I'm putting together another project -- an album of fusion material with some of my favorite musicians!
I have applied for the Pathways to Jazz Grant through the Boulder County Arts Alliance, and that is the working title of this project -- more news soon.
Our ensemble features Nepalese musicians, University of Colorado Boulder Professors, and Jazz Musicians who are seasoned professionals in teaching, performance,and outreach. Our project will bridge different cultures and audiences, and our compositions bridge the past to the future by basking in the present improvisatory moment
Watch for a Patreon site and Concert Series -- either live or on line live -- fall 2020 through Spring 2021
Here are the Ensemble Members
Born to Tabla Maestro Rabin Lal Shrestha and Sitar player Bina Shrestha, Bijay lal Shrestha started learning Tabla at the age of four and completed his master’s at 18. He has also completed his Master’s in Sitar at Lalitkala campus under the guidance of Sitar Maestra Uma Thapa being the only young artiste in Nepal to have achieved a degree in both tabla and sitar.
Mr. Shrestha has shared the stage with the world-renowned flautist Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. His recordings include:
• Maestro Duets on Sarod (2012) • Moods of Meed (2013)
• Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia Live in Nepal (2014AD) • Abiding (2014)
As result of his numerous years of training in both tabla and sitar, Mr. Shrestha’s profound understanding of diverse gharana styles and mastery of technical skill gradually began to resonate through the magical touch of his swift, agile fingers. Today he is hailed as one of the serious, young exponents of classical music, who constantly endeavors to infuse interest and respect for this traditional art in the hearts and minds of the younger generation.
He has performed in different European countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Austria and Italy) with his band “Prana Mundi”). Currently, He is residing in Colorado, performing and offering sitar lessons.
Nabin Shrestha, founder of the RHYTHM OF TABLA institute, studied Tabla with Bijay’s parent, Guru Shree Rabin Lal Shrestha and Brother Rajendra Shrestha from age 9, continuing at Aakhil Bharatiya Gandharva Music University of Delhi with Ustaad Shri Faiyaaz Khan and Shri Tansen Shrivastav. Mr. Shrethra completed a Master’s Degree from Ghandharva Nabin, then postGraduate study with the greatest Tabla maestro of all time Taalmani Pandit Sureshji Talwalkar. Nabin has recorded several albums: Raaganubhuti A Classical Vocal Album, Redrums Fusion with traditional drums from Nepal, and Murchchhanaa Jazz fusion album.
Jesse Manno, trap set and strings www.jessemanno.com Composer and multi–instrumentalist Jesse Manno was born into a performing arts family in New York City in 1966 and grew up in New York and Colorado. He received his first commission in 1982 and has since created over eighty original scores for dance, theatre, film and multimedia productions, including twenty evening–length pieces. His work has been supported by Meet The Composer, Inc. (a division of the NEA), KRMA Denver PBS TV, The National Guild of Organists, Montgomery Watson Inc., Bates Dance Festival, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, among others, and has been presented all across the USA, as well as in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia. Jesse received a B.A. in Asian Studies from The University of Colorado at Boulder, where he has been music director of the C.U. dance department since 1991. In 2002 he became a part–time instructor, teaching one music course per semester. He loves working with many instruments and genres of music, and often incorporates interesting sound environments he has recorded during his travels into his work. He also composes and performs with The Buzz Band (new music on ancient instruments with a characteristic buzzing sound), and more often with Şherefé Balkan/Middle Eastern Ensemble, performing regularly in Colorado, California, and New Mexico.
Recent projects include a stint at BAM in New York with David Dorfman Dance and composer Sam Crawford, a percussive score created on a tower of used car parts for choreographer Gabriel Masson at the Bates Dance Festival, and a contemporary ballet soundtrack based on five of Colorado's native birds with Ballet Nouveau Colorado. He also recently created a new "underwater" section for David Taylor Dance Theatre's touring production “Rainforest.” Several Cds of his work are available: Sea Spirits, Music from Theater of the Vampires, Lazer Vaudeville, Rainforest, and others.
Pete Jacobs Oud (Middle Eastern Lute) Pete Jacobs is Co-Director of www.tarabretreat.com He lives in Broomfield, Colorado. Pete started playing the bass in junior high school in New Jersey and played rock and jazz gigs in the Denver area throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was introduced to Middle Eastern music in the 1990's and started playing bass in the Saltanah Ensemble performing in the Denver and Boulder area. He picked up the oud in 2003 and started attending the Mendocino Middle East Music and Dance Camp, where he studied under many great musicians, including Souhail Kaspar, Naser Musa, Yair Dalal, Scott Marcus, Yuval Ron, and Souren Baronian. He played for years with Dawn Green for Susana Del Veccio's dance retreats. Besides playing with Zuruna, Pete has also performed in the Denver and Boulder area with Yuval Ron, Rachid Halihal, the Zevk Ensemble, Meg York's Hejazz Messengers, and the Cameron Powers Project. He hosts Turkish Sufi singing circles and accompanies Iranian Sufi singer Sholeh Malekzadeh Mani. Pete is a big part of the Columbine Unity Church near Boulder, Colorado.
Paul Erhard performs and teaches throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in Europe and Asia. His playing and teaching are a synthesis of American and European styles, combined with elements of music from India. Through his own education in the U.S. and Germany, and his annual guest artist/research trips to Europe from 1998-2010 (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), Erhard draws upon elements he has learned from a wide array of double bass artists. As a guest artist, he has participated in BASS 2008 in Paris and BASS 2010 in Berlin; International Society of Bassists conventions, numerous double bass festivals in Germany, Hungary and Czech Republic; at American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Conferences; and at the annual Colorado Music Educators Association conferences. Erhard has served as a jury member alongside many of the world’s most eminent double bassists for major solo competitions in the U.S., Europe and South America, including the first, second and fourth Johann-Matthias-Sperger Solo Competition in Germany, the 2017 and 2011 International Double Bass Solo Competition in Markneukirchen, Germany, and the International Society of Bassists Senior Solo Division in 2011. Erhard has given master classes at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Interlochen Arts Academy, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music and Peabody Conservatory.
Paul Erhard’s solo recitals blend traditional and contemporary double bass solo repertoire (he loves Bottesini), combined with improvisations on ragas from India. As a concerto soloist, Erhard has performed the Bottesini, Dittersdorf, Dragonetti, Koussevitsky, Mortari and Rota double bass concertos with orchestras in Washington, Colorado, New York, Kansas and Hawaii. His most recent performances of the Nino Rota Divertimento Concertante double bass concerto during the 2015-2017 seasons include appearances with the Bellingham Symphony in Washington and the Longmont Symphony, Grand Junction Symphony and Boulder Symphony Orchestras in Colorado. Erhard performed the Virgil Mortari Double Bass Concerto at Lincoln Center in New York City with conductor Isaah Jackson as the winner of the 1984 Juilliard Double Bass Concerto Competition. Frequent chamber music collaborations with a wide variety of performers have included the Dvořák Quintet and Schubert Trout Quintet with the Grammy-winning Takács Quartet. Active as an orchestral musician, Erhard is principal double bass of the ProMusica Colorado Chamber Orchestra and the Boulder Bach Festival. Prior to moving to Colorado from New York City, Erhard was principal bass of the Soviet Émigré Orchestra, the Albany Symphony and Queens Philharmonic in New York, and before that assistant principal bass of the Kalamazoo Symphony. Erhard’s roots as a jazz bassist began in high school with the Larry King Trio in New York, where he received foundational training in classical and jazz bass with jazz bassist Dr. Lyn Christie. Living for two years in Germany, Erhard was the bassist in the EMPS Jazz Trio in Munich. Back in the U.S., he was the bassist in the Eastman Jazz Ensemble 1 conducted by Rayburn Wright, the Ken Morgan Jazz Unit in Kalamazoo and the University of Colorado Faculty Jazz Quintet.
The music of India has fascinated Paul Erhard since he first encountered it in 1998. Since that time, he has pioneered playing Indian classical music to create new performance opportunities for the double bass. Erhard has studied privately with a number of Indian musicians in India and Colorado. In addition, he has been the recipient of two prestigious research grants to study in India. The first was a “Senior Performing Arts Fellowship” grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in 2001, where he studied South Indian (Karnatic) classical singing for six months. In 2013 and 2014, Erhard was a Fulbright Scholar in India researching his project "Training the Musical Mind" interviews with 35 prominent Indian musicians exploring how Indian performers/teachers use the Tambura drone to develop skill in singing/playing in tune. His most recent project featured co-creating a Double Concerto performed with the CU Boulder Orchestra with acclaimed Indian Violinist, L Subramanian in 2019.