Nawaz Mirajkar

Nawaz Mirajkar

Nawaz Mirajkar born in 1976 in Pune, India, hails from a proud lineage of musicians. He began began playing the tabla from a very

tender age, under the tutelage of his father Ustad Mohammad Hanif Khan Mirajkar. In 1988, Nawaz was awarded a scholarship by

the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, India, under the Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme by the Government of

India. He trained as a musician and a tabla player and graduated with the Tabla Visharad Degree (First Class) in 1994. and later

‘Tabla Alankar’ both awarded by Akhil Bharathiya Ghandrva Maha Vidyalaya Mandal.

 

In 1996, Nawaz was invited to teach tabla at the Temple of Fine Arts in Singapore. Given the cosmopolitan environment of

Singapore, he continues to draw inspiration from western, oriental and Indian elements to fuel the creative process. In 2005, he

became a permanent resident of Singapore. Besides being a tabla soloist and accompanist, Nawaz is also a composer and producer.

To date, Nawaz has composed and produced four outstanding orchestral productions: Damaru, Taal Express, Water and Anthar-Agni.

 

Inspiring the Next Generation

While being a performing artiste, Nawaz is at the same time inspiring a young generation of aspiring percussionists through the

Temple of Fine Arts (TFA), Singapore, where he serves as a teacher of classical tabla playing. His work at TFA has played a

significant role in spreading traditional Indian music across different age groups and races in Singapore.

 

Adjunct Faculty Member at the Music Faculty, SOTA

Nawaz is also an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Music Faculty of the School of the Arts (SOTA), Singapore.

 

Students To Full­-fledged Musicians

Nawaz has tutored more than 250 students over the past 13 years. To date, 11 students have graduated (‘Arangetram’) from TFA’s

tabla programme, many of whom have gone on to become full­-fledged musicians. In 2010, he produced a very successful graduation

performance (arangetram) for one of his senior students that drew rave reviews for its high level of excellence both in presentation

and performance. In 2015, another of his students had his graduation ceremony at John Everarity Music and Drama Centre – Perth.

This event also attracted huge appreciation from all , for the teacher as well as the Student. His students have won in the senior and

junior categories in the National Indian Music Competition 2004 and Open and junior categories in 2014, organized by the National

Arts Council. Understanding the importance of authentic experiences, Nawaz provides his students with opportunities to perform in

all his major musical productions, performing alongside professional musicians from Singapore and overseas. His students included

then Singapore’s Health Minister, Mr Khaw Boon Wan. During the Singapore Arts Festival 2006 as a distinguished guest, Mr Khaw

publicly commended his Guru for his dedication and inspiring tutelage.

 

Accomplishments in Singapore

His accomplishments in Singapore include, participation in the Heritage Festival at Fort Canning (2001), “Energy Singapore!”

Percussion Festival organized by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (2005), the Singapore Arts Festival 2006 and 2007, and “East

Meets West” organized by the Asian Civilization Museum in 2008. Nawaz’s passion for percussion and commitment to raising its

awareness is highlighted by his outstanding feat of carrying out a non­stop drumming marathon for over 27 hours. This feat

performed at Kolam Ayer Community Club in 2001 earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. His skills in playing

complex patterns at great speeds, yet maintaining the clarity and dynamics of the syllables earned him international recognition. He

has collaborated numerous times with world renowned Indian Classical artistes like sitarist, Ustad Usman Khan and Samuel Dass,

guitarist Pandit Brijbhushan Kabra, vocalists Arti Anklikar, Pandit Arun Kashalkar and Pandit Vikas Kashalkar.

 

Bringing Singapore to the World

Nawaz has been playing an active role in representing Singapore in the global arts scene. He has traveled to several countries

around the world to give performances and conduct workshops. In 1999, Nawaz had the honour of performing for the Sultan of Johor

at his Royal Palace. In 2002 he was invited by Temple of Fine Arts, Perth, Australia, to perform for the “Dance India, Taste India”

cultural festival. He was also invited to Murdoch University, Australia, in that same year to conduct tabla workshops and

demonstrations organized by the School of Media and Asian studies. In 2005, Nawaz performed with the Siong Leng Musical

Association, Singapore, at the International Nanyin Music Festival in Xiamen, China. In the same year, he also performed with a

musical ensemble in New Jersey, USA. In 2006, Nawaz was part of the band, Asia Major, which represented Singapore in Japan to

commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In 2009, Nawaz performed alongside Malaysia’s

accomplished sitarist, Samuel J Dass at the prestigious KL Music Festival, which featured world­ class musicians from all over the

world. In 2010, Nawaz composed, arranged and played for the four piece band with his group “CHATURANG” for Xin Juang

International Drum Festival in Taiwan. In 2012, one of the compositions from Damaru­ “Soul of Damaru” was presented by Nawaz in

Korea at the concert of ‘Gyeonggi.

 

Aspirations

Nawaz hopes to bring the art of the tabla and percussions to greater heights by continuing to re­invent and experiment while keeping

the traditions alive. He hopes to generate more new and original music from Singapore that would transcend different cultures and

speak to the world. Being in the music scene of Singapore for more than a decade, his musical aspirations are to create a new

musical genre that fuses Asia’s rich musical heritage and give it a modern edge so as to appeal both to the youth of today and

mature tradionalists. The recent Water and Damaru productions of his, especially the latter, are testimony to this. He has shown that

one can interpret and present classical music of any culture in a “cool & hip” way with meaning and depth. Due to the overwhelming

response to Damaru, especially by youths of many cultures, he had the honour of being requested by the National Arts Council to be

a music mentor and composer for a band from NOISE Singapore called Monochrome with the intent of presenting it at the inaugural

International Youth Olympic Games hosted by Singapore. This collaborative experiment was successfully performed at the Youth

Olympic games village in August 2010.