Sarode and Tabla Concert + Demonstration with David Trasoff and Leonice Shinneman

Saturday March 15th

David Trasoff and Leonice Shinneman, based locally in Los Angeles, share a performance highlighting afternoon ragas on Sarode (the traditional north Indian fretless lute). The performance includes a discussion on the evolution and development of raga.

David Trasoff has studied sarode performance and North Indian classical music under maestro Ali Akbar Khan, India’s ‘Living National Treasure,’ since 1972. He has also received guidance from Dr. Rajeev Taranath, renowned sarod performer and senior disciple of Ali Akbar Khan. He has appeared in concert in arts centers, universities, conservatories and festivals in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has made numerous performing tours in India.

David holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.F.A. in music from California Institute of the Arts. He served as Director of the Indian Music Ensemble at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1995-1997, and taught in the Visual and Performing Arts Program at California State University, San Marcos from 1997-2001. David presently teaches North Indian classical music and improvisation in the World Music program of the School of Music at the
California Institute of the Arts.

David has contributed as a composer and performer to numerous film, recording and live music events, including the release of a solo classical recording on compact disc featuring accompaniment by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. In 1997, David composed and directed music for an acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also participated in contemporary music, theater and dance projects in Los Angeles.

“The evening’s performance left no doubt about his prowess…There was tremendous depth, feeling and soul in Trasoff’s performance.”
AJANTA KRISHNAMURTY, The Telegraph, Calcutta

Leonice Shinneman is a musician, performer, drummer and inventor of instruments and technique. Leonice is recognized as the foremost American disciple of the legendary North Indian Tabla and Pakhawaj master Pandit Taranath Rao,of Farukkhabad style. Leonice has performed Indian classical music in concert with, L. Shankar, Ganasaraswathy, Dr.Vinkatraman, Rajeev Taranath, Zakir Hussain, and the late Amiya Dasgupta. His teachers include Pandit Ravi Bellare, Ustad Alla Rakha,
Swapan Chaudhury, and T.R. Rajamani. Leonice has given Tabla and Pakhawaj solos in Europe, India and Mexico. He has recorded and played drum-set or Tabla with Sting, Gino Vannelli, Kiss, Kula Shaker, JLO, Howard Levy and Frank Zappa. Leonice is heard on prominent film scores including “The Hulk”, “Aliens – 3″,and “Xena”. He received his BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts and served on the faculty for three years.

About the Sarode

The sarode evolved into a classical instrument about 150 years ago, an
expression of the combination of the classical, court-based tradition of
the Moghul Empire with instruments derived from the folk-based
traditions of Central Asia. Changes in design made by Ustad Alauddin
Khan in consultation with his brother, instrument builder Ayet Ali Khan,
in the 1920s and 1930s brought the sarode to its present form. The body
of the sarode is carved from a single piece of teak covered with a skin

The steel fingerboard is fretless, permitting the use of the slides,
ornaments, and microtones characteristic of Indian music. The brass bell
at the end of the instrument acts as a resonator. The sarode has 25
strings, 18 of which are sympathetic. Four main playing strings produce
the same note range as a viola. Three rhythm strings are tuned to the
tonic note.