200 Million Hits, Musicians from 51 Countries, Indian Music in All Its Forms
What started out as a class at Berklee College of Music in 2011 has become one of the hippest global acts to emerge from Boston: the Berklee Indian Ensemble. Founded by Indian Berklee alumna and faculty member Annette Philip '09, the ensemble provides an open and inclusive creative space for musicians from all over the world to explore, study, interpret, and create music influenced by the rich and varied mosaic that is Indian music today.
With high-profile collaborations featuring iconic artists A. R. Rahman, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shreya Ghoshal, Shankar Mahadevan, Vijay Prakash, and Clinton Cerejo, the Berklee Indian Ensemble is renowned for its global Indian sound that honors traditions while experimenting with cross-pollination of genres, cultures, and multidisciplinary art forms. From a Carnatic thillana or a high-adrenaline konnakol conversation to Indo-jazz experiments or qawwali, the ensemble performs an expansive repertoire in addition to the 20 original student compositions the group has premiered to date.
A viral sensation with almost 200 million YouTube views (accounting for more than 50 percent of Berklee's total YouTube views), the Berklee Indian Ensemble was in such high demand globally that a professional touring entity was created that has headlined international music festivals and consistently staged sold-out productions with live experience design (LED) and cutting-edge technology partners (i.e., Intel and Google Tilt Brush), providing students with real-world experiences, a close-knit community, and personal mentorship.
The ensemble was also the driving force behind the idea of Berklee India Exchange (BIX), an institute at Berklee that serves as a platform, conduit, and incubator for Indian art and culture through concerts, high-profile artist residencies, original content, tours, workshops, and scholarships leading to advancement opportunities for Berklee artists around the world. Funded solely by philanthropy, BIX has become home to artists from all over the world, and an influencer and thought leader in the ever-evolving global music industry.
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Watch the Berklee Indian Ensemble perform "Jiya Jale," the most popular video on Berklee's YouTube channel with over 43 million views: