St. Clair Productions will present sarod master Rajeev Taranath in a concert of Hindustani classical music. The performance will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland.




Taranath's playing combines the depth and rigor of tradition with an inspired imagination and emotional intensity. According to Edward Rothstein in The New York Times, "Rajeev Taranath's sarod improvisations mixed the spiritual and the spirited ... the raga began with introspective meditation and proceeded into an exuberant rhythmic celebration."




Taranath toured extensively as a performer in India, Australia, Europe, Yemen and throughout the U.S. He composed music for several nationally and internationally honored Indian films and won the Indian government's highest award in the arts, the Sangeet Natak Academi Award for 1999-2000, given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of Hindustani Instrumental music.




In 1998, he received the Chowdiah Award for Music from the government of Karnataka in India for excellence in the field of instrumental music. Taranath's other awards include the 1993 Sangeet Nritya Akademi Award from the Indian State Government of Karnataka for his contribution to music and the Karnataka Rajya Prashasti in 1996.




From 1995-2005 Taranath directed the Indian Music Program at the California Institute of the Arts, in Los Angeles. He was a Ford Foundation scholar from 1989 to 1992 doing research on the teaching techniques of the Maihar-Allauddin Gharana.




Taranath's performances demonstrate how his inspiration for a raga weaves technicality with emotion, connecting player to audience. A raga is the building block of any concert of Indian classical music. It is a complex system of exploring melody, following certain rules of ornamentation and intonation and expressing a unique emotional color.




Taranath explains, "Playing a raga, to a musician, then, means being aware of these rules, creating music while playing the notes to open up different vistas, some already traversed, some not yet, all the time abiding strictly to given rules. The musician is not unlike a mathematician who sets up problems with different levels of difficulty and sets about solving them with precision and clarity."




Adrian Rawlins, music critic, Australia said, "Slowly, with strength and tenderness, this consummate artist built a structure of ordered sound which I would dare to compare with Beethoven's Hammer Klavier. Each note was electrifyingly true and rich in inner light ... Surely Rajeev Taranath is the true disciple of his illustrious preceptor (Ali Akbar Khan).




Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $10 for youth 12-17. Children under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets are available at the Music Coop in the A Street Market Place, online at , or by calling 535-3562.