Dr Tanya Ekanayaka is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Sri Lankan-British concert composer-pianist and regarded as one of Sri Lanka’s finest artistes. Classically trained and with a background in Asian and Popular music, she is also a linguist, musicologist and record producer. Although trained as a pianist, her compositional skills are the result of a purely intuitive and natural development. Influenced by her multifaceted background, multilingualism, ambidexterity and partial colour synaesthesia her works which she describes as ‘deeply autobiographical’ and which evolve when she is at the piano (and at times in her dreams), have not been scored in any form but remain precisely frozen in her memory once evolved.
Tanya Ekanayaka was born and brought up in the Kandyan highlands of Sri Lanka and began studying the piano when she was five years old initially tutored by her mother, Indira Ekanayaka, who used a combination of teaching methods she recounts as ‘experimental’ and ‘unintrusive’. She then went on to study under Bridget Halpé and in later years benefitted from the guidance of Colin Kingsley, John Kitchen, Raymond Monelle, Peter Nelson, Nigel Osborne, Jonathan Pasternack and Robin Zebaida.
She made her debut public recital appearance at the age of twelve, performed her first concerto at sixteen with the SOSL (Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka), as joint winner and youngest competitor of the SOSL biennial concerto competition and has since performed in celebrated international concert venues in Europe, North America and Asia.
Consistent with her interdisciplinary background, she holds a doctorate for interdisciplinary research involving Linguistics and Musicology from The University of Edinburgh, where she has also been engaged part time in academic teaching since 2007, as well as advanced academic and professional qualifications in Music Performance, Linguistics and Literature.
Tanya Ekanayaka’s works represent novel and invigorating musical genres inspired by melodies belonging to a wide range of ancient, folk and popular music traditions both of her homeland Sri Lanka and countries around the world. Overall, her music reflects emerging discourses between musical genres, styles and periods. They have been featured on numerous international media and are often the first by any Sri Lankan composer to be performed at international venues.
For more information, visit www.tanyaekanayaka.com.