MELA Foundation News

Pandit Pran Nath 84th Birthday Memorial Concert in the MELA Dream House

La Monte Young, voice
Marian Zazeela, voice
Jung Hee Choi, voice
Rose Okada, sarangi
Brad Catler, tabla

The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD


MELA Foundation Dream House
275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, Between Franklin & White Streets in Tribeca

Sunday, November 3, 2002, 8 pm
Admission $24. Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended.

A Concert of Evening Ragas in the contemporary Kirana Style of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with their raga ensemble, in a memorial tribute honoring Pandit Pran Nath on his 84th birthday, Sunday, November 3, at 8 pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor.


With this ensemble, La Monte Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional raga performance, form and technique: A pranam (bow) of gratitude in reciprocation for the influence on his music since the mid-fifties, of the unique, slow, unmetered timeless alap, and one of the most ancient and evolved vocal traditions extant today. Featuring extended alap sections and sustained vocal drones over tamburas, Young and Zazeela premiered this ensemble on August 22, 2002 at an invitational memorial concert in honor of sarangi master Ustad Hafizullah Khan Sahib, the Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Pandit Pran Nath’s teacher, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib.


La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela will be accompanied by Jung Hee Choi, voice, Rose Okada, sarangi, and Brad Catler, tabla, and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD, JD001. The program will include the world premiere of Young’s most recent composition dedicated to Pandit Pran Nath, entitled “I, The Dog Running with Your Sandal in My Teeth,” set in Raga Bhairavi.


La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela helped bring renowned master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath to the U.S. and became his first Western disciples, studying with him for twenty-six years. Young and Zazeela established Pandit Pran Nath’s Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music in New York and have taught the Kirana style and performed with Pandit Pran since 1970 in India, Iran, Europe and the United States. In June 2002, Young was conferred the title of Khan Sahib by Khalifa Hafizullah Khan Sahib.


Pandit Pran Nath, who passed away on June 13, 1996, virtually introduced the vocal tradition of North Indian classical music to the West in 1970. His 1971 morning performance at Town Hall, New York City, was the first concert of morning ragas to be presented in the U.S. Subsequently, he introduced and elaborated to Western audiences the concept of performing ragas at the proper time of day by scheduling entire series of concerts at special hours. Many students and professional musicians came to him in America to learn about the vast system of raga and to improve their musicianship. He performed frequently in New York City and in 1972, established his own school, the Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music, now a project of MELA Foundation. In Fall 1993, Pran Nath inaugurated the MELA Foundation Dream House with three Raga Cycle concerts.


Pran Nath's majestic expositions of the slow alap sections of ragas combined with his emphasis on perfect intonation and the clear evocation of mood had a profound impact on Western contemporary composers and performers. In addition to Young and Zazeela, minimalist music composer Terry Riley became one of his first American disciples. Fourth-world trumpeter Jon Hassell, jazz all-stars Don Cherry and Lee Konitz, composers Jon Gibson, Yoshimasa Wada, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison and Allaudin Mathieu, Sufi teacher Shabda Kahn, mathematician Christer Hennix, concept artist Henry Flynt, dancer Simone Forti, and many others took the opportunity to study with the master.


Admission $24 / $18 MELA members; seniors; students with ID. Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended. For further information:


MELA's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

[Pandit Pran Nath] [La Monte Young] [Marian Zazeela]
[MELA Foundation] [The Kirana Center]
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