Madhira de Saram‘s website describes her as follows,
After completing her primary education in Sri Lanka, she was awarded a music scholarship to North London Collegiate School where she completed her secondary education. She was also a Leverhulme Scholar at the Junior Royal Academy of Music where she performed both as a violinist and pianist, also taking classes in composition and conducting. Her violin teachers have included Igor Petrushevsky, Howard Davis and Levon Chillingirian.
Mandhira graduated with first class honours from the University of Oxford with a high first in performance and was the winner of the Worcester College Arts Prize for the highest result in an arts subject. Here she was the leader of several orchestras and chamber groups including Ensemble Isis which specializes in contemporary music. She also held an Oxford Philomusica Orchestra Award.
Working professionally as a freelance violinist, she appears frequently as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist around the UK and abroad.
In Sri Lanka after a hiatus of three years for a series of concerts, in this interview Mandhira talks about why she took up classical music, the sources of her inspiration, how she started playing the violin and her take on contemporary interpretations of the classical canon.
Druvi de Saram, Mandhira’s father and Rohan de Saram, her Uncle are two of Sri Lanka’s best known exponents of the piano and cello, respectively. She talks about how both influenced her own playing.
In addition to talking about her Oxford days, collaboration with composers and her performances, Mandhira also talks about both the need for and impact of the web and Internet on musicians, spanning from Photoshopped profile shots to the music one uploads to sites like MySpace.com. We talk about whether this, in any way, influences how an artiste plays and what music they choose to play – the enduring contest between popular appeal and a more rigorous approach to classical music.
On the same lines, we talk about the Ligeti Quartet, a string quartet which is devoted to promoting 20th and 21st century music of which Mandhira is a founding member.