The Darbar Night Series

Five unforgettable experiences

On five successive evenings, ENCOUNTERS: INDIA creates dialogues in music fit for a king and his court reminiscent of the great Moghul Emperors of India who entertained lavishly at their royal court, the Darbar.

Each concert will explore an aspect of music from the vantage points of Indian traditions and Western culture. Three of these dimensions – rhythm, melody and drone – come together in the final two concerts, the ensemble and the guru, in this case an Australian creator/composer.

7.30pm, Monday 13 May: RHYTHM
Drumming from India, California and Australia will pulsate through the opening DARBAR concert, as Aneesh Pradhan demonstrates the poise and virtuosity of a North Indian tabla solo, while Queensland artists Tunji Beijer represents the South. Special tribute will be paid to Terry Riley, the American guru-composer who drew our ears and imaginations to the intricate glories of Indian music. Iconic works will be introduced by the composer himself in a video conversation, and then performed by Topology and every percussionist at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

7.30pm, Tuesday 14 May: THE VOICE
Glorious melodies from several traditions and eras soar through the second DARBAR concert, with soprano superstar Patricia Rozario joined by Indian dhrupad singer Ritwik Sanyal, khyal star Shubha Mudgal, and much loved Brisbane singers Heather Lee and Margaret Schindler.

7.30pm, Wednesday 15 May: THE DRONE
That ‘prince of the cello’ Rohan de Saram is the central figure of the third DARBAR concert, as he leads the sumptuous sound of a cello orchestra. Our ‘carpet of cellos’ will perform music from India, London and Australia, much of it especially written for Rohan. Into this we add a tanpura, a sitar, a dancer and from Australia the didgeridoo, the oldest known drone in the history of sound.

7.30pm, Thursday 16 May: THE ENSEMBLE
Two leading ensembles representing the twin traditions of Indian music present the fourth DARBAR concert. From the north (Hindustani) come the khyal singer Shubha Mudgal and her ensemble, and from the south (Carnatic) come the venerable Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani and his musicians. In separate halves of this historic evening, they represent both traditions at their most magnificent, with breath-taking spontaneous improvisations intersecting with moments of profound introspection.

7.30pm, Friday 17 May: THE GURU
The final DARBAR concert celebrates our ‘guru’, the Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks in her centenary year (she was born in Melbourne in 1912 and died in Sydney in 1990). In a male-dominated composing world, Peggy styled herself “PGH” and her music encompassed the traditions of ancient Greece and India, as well as that of post-war New York City. With slides and film and an array of live performances, including several world premieres, two close friends from her final years in Sydney, guest composer Ross Edwards and artistic director Vincent Plush share their repertoire of “PGH-stories” and introduce a sampling of the extraordinary breadth of her music.

Generously supported by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the DARBAR series brings together the twin traditions of India, as well as its diaspora on both sides of the Pacific. Even more, it creates a unique and perhaps historic platform for all traditions to explore common dimensions in music.

All performances will take place in the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank.

ENCOUNTERS: INDIA is presented by Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University as an extraordinary seven day festival, with more than 70 leading artists from India and Australia across 70 events exploring the links between these two neighbours.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Suto, 0418 799 544,