Devotion and faith, no matter source, have always driven the arts. MusicaNova presents three works that beautifully reflect the fusion of spiritual and secular inspiration. Edmund Rubbra was a devout Catholic but also a devotee of Catholic mystic and scientist Teilhard de Chardin; César Franck was as devout but inspired to secular music by Eros; while Akshaya Avril Tucker expressly blends Western and South Indian music.
Edmund Rubbra, Viola Concerto in A, Op. 75
Rubbra’s aim throughout his life was to create music that sounded new and contemporary but did not rely on extremes of dissonance or effect to do so. This concerto, one of the most challenging in the repertoire Is universally agreed to be a gorgeous work of quite remarkable originality.
César Franck, Symphony in D minor, FWV 48 (1888)
The Symphony in D minor is the first successful fusion, after many failures, of the separate and distinct French and German musical languages of the 19th Century. This neglected work was just as radical in its day as this juxtaposition of Hindustani and Western symphonic music is today.
Graham Cohen, Viola Soloist
An accomplished performer and composer now in his second year at The Juilliard School, Graham regularly appears with numerous ensembles in the New York area, and is a multiple Morton Gould award winner for his compositions, many of which have been performed by MusicaNova.
MusicaNova Composition Fellow Akshaya Avril Tucker (b.1992) is a composer, cellist and Odissi dancer, whose work is inspired by the music and dance traditions of South Asia. Her recent commissions include solo works for Johnny Gandelsman and Robert Howard, and chamber works for invoke and Density512. Her music has been performed by the Refugee Orchestra Project at National Sawdust, and by Vent Nouveau, Johnny Gandelsman and Joshua Roman. She is a current Composer Fellow at the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.
Akshaya holds an M.M. in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Music from Brown University. In 2018, she received honorable mentions from National Sawdust’s Hildegard Competition and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. In 2017, she received a Rainwater Innovation Grant from the University of Texas to collaborate with Hindustani vocalist Saili Oak. Akshaya has performed Odissi dance worldwide with Nataraj Dance Company under Guru Ranjanaa Devi. She is Programs Manager at Shastra, an organization dedicated to connecting the musical communities of India and the West.
A native of Mumbai, Hindustani singer Saili Oak began studying music at the age of 3. gree) from the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal and since won multiple prestigious awards. She’s is also known for her distinguished work in the Indian-Western Classical music crossover space. She has performed with notable western music ensembles including the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tonality choir, and Salastina Music Society.
Saili serves as the Programs Director of a non-profit organization ‘Shastra’, where she co-hosts the “Composing with Indian Voice” annual workshop in the U.S., and “Raga Meets Symphony” in India. She is also a Vocal Mentor for the non-profit organization Street Symphony in Los Angeles. A passionate educator, Saili maintains a vocal studio ‘SailiMusic’ where she trains the next generation of upcoming artists, and is a frequent guest speaker, panelist and workshop participant at conferences and universities across America.