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October 9, 2000

Visiting physicist will perform a concert of sitar music at Porter College

By Tim Stephens

Gaurang Yodh, a professor of physics at the UC Irvine, is both an expert in high-energy physics and a highly accomplished sitar player. When Yodh visits UCSC this week, he will perform a public concert of sitar music in addition to delivering a talk at the Physics Department's weekly colloquium.

The concert will take place at the Porter College Provost's House at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 12. Yodh will be accompanied on tabla by Anup Patel. The event is free and open to the general public.

From the age of nine, Yodh studied sitar for ten years as a Shagrit of Ustad Mohammed Khan Beenkar. Being a Shagrit involves total immersion in music study with the maestro. Yodh has performed extensively in the United States, starting with programs at the University of Chicago (1948-54) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1955).

His recordings include two releases on the Westminster label (1956) that were among the first recorded presentations of Indian music in the United States. In addition, he composed the background music for the award-winning documentary Future of Ram by Phillips Foster.

Before joining the faculty at UC Irvine, Yodh was a professor of high-energy physics at the University of Maryland, where he was also an instructor of the sitar in the Music Department. His sitar concerts and a course he offered in Indian classical music performance on the sitar helped launch the University of Maryland's ethnomusicology program.

Tabla player Anup Patel is a longtime student of Pandit Nayan Ghosh of Bombay. He is also the owner of Quik Print in Santa Cruz.

In addition to the concert, Yodh will be giving a talk at the UCSC Physics Colloquium at 4 p.m. in Thimann 1 Lecture Hall on Thursday, October 12, on "High-energy Physics at Chicago--The Fermi Years."

Yodh was a graduate student at the University of Chicago during the period after World War II when the field of high-energy physics was in its infancy. Chicago physicists led by Enrico Fermi made many exciting discoveries during this exceptionally glorious time in the history of physics.

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