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Gyaan Kar Dekh / Perceive with Love


Program Note

The title, Gyaan Kar Dekh, comes from the last line of Kabir’s poem “Dariyav.” The verse describes a state of unity with each other and our surroundings, just as the waves and the river are made of the same water. Kabir says “see with knowledge,” but the seeing is a feeling. The knowledge is that we are one; we are love. The feeling of community, of sharing what you love to do with the people you love – that’s what this piece is about. The project began last year, when I had the strong sense that I had to create a performance that combined Western Classical music and Classical Indian Odissi dance. These are two sides of my life that had to this point developed independently. My determination to find a connection between them took me around the globe, when I had the opportunity to study Hindustani music in the summer in Mumbai on a research grant.


The musical process of Gyaan Kar Dekh lay between composed scores for string quartet (and clarinet), melodic and rhythmic ideas, and improvisation with Ragamala – the Classical Indian music ensemble. Everything that they performed they had learned by ear, and they offered ideas, suggestions, and virtuosic improvisations that fit into the final piece. Composition and choreography developed together. Sometimes I began with the music, sometimes I recalled and modified an arsa, a rhythmic pattern in Odissi dance, which I had learned many years ago. Physical gestures and large directions often informed the structure of the music. 

Program from the Premiere (April 2015),

Includes song lyrics and performance personnel

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