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Dinuk Wijeratne

Nova Scotia, CA   

Composer-performer DINUK WIJERATNE has been described by the New YorkTimes as ‘exuberantly creative’, and by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, Tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004 as a composer, conductor, and pianist, performing with Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. A second Carnegie appearance followed in 2009, alongside tabla legend Zakir Hussain. Dinuk has also appeared at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opera Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York),Sri Lanka, across the Middle East, and debuted at the Berlin Philharmonie and North Sea Jazz Festival in a collaborative recital ofentirely original works with acclaimed clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, with whom Dinuk released his first album entitled ‘Complex Stories, SimpleSounds’.

Dinuk grew up in Dubai before taking up composition studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, UK. In 2001, he was invited by Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano to join his studio at New York’s Juilliard School. Dinuk’s Chamber Concerto ‘AboutSankhara’ (2003) was commissioned by the New Juilliard Ensemble and was the first work by a Sri Lankan composer to be performed at Lincoln Center. Dinuk was also composition fellow at the 2002 Pacific MusicFestival in Sapporo, Japan, and was appointed Artist-in-Residence by the Performing Arts Foundation at International House for the 2003/4 season. Conducting studies followed at New York’s Mannes College of Music.

Dinuk has composed specially for almost all of the artists and ensembles with whom he has performed; to name a few: Suzie LeBlanc, Kinan Azmeh, Tim Garland, John Dankworth, Nikki Iles, JulianArgüelles, Victor Mendoza, Buck 65, Skratch Bastid, Joseph Petric, Ed Thigpen, Pandit Ramesh Misra, Adrian Spillett, David Jalbert, Kevork Mourad, Mayookh Bhaumik, Yolande Bavan, Christina Courtin, MIR, Afiara String Quartet, Cecelia String Quartet, Apollo Saxophone Quartet, 4-Mality Percussion Quartet, the NY Kathak Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Onelight Theatre, and Symphony Nova Scotia. 

A passionate educator, Dinuk lectures at the universities of Dalhousie and Acadia, and is returning for his eighth season as Music Director of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. He has conducted the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Scotia Festival Orchestra, and appeared numerous times with Symphony Nova Scotia during his 3-year appointment as Conductor-in-Residence. He is the recipient of the Canada Council Jean-Marie Beaudet award for orchestral conducting; a NS Established Artist Award; a NS Masterworks nomination for his 2011 Tabla Concerto; double Merritt Award nominations; Juilliard and Mannes scholarships; two Countess of Munster composition grants; the Sema Jazz Improvisation Prize; the Soroptimist International Award for Composer-Conductors; and the Sir John Manduell Prize – the RNCM’s highest student honor. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.