Two very different musical performances by Sri Chinmoy

Last modified July 26, 2018

Sri Chinmoy gave these two unique performances in the space of 9 days in June 2003: a powerful synthesiser concert in New York that Sri Chinmoy described as his masterpiece, and a soaring spontaneous and wordless singing elegy which evoked the spirit of the ancient Indian dhrupada form.

On 18 June, 2003 Sri Chinmoy performed on an 88-key Yamaha synthesiser at Public School 86 in Queens, New York, a short distance from where he lived. He was very happy with this performance, as is evidenced by his remarks to his students the day after:

Tonight I have really, really enjoyed my performance on the synthesizer! Tonight I played to my greatest satisfaction. What more can I say?

Usually people speak about freedom of speech. Now I wish to speak about freedom of performance. I have enjoyed this performance far beyond my own imagination. I happen to be a poet, and poets have a free access to the imagination-world. But today my performance has far surpassed my imagination. I enjoyed it very, very much, very much!

I count this performance as my masterpiece. The joy that I felt while playing was unparalleled. Immensity’s joy I felt while playing, and now also, while I am listening.

The recording was produced in a 15-minute CD called The Fragrance of a New Dawn, in time for Sri Chinmoy’s visit to England a week later. During his visit in England, Sri Chinmoy visited both Oxford and Cambridge University, honouring professors in his own unique way. During the evening of his visit to Cambridge on June 27 Sri Chinmoy had a meditation function with his students. At some point during the function, the CD recording of The Fragrance of a New Dawn was offered for sale, and there was a pause in proceedings while those of Sri Chinmoy’s students who wanted to buy the CD filed forward to the front of the room.

And then Sri Chinmoy began singing; at first it sounded like something from one of his compositions, but there were no words, just a melody which rose higher and higher. At the beginning of the CD his students are still filing through the front of the room and you can hear some sounds of microphones accidentally being bumped into and so forth; and then the room settled down to hear their teacher sing. This unique performance was later released as another 15-minute CD called The Memories of Ancient India.

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