cross-cultural project that will focus on composers of the Commonwealth, the Australian saxophone and piano duo HD Duo – Dr. Michael Duke and David Howie – will be in Sri Lanka to perform their music at the Science Auditorium of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on Thursday 10th May 2018 at 6.30 p.m. Pradeep Ratnayake will also be making a guest appearance on his sitar. The concert is free and open to the public on a first come first served basis.


HD Duo, says that the ultimate aim of this project, funded by the University of Sydney and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, is to commission, perform and record one composition from each of the 53 countries represented in the Commonwealth. This initial project will focus on the collaboration with six premiere composers from six countries: Australia, Canada, UK, Malta, Cyprus and Sri Lanka. Each composer will contribute a chamber work for saxophone and piano that will be workshopped, premiered, toured and recorded for a CD. The principal aims of this project are to enhance and strengthen links between countries of the Commonwealth, greatly increasing cultural awareness and understanding.

First performing together in 2008, Duke and Howie have made the impetus for their duo the presentation of exciting and innovative chamber music. Of particular interest and drive for the duo has been their close collaboration with some of Australia’s most prominent and respected composers commissioning, recording and performing these new works written specifically for them. As well as performing regularly across the major cities of Australia, HD Duo has also appeared in concert throughout the world.


Michael Duke completed his Doctorate degree in Music Performance from Indiana University studying under the tutelage of renowned classical saxophonists Eugene Rousseau, Jean-Yves Fourmeau and Arno Bornkamp. He has performed with many of Australia’s premiere orchestras and has been invited to perform at numerous international conferences, music institutions and festivals as both lecturer and performer.

David studied piano under Sonya Hanke and Gordon Watson as an under graduate, and then specialized in Accompaniment, studying with David Miller in Sydney at the Conservatorium of Music and Paul Hamburger in London, at the Royal Academy of Music. He was Head of Keyboard Studies at Kings College in Somerset, England for four years before returning to Australia where he has lectured in accompaniment as a member of the Ensemble Unit since 1992 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Professor Pradeep Ratnayake has performed the sitar in his original compositions in distinguished venues across the world. He has collaborated with internationally recognized artists like pianists Masahiko Satoh, Joe Chindamo, Ben Waltzer and Freddie Ravel, cellist Ramon Jaffe, guitarist Thibault Cauvin, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Helen Ayers, saxophonist Eric Marienthal etc. composing for them pieces that collaborated with the sitar. Ratnayake is known for giving the sitar a particularly Sri Lankan sound – through the incorporation of its folk music, use of its traditional drums and including harmonies in playing this basically melodic instrument.

Press Release – Press-release-HDDuo

Sri Lankan Identity on the Sitar – a Public Lecture & Demonstration by Pradeep Ratnayake

Pradeep Ratnayake delivers ‘Sri Lankan Identity on the Sitar’ – part of series of public lectures by Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.

The sitar originated in India and the classical Hindustani tradition nurtured its development within its ragadhari framework. It was taken to the west by Pandit Ravi Shankar, who with the help of western musicians like George Harrison of the Beatles and Sir Yehudi Menuhin, turned it into one of the most well known Indian instruments in the West. Now it has been given another flavour by the closest island to India, Sri Lanka, which has a folk tradition of music and drums as its traditional music instruments. This lecture will demonstrate how it was done, how the sound of Sri Lankan folk melodies was created by the sitar by using innovative techniques like the use of harmony (playing two notes at one time on the sitar); by using non-traditional accompanying instruments like the Kandyan drum; by composing for the sitar outside the ragadhari tradition and by using Sri Lankan folk melodies as the base of the compositions and so on. The lecture will use video clips and performances on the sitar to demonstrate its points.

Pradeep Ratnayake is a senior lecturer & the head of Department of Languages, Cultural Studies and Performing Arts, University of Sri Jayawardenepura. The Lecture-demonstration is on 26th Monday, September 2016 at Gamini Dissanayaka Auditorium of the Mahaweli Centre, No. 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07.

Music workshop in South Korea at JISF Music Festival – 2015

World Music Workshop in South Korea.

Cast: The Outside Track, Claire Memory Orchestra, Pradeep Ratnayake, Barbara Furtuna, Muzykanci, Hasan Hujairi
Time & Date: 14:00 Oct 07(Wed) ~ 11(Sun)
Venue: Cypress Forest behind the Sori Arts Center of Jeollbuk-do

Time & Date: 11:00, 16:00, Oct 09(Fri)
Venue: Yeomyeong Camera Museum, Hanok Village

 

Photo credit: Akiko Uesugi

Performance in South Korea – October, 2015

Pradeep Ratnayake performed at Yeonji Hall, Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, South Korea on 10th of October, 2015. The event also featured Hwang Byeonggi who is Gayageum master of composition and performance broadening the horizon of Korean music with only the gayageum and Satoh Masahiko, Modern jazz piano master having a wide musical spectrum. Pradeep wove a vivid web of sitar based on Sri Lanka’s traditional melodies.

Link: http://en.pams.or.kr/program/new_pro01_3_music.asp

The release of Serendip CD in Japan – July, 2015

Pradeep Ratnayake’s first international CD – “Serendip” – a work with legendary Jazz pianist Professor Masahiko Satoh, was launched in Tokyo, Japan, on 25 July 2015. It took place in the famous jazz location, the Pit Inn, in Tokyo, Japan, with a live performance of the two artists.

The event was further celebrated with music workshops at Sano Syoin, Hitotsubashi University, Kunitachi City, Tokyo, which culminated in an evening concert.

The tour concluded with a performance at Koen Dori Classics, Tokyo, Shibuya.