We are at a stage in history, where we are equipped with the powers of science and information like never before. We also have in our possession the collective wisdom of our ancestors which can lead us into ways of living sustainably on earth, leading a life which will hand over the heritage of our planet to our children exactly as we received it, in its richness, resources and life."
Kanniks Kannikeswaran The Blue Jewel 1996
Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran (www.kanniks.com) is an internationally renowned musician, composer, music educator and scholar who has consistently employed his knowledge, understanding in music to create works of art that build bridges across diverse communities and cultures. Centered on issues of relevance to humanity, Kanniks’ creations are grounded in history and spirituality and they integrate multi-dimensional story telling with movement, visuals, chants and ensemble music based on Indian ragas, in an overarching vision of no-otherness.
His recent music video ‘Rivers of India’ produced for the International Center for Clean Water, IIT Madras with well known singers Bombay Jayashri and Kaushiki Chakravorty has received widespread acclaim.
Kanniks is credited with creating a ‘new sound’, that of Indian ragas in conjunction with western choirs and ensembles. He has consistently built on his work over the past 25 years; as a pioneer of Indian American choral music, his work has personally touched the lives of over 3500 performers and has inspired the flowering of community choirs in over 12 cities in the United States. Kanniks has collaborated with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, the Martin Luther King Chorale, the Dario Fo choir, the Residentie Orkest (Netherlands), the National University of Singapore Symphony orchestra, the United Nations Association International Choir, The Santa Clara Chorale, artists such as Lakshmi Shankar, Mallika Sarabhai, the Gundecha brothers.
His work on the Indo-Colonial music of Muthuswamy Dikshitar in 2007 brought widespread popularity to this genre of music. Kanniks was interviewed on NPR in 2013, was featured in INK Talks India in 2015; his composition ‘Mahavakya’ was performed as the opening invocation at the the historic reception accorded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Gardens in 2014. He is the recipient of the McKnight Residency Fellowship, the Ohio Heritage Fellowship, the Just Community Award, the Humanities Award from the Hindu American Foundation, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Madras and several other accolades.
Kanniks skillfully uses the digital platform to communicate powerful messages through compelling videos on water awareness, music history, the history of yoga etc. His recent musical documentary 'Yog Darshan' has received praise from scholars such as Padma Bhushan Dr. Nagaswamy. He has also seamlessly used the power of digital communication to create ensemble music through his Sadhana workshops.
Kanniks has been described as a renaissance personality who effortlessly traverses diverse disciplines such as music, spirituality, and innovation in his talks and his creations.
He has taught Graduate Level courses on Indian Music Theory/History at the College Conservatory of Music - University of Cincinnati. He continues to teach music theory and history through the Hindu University of America. His unique pedagogical approach to music emphasizes 'Raga Vidya', built on the core of commonality between the Hindustani and Karnatic traditions, with emphasis on the compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar. He lives in Cincinnati OH with his wife Jayashree and daughters Vidita and Sukhita.
".. Rivers of India is simply amazing. You have demonstrated the power of music to unite people for water security.."
Padmashri Prof. Pradeep Thalappil
".. Yog Darshan - Words are inadequate to express the aesthetic joy in this work. .A simply beautiful creative program. "
Padma Bhushan Dr R. Nagaswamy
".. ..Kanniks has done yeoman service to the Tamil language and he needs to be lauded. I am convinced that this production will create an awakening. It is my wish that he takes this to various parts of the world and spreads the message in all its glory..."
Padmashri Solomon Pappaiah
"..Kanniks stands out as a truly innovative and global, yet deeply Indian, music composer who has been able to bring together a deep understanding of both Western and Indian musical traditions in a manner that is absolutely unique and enriches the entire world of music.."