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North American Melodic Ensemble (NAME)

North American Melodic Ensemble (NAME) is a first-of-its-kind multi-cultural Vocal-Instrumental orchestra dedicated to pursue, perfect, project & preserve Melodic Masterpieces of various Traditional & Folk systems in the world such as Carnatic, Hindustani, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Korean, African, Aboriginal and Irish, to name a few.  NAME also will present Operas, Musicals and short skits on various subjects including the lives of master composers such as Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi as well as mythological or historical themes such as Ramayana or Mahabharata.

Auditions for NAME are slated to open from 15 May, 2016 and those who gain Admission can be part of the World Premiere during the Melharmony Festival in Nov 2016 as also other performances of the ensemble across North America.

Eligibility: NAME is an equal opportunity ensemble open to any talented & passionate student, teacher & professional or part time performer between ages of 6 and 66 residing in North America whose date of birth falls between May 10, 2010 & May 10, 1950 who has received training for a minimum of 2 years.

Spirit of NAME

If you are talented and also passionate about polishing & presenting the authentic rich repertoire of Master Melody Composers and also find excitement in exploring the incredible melo-rhythmic subtleties of diverse melodic systems such as Carnatic, NAME is the way to go! 

How is NAME different from other ensembles?

  • NAME is not a one-off event based orchestra.  It is a more permanent unit.  
  • Those signing up for NAME are not signing up for just one concert but all events that Melharmony Foundation may present that year. 
  • It is not limited to only one system of music but aims to specialize in resurrecting colourful repertoire from various genres based on the configuration of the ensemble. 
  • Repertoire will project compositions ranging from the simplest melodies to the most sophisticated works of master composers and parts may be assigned to individuals or sections within the group to make the concerts more colourful. There could also be creative and improvisational segments woven into the presentation if it can be kept within the spirit of the overall concert. 

Benefits of joining NAME  

(a) Individual skills will definitely be enhanced in being a part of a mega artistic initiative like NAME which provides exposure to brilliant creations of great masters, techniques of approaching them and rendering them with relish and polish, much of it will be applicable to each artist's solos as well.

(b) Group skills and ability to blend in will also be honed, something not often found in melody based systems in many parts of the world.

(c) Quality artists will be given leadership roles which will enable them to further their own skills as mentors as well as performers.

Instruments: The Ensemble will be anchored by Voices but open to exponents of any instrument in the world such as harp, violin, chitravina, sitar, erhu, pipa, rebab, oud, tar, veena, tabla, flute, mrdangam, khanjira, ghatam etc. 

Opportunities: Melharmony Foundation will explore performing and recording opportunities for the ensemble every year in traditional as well as alternate venues & events in different cities. NAME will also explore collaborations with quality musicians, dancers, and other orchestras/ensembles.

Repertoire & presentation

  • NAME will aim to give opportunities to learn compositions from different cultures and languages.
  • Parts that are naturally comfortable will be assigned to each artist in over 80% of the cases, which can include simple works from other genres (unless one is naturally inclined to and found capable of mastering the challenging ones!).  For instance, a complicated work of a Carnatic composer like Tyagaraja or Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi will not generally be assigned to members of other genres or even beginners in Carnatic. 
  • Since NAME will include people of different age-groups and levels, songs and sections will be assigned accordingly.

Notation & memorization: Students must be able to read or transcribe notations in their respective systems (such as Carnatic or Chinese). Though melodic compositions are generally presented in unison, NAME will be made colorful by assigning specific parts to various artists. All NAME Vocalists are expected to memorize their parts while percussionists and melody instrumentalists may write & refer to their parts/cues on stage. 

Training: Since this is a multi-city member ensemble, members will be given online access to videos/audios of LIVE CLASSES of the compositions. They are expected to precisely follow the details and styles of the versions of each composition. Each member is required to spend a minimum of 3 hours per week on practice and listening (based on parts assigned).  

Faculty Forum: Melharmony Foundation will invite quality gurus and mentors from diverse systems in the world to be a part of the NAME Faculty Forum to work with and enhance the quality of the ensemble. The Faculty Forum will also be open to scheduling additional individual/group sessions for interested members live or online for a fee. 

Rehearsals: Members are encouraged to schedule periodic live rehearsals with ensemble members in their locality/city, periodically. Melharmony Foundation will also schedule localized rehearsals when one of the Directors/Faculty are available in the area.  Concert rehearsals with the entire ensemble will typically be scheduled on the day of the performance in addition to 1-3 days prior, based on logistical considerations. 

Exemptions: Age exemptions will be made for prodigious talents or senior citizens in voice/any instrument.  If you feel that you or your child qualifies, you may apply for Audition. The decision of the Directors will be final.