May 13, 2023

Hooray for Bollywood!

New Jersey Symphony Family Concert

Concert Information

Artist Bio: Vinay Parameswaran, conductor

Internationally recognised for his energetic presence, imaginative programming, and compelling musicianship, Vinay Parameswaran is one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors on the podium today.

Highlights of the 2022/23 season include Parameswaran’s debut with the Charlotte Symphony and return appearances with the Nashville Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras. He also conducts a series of education concerts with the Chicago Symphony. In the 2021/22 season, Parameswaran concluded five seasons with the Cleveland Orchestra, where he was Assistant Conductor from 2018/19 and promoted to Associate Conductor in 2021. During this period, he conducted many concerts each season at Severance Hall, Blossom Music Festival, and on tour. As Music Director, he led the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra on an acclaimed four-city European tour that included a performance at the Musikverein in Vienna.

Prior to his time with the Cleveland Orchestra, Parameswaran was the Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony for three seasons and led over 150 performances, which included his subscription debut with the Orchestra in 2016/17, conducting works by Gabriella Smith, Grieg, and Prokofiev. Other highlights have included debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, and Jacksonville Symphony.

Equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire, and in the recording studio, Parameswaran has led performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love with Curtis Opera Theater. In Cleveland, he has assisted Franz Welser-Möst on productions of Verdi’s Otello, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. With the Curtis Ensemble 20/21and violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh, Parameswaran recorded the album Two x Four, featuring works by Bach, David Ludwig, Philip Glass, and Anna Clyne. In 2020/21, Parameswaran recorded a selection of concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra for the Orchestra’s digital streaming platform.

Parameswaran was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has participated in conducting masterclasses with David Zinman at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Parameswaran was a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation U.S. in May 2021.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Parameswaran graduated with honours from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in music and political science. At Brown, he began his conducting studies with Paul Phillips. He received an Artist Diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller as the Albert M. Greenfield Fellow.

Artist Bio: Kulture Kool, co-curators

Kulture Kool is a Performing Arts center for adults and children that specializes in South Asian Performing Arts & languages. Based in Rutherford, and with three other locations in Glen Ridge, Hoboken and West New York, the center hosts year-round programs and workshops in classical and instrumental music; classical, popular and folk dance; Hindi and other regional languages. They also offer western classical music lessons (Piano, Guitar, Drum), Musical Theater and well as language and academic enrichment.

More info about Kulture Kool can be found at

Artist Bio: Archana Athalye, host

Archana has a Masters in Communication and extensive experience in event management, artist and repertoire management & studio management. She worked in the music industry in India for 8 years and was a part of the team that launched EMI-Virgin in India. She also worked as a production manager on several international films that were filmed in India. 

In the US, Archana worked for a few years in advertising and media buying before starting Kulture Kool in 2009. Kulture Kool is a South Asian cultural center in New Jersey, specializing in South Asian cultural arts and languages.  Kulture Kool has 4 locations in North Jersey with over 500 students. 

Archana also does national tour management for world music groups. She is very active in promoting diversity & cultural understanding through educational workshops and assemblies, schools, local museums, libraries and events in the NY/NJ Metropolitan area.

Artist Bio: Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury, sitar

Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury is one of the most talented young exponents of Rampur Senia Gharana in the venerated lineage of, Pandit Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury and Pandit Subroto Roy Chowdhury. Primarily trained in the Veen-Kar style of Sitar which draws techniques and idioms of the Veena, Indrajit has been able to carve a niche for himself with his eclecticism and versatility. Indrajit strives for a fine balance of traditionalism coupled with innovation and is renowned for his meditative alaap and brilliant taans.

Indrajit is based out of New York and maintains a rigorous tour schedule across the continents. As an international artist, Indrajit has performed in a range of distinguished venues, notably: Dover Lane Music Conference, Kolkata, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, The Lincoln Center, New York,  The Hammerstein Theater of New York, Toronto National Convention Center, Berlin Indian Embassy, Concordia Arts Poznan, Poland, Chayanaut Auditorium, Dhaka and Ramakrishna Mission Cultural Centre, Kolkata.

Indrajit has given numerous performances on Radio Stations including WKCR (New York City), WCR (Wolverhampton, UK). He is known for his mesmerizing performances on various Doordarshan Programs namely: Telescope, DD Bangla’s 20th Annniversary, Camera Cholche and Sokal Sokal. He was recently invited for a captivating performance on a morning show by Tara Muzik called Aaj Sokaler Amontrone. Indrajit has also embellished various NBC shows with his music compositions.

Brought up between USA and India, Indrajit has a rich diversified background to draw from which is clearly observed in his collaborations and own compositions. As a versatile and creative musician, he has performed with distinguished artists from other genres including the acclaimed Jazz artist, Wynton Marsalis. Indrajit has also collaborated with the Orchestra- Jazz at Lincoln Center and the same was featured in the film “Song of Lahore” which was premiered in Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition to his collaborations and tour performances, Indrajit is an arduous and a disciplined teacher. He was a visiting faculty of the renowned Department of Indian Classical Music at University of Pennsylvania and has conducted many student workshops in USA, UK and India. Indrajit is currently running Kolkata Sitar School, founded by his Guru, Pandit Subroto Roy Chowdhury and is humbly carrying his legacy by teaching many students around the world under his tutelage.

