Star percussionist Zakir Hussain to perform in Waterman

On the last day of summer, a crowd of 3,500 gathered in Chicago’s Millennium Park for a concert by world music star Zakir Hussain. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, he will bring that critically acclaimed performance to Waterman Theatre of Tyler Hall at SUNY Oswego.

Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain.Master of the traditional Indian drums called tabla, Hussain began touring professionally at age 12. On his current tour, Hussain joins forces with rising young sitar player Niladri Kumar, an innovator on another ancient instrument.

Over a distinguished career, Hussain has been a leading proponent of Indian classical music, also engaging in imaginative collaborations with popular music figures from George Harrison to drummer Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. He is also in demand as a composer of movie soundtracks and dance scores.

Kumar, a West Bengali who is making his mark with young audiences, has worked with several Bollywood directors, and garnered an MTV Immie Award for Best Classical/Fusion Album.

In live performance, Hussain astounds listeners with his improvisational dexterity. “Close your eyes, and you would not believe that Hussain played only the tabla, a set of traditional hand drums that sounded transformed under his palms,” said critic Howard Reich after the outdoor show in Chicago. “Hussain crafted phrases the way a vocalist shapes melody lines.”

Global Awareness

The SUNY Oswego concert will kick off the annual Global Awareness Conference sponsored by the college’s Hart Global Living and Learning Center. The weekend of presentations, demonstrations and films is inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

The college’s Artswego Performing Arts Series and Office of International Education and Programs will present the concert, which is made possible by grants from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A free lecture/demonstration on the structure of Indian music will take place at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Waterman Theatre.

Tickets for the concert are $20 ($15 for seniors 60 and older and SUNY Oswego faculty and staff; $7 for students). Tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box office locations, online at or by calling 315-312-2141. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

For more information on SUNY Oswego arts events, visit

PHOTO CAPTION: Flying fingers—Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, who has collaborated with musicians from George Harrison to Van Morrison, will perform in concert with rising young sitarist Niladri Kumar at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, in SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre of Tyler Hall. Tickets are available at all SUNY Oswego box office locations, online at or by calling 312-2141. (Photo by Susan Millman)

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(Posted: Oct 21, 2010)

Tags: world awareness, hart hall, global awareness conference, artswego