Merging parallels
Every country, sometimes every region in a country, has its own style of music. Such exposure to varied genres of music during her Masters and Post Masters Fellowship studies at Berklee College of Music, led to the growth of Apoorva Krishna’s fascination for the concept of chords and the realm of harmonies in Western music. Though her basic interest is Indian classical music, this exposure led her to create fusion of Indian classical and contemporary Western music. Apoorva is an accomplished violinist belonging to the Lalgudi school, and her recent composition Merging Parallels has been garnering international attention. Several eminent artists like John McLaughlin, Aruna Sairam, Bombay Jayashri, Ranjani-Gayatri and Abhishek Raghuram, and her gurus Anuradha Sridhar, Srimathi Brahmanandam, among others, have expressed their appreciation. Says John McLaughlin, “I’ve been involved with musicians from India and Indian music for the greater part of my life and one of the fascinating aspects I have experienced is the attempt to integrate harmony into the Indian traditions. Now we have this young generation of the 21st century and they are studying Western music—in particular, harmony. This music video from Apoorva and Varijashree is amazing on how they are integrating harmony into the melody, with the sophisticated rhythms of India; and it’s really an amazing piece of music, really quite outstanding.”

Something a young aspiring violinist would only have dreamt about came true for Apoorva Krishna when, in November 2019, two legendary maestros John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain invited her to play the famous Shakti masterpiece Lotus Feet at the Harvard Business School, organised by the Berklee India Exchange. Since then McLaughlin’s encouragement has led her efforts towards merging the music of East and West.

The Lalgudi tillanas have had a great fascination for her with their melodies and rhythms; they were the muse for her to compose five tillanas, and the debut album Apoorva Tillanas was released during the Cleveland Aradhana festival in 2018. Apoorva says, “With my love for Carnatic tillanas and Western harmonies, Merging Parallels came to life. The piece relates to the concept of adhara sruti bheda ragamalika, which means different ragas over different srutis and tonics—like the world of different modes over different keys and chord changes”… read more