Vineet Shende is unsettled by the often-superficial way that music styles from “the East” are blended into Western classical music. “I have often been dissatisfied, if not outright annoyed, by concert-music pieces characterized as ‘East-meets-West,'” wrote the associate professor of music last year, ahead of the world premiere of the third movement of his String Quartet no. 2 in Raag Ahir-Bhairav.
Now, some fifteen months later, the entire piece is set to enjoy its full and formal premiere on Friday April 6, 2018 at Studzinski Recital Hall, performed by the widely acclaimed, Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet. The piece aims to genuinely integrate the musical traditions of two hemispheres, synthesizing the worlds of Western and Indian classical music on what Shende calls a “primary structural level.”
The composition, he said, “employs melodic and formal ideas found in North Indian raag, rhythmic ideas found in South Indian taal, and polyphony and modulation found in Western concert music.”
The concert also includes Beethoven’s String Quartet in Eb Major, opus 74 (The “Harp” Quartet), and Dvorak’s Piano Quartet no. 2 in A Major, opus 81, featuring Bowdoin’s Beckwith Artist- in-Residence, George Lopez.