Fourth annual Sidhartha Maitra Memorial Lecture/Film Screening set for October 17 at UC Santa Cruz

UCLA emeritus professor and renowned ethnomusicologist Nazir Jairazbhoy will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual Sidhartha Maitra Memorial Lecture set for October 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall at UC Santa Cruz.

Known as the "father of Indian Ethnomusicology" in the United States, Jairazbhoy has conducted extensive research on India's classical and folk music. He will speak on the topic: "From Music Room to Talk Room." Following the lecture, there will a live Thumri vocal recital featuring acclaimed Indian vocalist Purnima Chaudhuri, with Uttam Chakraborty on tabla, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m..

The lecture and concert will be preceded at 3 p.m. by a screening of the classic 1958 Satyajit Ray film, The Music Room (Jalsaghar). An exhibition of Ray's storyboards, set and costume designs, posters, and graphic art will also be featured at an Opening Reception between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at Cowell College. All events are free and open to the public.

The 2004 Sidhartha Maitra Memorial Lecture will be presented by the university's Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection as part of UCSC's 40th anniversary celebration. The lecture series was established in 2001 by Anuradha Luther Maitra in honor of her husband, who was a scientist, entrepreneur, and admirer of the late Indian film director's work. The Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection (Ray FASC) was founded in 1993 to acquire, preserve, and provide scholarly access to Ray's films, papers, books, and artwork.

The Maitras have provided endowments to support both Ray FASC and the study of Indian classical music. Anu Maitra planned this year's event to honor the fortuitous intersection of her husband's twin passions. She said, "I came away from a recent screening of Jalsaghar with a crusading reverence for Ray's craftsmanship and gratitude to him for having preserved, for all time, sparkling performances from the masters of Indian music and dance--Bismillah Khan, Begum Akhtar, Waheed Khan, and Roshan Kumari."

Dilip Basu, associate professor of history and director of Ray FASC at UCSC, noted that plans are being made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ray's work with a festival of his restored films in Calcutta on December 10-16. Invited guests include Sonia Gandhi; Somnath Chatterjee, speaker of the Indian Parliament and president of The Ray Society; Frank Pearson, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures; M. Fremeaux, artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival; Salman Rushdie; and Tom Luddy, producer of Coppola's Zoetrope Films and director of the Telluride Film Festival.

Basu said that the festival will then travel to Bangalore and Delhi in January and March, adding that Ray's Pather Panchali and the Apu Trilogy, along with France's favorite Ray film, The Music Room, will be re-screened at Cannes and New York's Museum of Modern Art in May. Later that month, Pather Panchali and the Apu Trilogy will also be screened at a fundraising banquet in Silicon Valley.

"At the Silicon Valley banquet, we plan to assemble distinguished academics, university presidents and chancellors, Silicon Valley professionals, and Hollywood directors and actors," said Basu. "We hope President Bill Clinton, a Ray film fan, will attend the banquet as well."

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