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Rajesh Mehta (born 1964 Calcutta, India) is an award-winning Indian-American performer, composer, artist and educator who has innovated several hybrid trumpets. He founded his innovative music platform “orka-m” (www.orka-m.com) dedicated to the production of interdisciplinary music and educational projects in collaboration with dance, architecture, theatre and film in India in 2006 and has been operating out of Singapore since 2009.
Mehta graduated from M.I.T. in Humanities and Engineering (with studies at U.C. Berkeley) in 1986. While simultaneously performing and studying music, Mehta worked in an acoustical engineering consulting company and taught math and sciences at all levels through his own company in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1987-1991. Mehta began his music career in 1991 in Switzerland and was first based in Amsterdam while touring as a soloist with French modern dance and innovative Indian dance companies (1992-1994), and the Appel Theatre (Den Haag, 1995) with his own commissioned music-dance-theatre production Monsoon (Melkweg, Amsterdam, 1998). During his subsequent seven-year residence in Berlin (1998- 2005) he released various CDs and DVDs as a trumpet player ensemble leader and composer, and also worked as a producer and curator at the House of World Cultures (Berlin) with awards leading him to Cork (Ireland) and Chennai (India). In 2012, he was one of the international guests for the Festival, ENCOUNTERS:INDIA in Brisbane, Australia.
Mehta performs with his hybrid trumpet innovation the “DRUMPET” has most recently created a new microtonal trumpet innovation in collaboration with a Singapore-based trumpet maker entitled the “ORKA-M Naga Phoenix Trumpet” and added this to his playing arsenal in Singapore in 2011. His music-artworks are a product of his longstanding search for an appropriate visual form to express an interdisciplnary and intercultural compositional and design vision.
Since 2000 he has been making music-artworks symbolzing the influence of other disciplines on his musical vision: dance, film, technology and architecture, such as his ongoing project “Sounding Buildings” in which he collaborated with Architect Steven Holl on a MIT Simmons Hall DVD project; lectured in the Design Seminar of Architect Daniel Libeskind in Karlsruhe (Germany); and was a guest professor for the Scenography Department at the Norwegian Theatre Akademie.
His methods, artworks, and ideas have been presented in the following publications: Notations 21 (Ed. Theresa Sauer, Thames and Hudson 2009), a book by the Daniel Libeskind Research Studio (Hochschule der Gestaltung, Karlsruhe 2010), Findings on Elasticity (Pars Foundation, Amsterdam 2010), The Leonardo Music Journal Beyond Notation (LMJ21 MITPress 2011).
He has had world premieres of “Sounding Buildings” live namely at the Glucksman Modern Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland in which he transformed the entire building into a resonant instrument using live music, projected still and moving images. The cultural influence on his work is also visible and palpable as in the Australian Aboriginal-Indian inspired hybrid works series entitled “Songlines’ Jewels”. Mehta’s visual work has been exhibited by Nature Morte, Delhi; Swiss Embassy, Delhi; and Apparao Galleries, Chennai. Since 2007 he has also been selling his visual work online through the Orka-M Gallery.