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Anjna Swaminathan

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ANJNA SWAMINATHAN is a versatile composer, musician and theatre artist. A disciple of the late violin maestro Parur Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Mysore Sri H.K. Narasimhamurthy, she performs regularly in Carnatic, Hindustani and creative music settings. In the summer of 2014, Anjna was a participant at the celebrated Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in Alberta, Canada, where she worked closely with eminent jazz and creative musicians and led workshops on the fundamentals of Carnatic improvisation and listening. She has since performed with and been encouraged by established musicians in New York's thriving creative music scene including Jen Shyu, Imani Uzuri, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, Amir ElSaffar, Stephan Crump, Graham Haynes, Mat Maneri, Miles Okazaki and others. In 2015, Anjna came under the tutelage of renowned vocalist and scholar, T.M. Krishna for her training in Carnatic music, and vocalist Samarth Nagarkar for her training in Hindustani music and accompaniment. She frequently engages with the burgeoning community of Indian classical musicians in New York and New Jersey, and is an active member of the Brooklyn Raga Massive, a growing artist-managed collective of musicians, performers and educators with a firm grounding in raga-based music and a mission to create a diverse, community-oriented artistic practice. In 2018, Anjna was a composer fellow in the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, where she worked closely with esteemed composer and mentor Gabriela Lena Frank to study Western classical music notation and premiere her first ever string quartet, written for and performed by the acclaimed Del Sol String Quartet.

As a theatre artist, writer and dramaturg with interests in the intersection of race, class/caste, gender and sexuality, Hindu vedantic philosophy, and the boundaries of postcolonial Indian nationhood, Anjna often engages in artistic work that ties together multiple aesthetic forms towards a critical consciousness. She frequently takes part in interdisciplinary collaborations, often developing scores and providing musical accompaniment for dancers and dance companies, most notably, Rama Vaidyanathan, Prakriti Dance (Kasi Aysola and Madhvi Venkatesh), Mythili Prakash, Malini Srinivasan, Soles of Duende (Brinda Guha, Arielle Rosales and Amanda Castro) and Ragamala Dance. Anjna was commissioned (with co-composers Rajna Swaminathan and Sam McCormally) to create an original score for playwright/performer Anu Yadav's one-woman-play Meena's Dream. In her dramaturgical and theatrical work, she has a keen interest in developing new projects that seek to problematize the hierarchies of caste and gender that are inherent in her musical idiom, something that deeply informs her musical practice. She leads the multidisciplinary project WOVEN, which combines original music and poetry to meditate on and problematize ideas of death, memory and loss in Hindu vedantic philosophy. Her string trio for WOVEN features bassist Stephan Crump and cellist Naseem Alatrash.

Anjna is co-artistic director of Rhythm Fantasies, Inc. - a non-profit organization that strives to promote South Indian classical music and dance in a space that encourages education and enrichment through innovation and cross-cultural collaboration. Anjna holds a Bachelors degree in Theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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