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RMF Welcomes “East Meets West” Concert

By Reading Musical Foundation

Sep 23, 2022
Reading Musical Foundation

Indian Classical Music: A New Approach to Ancient Tradition

RMF will host musicians Phil Scarff, Pandit Arup Chattopadhyay, and Anjan Saha for an Indian Classical Music workshop at 2:00 PM and concert at 4:00 PM on Sunday, October 9, at the WCR Center for the Arts. Both events are free and open to the public, with the workshop targeted to middle school and high school instrumentalists and vocalists. This adventurous, unique collaboration features master musicians from India performing traditional Indian instruments, melding seamlessly with a nuanced approach to the modern saxophone. Mr. Scarff, who currently resides in Massachusetts, is a graduate of Muhlenberg High School. This will be his second performance in Berks County, previously providing a concert and workshop for Muhlenberg schools as part of Berks JazzFest.

Phil Scarff

Phil Scarff is pioneering the performance of North Indian classical music on soprano saxophone, exquisitely capturing the music’s subtlety and depth. His performance at the famed Tansen Samaroh, Gwalior, India, with Saskia Rao de Haas was “The highlight of the festival.” [Dainik Bhaskar]. Indian classical appearances also include Nehru Center, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Dadar-Matunga Cultural Centre (Mumbai); Saptak School of Music (Ahmedabad); Hirai Sangeet Mahotsav (Chandrapur); ICCR Theater and India Habitat Centre (Delhi); and JKK (Jaipur); and Pt Chatur Lal Festival (virtual). Phil is also a master jazz saxophonist and is featured on over 40 CDs/DVDs.

Pandit Arup Chattopadhyay

In this concert and workshop, Mr. Scarff collaborates with master musicians hailing from Kolkata, India, sitarist Anjan Saha and tabla maestro Arup Chattopadhyay. Saha and Chattopadhyay perform their traditional Indian instruments and meld seamlessly with Scarff’s nuanced Indian classical approach to the modern saxophone. Saha and Chattopadhyay have toured extensively in India, Europe, US, and beyond, delighting audiences with their exquisite performances.

Funding for this workshop and concert was provided by the Outreach Committee of the Reading Musical Foundation.

Anjan Saha



Sunday, October 9, 2:00 PM

WCR Center for the Arts

Open to: Instrumentalists and Vocalists (At least two years of study preferred)

Students of both vocal and instrumental music will be invited to a participatory workshop with Mr. Scarff and the musicians touring from India. This informative, entertaining, and engaging workshop promotes cultural awareness and understanding through the presentation of the musical perspectives of another culture. Musical concepts are reinforced through participation: Students clap and recite rhythms from and India; they sing and/or play an Indian raga (melodic framework) and composition. Scarff’s extensive experience in both Western music and jazz as well as Indian classical music allows him to bridge the gap between music and cultures.



Sunday, October 9, 4:00 PM

WCR Center for the Arts

Performances of North Indian classical music of this caliber in Berks County are rare. The concert promotes understanding of musical concepts and Indian culture through brief explanations presented by the performers throughout the concert. Scarff’s unique adaptation of Indian classical music to saxophone makes this concert more accessible to audiences inexperienced with Indian music and instruments.

About Reading Musical Foundation

RMF believes that every child who wishes to be a musician should have the opportunity to do so. In addition to building a lifelong appreciation of the arts, music teaches necessary skills that build creativity, discipline, self-perseverance, self-expression and teamwork. We also believe live music performance makes our community stronger by connecting individuals and making Greater Reading attractive to those in our region and beyond. Reading Musical Foundation is proud to be our community’s leader in music education, as well as the area’s largest supporter of scholarships and support for live music performance.

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