Artist Bio: Charu Suri, arranger

Pianist and composer Charu Suri treads fearlessly between genres, pulling global influences that range from the mood-anchoring Indian ragas, Sufi music, to the trio. Her ground-breaking albums, The Book of Ragas, and its sequel, The Book of Ragas vol. 2 have often elicited the response, "I've never heard this type of sound before."

One of the few female composers from India to perform work at Carnegie Hall, Charu has lived in four continents, and writes music that reflect her journey as both a traveler and her training as a classical music piano prodigy. She has been playing the piano since the age of five, and performing since the age of nine, and one of her best memories is winning an international piano competition at the age of 15.

What started purely as an experiment with her "Book of Ragas" has turned into a niche that she is now increasingly becoming known for. Her latest album is RAGAS & WALTZES, a first collaboration between her and Preservation Hall's jazz drummer, Joe Lastie.

In this album, dedicated to her late father, she explores European waltzes through her own jazz lens. The album also includes two ragas, performed by guitarist Noshir Mody and flutes by Al Jewer. RAGAS & WALTZES has received a lot of praise from critics. JAZZIZ Magazine has praised its classic reinvention of the European waltz, and All About Jazz said, "These are all Suri originals, with which she creates a mood that is a mix, tune-by-tune, of longing and solemnity, then of a lilting and uplifting beauty, segueing into tender reverence that shifts gear into a segment of lively swing before drifting back to loving respect. And that swing is surely inspired by New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band's drummer, Joe Lastie, Jr., sitting in the recording session's drummer's chair."

But she is no stranger to the art of the Songbook too (attribute this to her listening to numerous records of Bill Evans and Billie Holiday as a kid). "The New American Songbook" has garnered many awards, including a "Band Single of the Year" crystal trophy for her song, Bluesy, awarded by the International Singer-Songwriters Association (ISSA) in 2021.

Charu has performed at Lincoln Center and other prestigious concert halls around the world, including St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She often performs with her band, and sometimes as a soloist. She embarks on a multi-city RAGAS & WALTZES tour to India starting with a performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai, on September 16th.

Artist Bio: Shamir Tandon, arranger

Shamir Tandon is a very passionate entrepreneur. He quit a plum corporate job as the Country Head at EMI Virgin to pursue his true passion for music.

Even when young, Shamir was always singing and composing in school & college festivals. He also went on to do his MBA and Cost Accountancy and started his career in Merchant Banking. It was during this successful tenure that he decided to take up his passion for music and turn it into a full fledged career.  Shamir is the first musician in his family. He isn’t formally trained but makes up for it by constantly learning and exploring different genres of music.

Shamir started working with EMI Virgin in 1998. In his 9 year stint, he grew from a Marketing Manager to a Country Head. He played a key role in marketing and distributing global acts like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra to Norah Jones, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. He was instrumental in bringing down to India bands like Deep Purple, Rolling Stone, MLTR and even Richard Clayderman. Having spent 12 years of his corporate life before diving into music full time, it allowed him to see the best of both worlds.

Shamir has been blessed to have legends sing under his baton. He is the only music director who has composed for Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Jagjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and many more.

Shamir has composed more than 150 ad jingles for popular brands such as Ambuja Cement, Idea, Big Bazaar, ICICI, Pepsi, Samsonite, SBI, LIC, Airtel and more.

Shamir curated and composed the No. 1 album of 2006-07, Asha and Friends where he got Asha Bhosle to sing with Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar, Brett Lee, etc.

He also composed the anthem for the 2007 Cricket World Cup where he made 11 leading singers sing together in one song. He was the first one to release an anti-piracy song for which the top singers of Bollywood collaborated together. His non-film album for the top four winners of Indian Idol 6, comprised five original tracks and four special renditions of the song “Pal” for each of the winners.

Shamir has also collaborated with the boy band Blue for the song “One Love” which featured Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu. He brought together Enrique Iglesias and Sunidhi Chauhan for the track “Heartbeat” which was featured on Enrique’s album.

Shamir has also worked with European artists for the film Bluffmaster and has worked with Jay Sean. He’s also got Brett Lee and Robbie Williams to sing with Asha Bhosle.

Shamir’s first break in Bollywood was the National award winning film Page 3. After the success of Page 3, he also composed for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate and Traffic Signal. Apart from this, he has also worked with big names like Balaji, UTV Motion Pictures, Disney, Ashtavinayak, Shemaroo, Sahara, Viacom 18, Percept, Sangeet Sivan, Sanjay Gupta, Sanjay Leela Bhansali etc. His versatiity ranges from the thought provoking “Lamha Lamha Zindagi Hai” to the energetic qawwali “O Sikander” which was one of the biggest hits of 2006.

Apart from composing music, Shamir also consults for many brands, production houses and agencies. Currently, he’s consulting for Universal Music Group for their A&R and digital music space. He was also responsible for artist repertoire and music consultancy for Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s album Back to Love which won Mirchi and GIMA awards.

Artist Bio: Ruchika Grover, events manager

Ruchika is a seasoned program and operations leader who loves using her tremendous organizational skills to bring people and communities together to celebrate the moments that matter. She has been managing events for Kulture Kool and has recently started @Plan2Groove, an events planning enterprise. 

Ruchika previously worked at professional and financial services corporations, including KPMG and Bank of America. Additionally, she has helped drive multiple fundraising initiatives and has worked with elementary schools and local communities across the NY/NJ Metropolitan area to help promote diversity and cultural understanding through educational and immersive events. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Marketing, along with a Master’s in Business Management from New York University.


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New Jersey Symphony Family Series presented by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

Programs and artists are subject to change.