Akshaya Avril Tucker is a composer who draws inspiration from the music and dance traditions of South Asia, having trained as a cellist and Odissi dancer from a young age. Recent commissions and projects include works for Johnny Gandelsman (Brooklyn Rider), WindSync, Marianne Gedigian, Hindustani vocalist Saili Oak, Duo Cortona, Englewinds, invoke string quartet, Thalea String Quartet and Density512. In 2019, she won an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. She also received an honorable mention from ASCAP in 2018, was a finalist for the award again in 2020, and received an honorable mention from National Sawdust’s Hildegard Competition in 2018.
Akshaya holds an M.M. in Composition from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Music from Brown University, and she attended the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music in 2017-2018. In 2017, she received a Rainwater Innovation Grant from the University of Texas for her collaboration with Hindustani Vocalist Saili Oak. In 2015, she received a Brown University Distinguished Senior Thesis Award. Her teachers have included Yevgeniy Sharlat, Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Donald Grantham, Russell Pinkston, Shep Shapiro and Butch Rovan.
Akshaya studied the Classical Indian dance form for nearly twenty years with Guru Ranjanaa Devi in Massachusetts. She has performed Odissi dance worldwide with Nataraj Dance Company, and has performed her own choreography at National Sawdust (2018; Brooklyn, NY) and at Luminarium Dance Company’s National ChoreoFest (2020). As a cellist, Akshaya has led an eclectic path through North Indian music, new music, and early music. In 2012, she won the Brown University Orchestra Concerto Competition, and in 2014, she studied Hindustani music on cello in Mumbai. She also studied with Professor Stephen Slawek, disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar, in Austin TX.