Guest Artists Visit ‘Music of Asia’ Course

Sitar player Viswas Chitnis and tabla player Rahim Zalal presented a lecture-demonstration on North Indian Classical Music to students and visitors in Dr. Alison Arnold’s MUS 350 Music of Asia.

Viswas Chitnis and Rahim Zalal visit 'MUS 350 Music of Asia' with professor Alison Arnold.

Viswas Chitnis and Rahim Zalal visit ‘MUS 350 Music of Asia’ with Dr. Alison Arnold.

Coming in only the second week of the semester, the presentation was an early highlight of the class, as many students were seeing Indian classical music for the first time. The lecture-demonstration included a succinct explanation of the Hindustani music tradition, and an extended performance of the afternoon raga Madhuvanti.

Viswas Chitnis is a performing and recording artist based in Chapel Hill, who studied sitar with one of the greatest North Indian classical musicians of our time, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009). He also plays dilruba and esraj (bowed string instruments) as well as guitar and tabla drums, and has teaching studios both in Chapel Hill and New York City. Rahim Zalal has studied with internationally renowned tabla player Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, and also performs and records here in the Triangle.

Both Viswas Chitnis and Rahim Zalal are NC State alumni, graduates of the Department of Biochemistry. For Chitnis, biochemistry is taking a back seat as he pursues his current life in music performance and teaching. Zalal is a new 2014 graduate, and plans to pursue a career in science. Their academic training notwithstanding, both are highly skilled and knowledgeable musicians. They established an immediate rapport with their audience, and provided 25 NC State students with a memorable experience of the diversity of musical cultures in our world and in our midst.