Dinuk Wijeratne

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Dinuk Wijeratne

Described by the New York Times as 'exuberantly creative', and by the Toronto Star as 'an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future', Sri Lankan-born Dinuk Wijeratne is one of Canada's most eclectic and distinctive composer/performers.

Dinuk is honoured to be an RBC Stockey Young Artist for his debut at Festival of the Sound. His summer highlights also include his debut at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland; a new commission for the Gryphon Trio; the nationwide CBC broadcast of his new Tabla Concerto; and the world premiere of his new electro-acoustic project WijeratneWorks, featuring DJ Skratch Bastid.

Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 as a conductor, composer and pianist, performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), L'Opéra Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Sri Lanka, across the Middle East, and debuted at the Berlin Philharmonie in a collaborative recital of entirely original works with acclaimed clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, with whom Dinuk has released his first album entitled 'Complex Stories, Simple Sounds'.

Dinuk grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York's Juilliard School. Dinuk's Chamber Concerto 'About Sankhara' (2003) was commissioned by the New Juilliard Ensemble and was the first work by a Sri Lankan composer to be performed at Lincoln Center. Dinuk was also composition fellow at the 2002 Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and was appointed Artist-in-Residence by the Performing Arts Foundation at International House for the 2003/4 season. Conducting studies followed at New York's Mannes College of Music.

Body of Work[edit]

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, Joseph Petric, David Jalbert, Kinan Azmeh, Tim Garland, John Dankworth, Nikki Iles, Julian Argüelles, Victor Mendoza, Ed Thigpen, Pandit Ramesh Misra, Adrian Spillett, Kevork Mourad, Mayookh Bhaumik, Christina Courtin, MIR, Buck 65, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, 4-Mality Percussion Quartet, the NY Kathak Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Onelight Theatre, and Symphony Nova Scotia. A firm believer in the universality of music, Dinuk founded the cutting-edge NYC-based multimedia group NEOLEXICA in 2003 together with Turkish DJ Umut Gokcen, Silk Road Ensemble artist Kevork Mourad from Armenia, and Kinan Azmeh. The quartet synesthetically combine live illustration with a uniquely multinational blend of acoustic & electronic music.

A passionate educator, Dinuk lectures at the universities of Dalhousie and Acadia, and is returning for his seventh season as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra and appeared numerous times with Symphony Nova Scotia during his 3-year appointment as Conductor-in-Residence. He is the recipient of the 2008 Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; the 2011 Nova Scotia Established Artist Award; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard and Mannes scholarships; two Countess of Munster composition grants; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize - the RNCM's highest student honor. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.