St. Thomas Newsroom

Concert Commissioned by the Jay Phillips Center to be Performed Nov. 16 at Hindu Temple in Maple Grove

“Song of Wonder,” a concert of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish music commissioned by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, will be performed at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove.

Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris

Following the concert, a dinner of Indian food will be served. The prices of tickets, which include the dinner, are $30 general, $20 for students and $15 for children under 12. Tickets may be purchased at www.hindumandirmn.org.

“Song of Wonder” premiered on April 23 on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Inspired by the poetry of a thousand years in their traditions, vocalists and string musicians Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris designed the concert to probe the many facets of wonder as gateways to an illumined and impassioned life. They will be joined by Carnatic percussion master Thanjavur Muruga Boopathi, percussionist Mick LaBriola and ‘ud player David Burk.

Highlights of the concert will include excerpts from the oldest extant piece of notated Jewish music; improvisational performances by Rajasekar on the veena in both familiar and rare ragas (melodic soundscapes of Indian music); ancient Tamil Sangam poetry; plaintive Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew chants from Jewish communities in Bosnia, Morocco and Turkey; and new musical arrangements flowing from the concert’s cross-cultural collaboration.

Rajasekar is the artistic director of the Naadha Rasa Center of Music in Plymouth, where she teaches the art of South India’s Carnatic music. She made her debut as a solo performer on the seven-string veena at age 13 in Bangalore, India, and she has performed with musicians from many backgrounds, including Western classical, Chinese and jazz. Radio India has pronounced her a Grade A artist for All India Radio since 1990 and she has been featured in many world-renowned venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the United Nations’ Symphony Space, the Music Academy in Chennai, India, and the Rumi International Festival in Konya, Turkey.

Harris is co-founder and artistic director of the Twin Cities-based Voices of Sepharad. He has studied and performed Sephardic (Judeo-Spanish) music in many countries and throughout North America. A singer, actor and dancer, he has been a guest artist with Espaῆol, Guthrie Theater, Illusion Theater, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, North Star Opera, Rose Ensemble, Walker Art Center, and Zorongo Flamenco. He is the interfaith special consultant for the Jay Phillips Center and the executive director of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council.

The Jay Phillips Center is a joint enterprise of the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University, Collegeville.