Tanya to create musical history

London’s renowned St. Martin-in-the-Fields will for the first time in its long history play host to a Sri Lankan pianist

Sri Lankan pianist Tanya Ilangakkone-Ekanayaka will be giving a solo piano recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, one of the premier international classical music venues in the world as part of its Pianists of the World series in July. She is the first Sri Lankan to give a solo piano recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Her programme includes Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No. 7 in E flat major, BWV 852, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, Op. 28 (Pastoral), Jeux d'eau by Ravel and concludes with the world premiere of her own composition, Adahas: of Wings of Roots.

Founded by Dame Myra Hess, Pianists of the World is one of the longest running recital series of St Martin-in-the-Fields. The series aims to showcase outstanding pianistic talent from across the globe. The musical history of St Martin-in-the-Fields stretches back from performances by Handel and Mozart through to the founding of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields by Sir Neville Marriner in the 1950s.

St Martin's continues regularly to host some of the great names in classical music including James Bowman, Sir James Galway, Sir Neville Marriner, Dame Emma Kirkby, Ton Koopman, Stephen Layton, Robert Tear and Raphael Wallfisch and ensembles including the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Holst Singers and Vasari Singers.

Tanya began studying the piano at the age of five, made her first public recital appearance at the age of twelve and has since performed widely as a soloist and accompanist. In Sri Lanka, she studied the piano under the tutelage of her mother and later with Bridget Halpe. She is a Fellow of the Trinity College of London (FTCL), a Licentiate of the Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music (LRSM), and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (LGSMD), which awarded her the Professional Performer's Diploma (PPD) upon graduating with distinction.

At 16, Tanya was the youngest competitor and joint winner of the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka's Concerto Competition (Pianoforte) and later performed Mozart's Piano Concerto K.488 with the same orchestra. Tanya gave her debut solo piano recital in 2002. Her final recital in Sri Lanka before moving to the UK, upon being awarded the University of Edinburgh Principal's Scholarship for postgraduate studies in Linguistics, was as soloist with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka where she performed Schuman's Piano Concerto in A Minor Op.54 in 2005.

Her doctoral research is multi-disciplinary involving both Linguistics and Music. Tanya has also performed for the Edinburgh Society of Musicians and at other venues in the city. Forthcoming recitals include a solo piano recital organized by the University of Edinburgh at its Reid Concert Hall later this year. Improvising through conjoining tonal and (typically 'non-western') a-tonal musical styles is among Tanya's stronger pianistic interests.

Speaking from Edinburgh University, Tanya said, “I feel honoured and am deeply grateful to the series’ organizers for inviting me to perform at this prestigious and historic venue.”

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