Berklee Indian Ensemble
With members from 42 countries to date, the Berklee Indian Ensemble provides an open and inclusive creative space for musicians from all over the world to explore, study, interpret, and create music influenced by the rich and varied mosaic that is Indian music today. From a Carnatic thillana or a high-adrenaline konnakol conversation to Indo-jazz experiments or qawwali, the ensemble performs an expansive repertoire with the ultimate goal of presenting concerts entirely comprising original student compositions.
Founded in 2011 by Berklee alumna and faculty member Annette Philip '09, the group was the first of its kind at the college, starting with just 18 members in its first semester. Today, the Berklee Indian Ensemble is one of the largest performing groups at the college with over 40 musicians at each concert.
The ensemble is the first academic course associated with Berklee India Exchange and provides all artistic content for the program, including collaborative works with renowned Indian vocalist, composer, and producer Clinton Cerejo in 2013; Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer A. R. Rahman in 2014; master vocal improviser Vijay Prakash in 2015; and renowned Indian classical vocalist/composer Shankar Mahadevan in 2016.
The Berklee Indian Ensemble is also the only performance class at the college to have viral music videos that have garnered over 35 million hits and counting on YouTube, with its most popular video being a cover of A. R. Rahman's "Jiya Jale," which has earned over 12 million hits to date.
Watch the Berklee Indian Ensemble perform "Jiya Jale":
On September 6, 2016, the ensemble embarked on its first international performance, at the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava, a music festival in Bengaluru, India.
Watch the Berklee Indian Ensemble featuring Vijay Prakash perform "Arz-E-Niyaz" by Sashank Navaladi: