The classical music of India is one of the oldest, most intricate, and versatile forms of music in the world. Boasting a history of over 2,000 years, Indian classical music lays claim to a dazzling variety percussion instruments. Among these, the mridangam is one of the most hallowed and popular in all of India. The mridangam is a double-sided South Indian hand drum that is played with the fingers and palms. Considered the drum of the Gods, it is unique as a pitched drum, endowing it with a singing, melodic quality, as well as a driving, rhythmic quality. Today, the mridangam has become especially popular as a way to expand and enrich the repertoire of countless instruments and genres. Read more about Indian percussion and the mridangam.
As a distinguished soloist and collaborator, Rohan’s performances span a wide spectrum of styles and contexts. His performance offerings range from traditional Indian classical concerts to new collaborative performances with orchestras, jazz ensembles, dancers, and global musicians. Each performance booking is customized to the specific needs and context of the event.
The Alaya Project
The Alaya Project is the essential bridge between the intricate Carnatic style of Indian classical music and contemporary jazz and funk. Born in the cultural bastion of Oakland, California, The Alaya Project explores new textures and perspectives built over two decades of friendship, dialogue, and musical immersion across genres and continents. The driving hybrid kit grooves of Indian percussionist and drummer, Rohan Krishnamurthy, the soulful Ragas and melodies of Prasant Radhakrishnan on saxophone, and the harmonic bedrock of Colin Hogan embodies the permanence of a changing soundscape.
Click here for more info about The Alaya Project.
Percussion Solos and Ensembles
Rohan’s solo performances put the spotlight on the ancient and complex South Indian percussion tradition. Fun, energetic, and interactive, his solo performances highlight some of the most important drums of India: mridangam, khanjira framedrum, ghatam clay drum, and konnakol vocal percussion. Layopasana 1: A Rhythmic Voyage is one of the only full-length, solo mridangam albums that is commercially available.
In addition to solos, Rohan presents the Indian percussive art form in diverse percussion ensembles. Layopasana 2: Rhythmic Explorations is an original trio that bridges South Indian percussion, drum set, and West African djembe. His pioneering hybrid kit bridges the drum set with South Indian percussion, and hand and stick drumming more broadly.
Watch a video of his solo performance.
Indian Classical Music and Dance Concerts
Rohan is a leading performer of Indian classical music and has toured internationally with the most eminent artists in the field, including M. Balamuralikrishna, T.N. Krishnan, N. Ramani, Chitravina N. Ravikiran, S. Shashank, T. M. Krishna, and Ranjani and Gayatri. He has presented numerous North and South Indian jughalbhandi or crossover concerts with artists such as Grammy Award-winners Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Ronu Majumdar, Tarun Bhattacharya, Snehashish Mazumdar, and Vijay Ghate.
Rohan has been invited to perform during the celebrated December Music Season in Chennai since 1998 in acclaimed music organizations such as the Madras Music Academy, Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Narada Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Indian Fine Arts Society, Bharat Kalachar, and Hamsadwhani. His December 2003 series included a landmark performance at India’s oldest music festival, the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan, with Chitravina N. Ravikiran, marking the second South Indian concert in the organization’s 130-year history.
Rohan has also collaborated with the leading Indian classical dancers and dance companies specializing in bharatanatyam, kuchipudi, and Odissi. Notable performances include a week-long concert with Ramaa Bharadwaj at the Hollywood Bowl, prime-time shows at the Chicago World Music Festival with Hema and Krithika Rajagopalan and the Natya Dance Theatre, and a music and dance ensemble with Malini Srinivasan at the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music. Since 2017, he has toured “Written in Water” with the Ragamala Dance Company and jazz trumpeter/Iraqi vocalist and santur artist Amir ElSaffar, including performances at the Kennedy Center, Harris Theater, and NYU Abu Dhabi.
Rohan has spearheaded new cross-musical collaborations with symphony orchestras, percussion ensembles, jazz ensembles, and distinguished musicians including Grammy Award-winner Glen Velez, Anoushka Shankar, and Ayano Ninomiya. He performed Rohan, a novel concerto written specially for him by eminent composer and percussionist, Dr. Payton Macdonald, for South Indian percussion and Western percussion ensemble. Premiere performances were on both coasts at The Juilliard School in New York City and San Francisco Conservatory of Music in San Francisco.
Committed to community service and outreach, Rohan has conducted and organized musical concerts and workshops since 1998 at prominent centers, including San Francisco Community Music Center, Chinmaya Mission, The Banyan, Sankara Nethralaya, Sankara Eye Foundation, Lakeside Treatment and Learning Center, Kalamazoo Unitarian Church, Indo-American Cultural Center and Temple, Sambodh Society, Kalamazoo Juvenile Center, Hochstein Music School, University of Rochester, and Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival, the largest Indian music festival outside of India.