Arts Council of Sri Lanka
State Music Advisory Board

State Music Advisory Board is established for the purpose of advising and assisting the Arts council on the general advancement of the Sri Lankan Music and to support a vibrant community of composers, musicians and singers, music groups and organizations so that the public can experience the highest standard of Music in Sri Lanka. Arts Council and Music Panel support all kinds of musical genres to meet the needs of artists and to make music accessible to everyone.

Panel Profile

GAYATHRI KHEMADASA
Chair Person

Gayathri Khemadasa, musician and composer, studied in Prague and performed in Europe and North America, was given a Fulbright Professional Scholar award to write the opera Phoolan Devi, which was premiered at Wesleyan University, US. Excerpts of the opera were also performed in Canada and in UK. She was invited to do master classes at Dartmouth College and Cal State.

She is the director of the Khemadasa Foundation, which gives musical education to undeprivilaged children in Sri Lanka and it was founded by her father, the composer Premasiri Khemadasa. Some of her other works include 'When Caged Birds Sing' a gallery performance which incorporates poetry, music, singing and drama to talk about equality and to open the space between the spectator and the performer where they both become one.

Her other works include 'Conversations with a fence'. She has also won awards for Best Original Score for the film 'Between Yesterday and Tomorrow' and in doing so, became the first female composer


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LAKSHMAN JOSEPH DE SARAM
Member

Founder, Concertmaster & Artistic Director; Lakshman Joseph de Saram is a professional classical musician and an award winning film composer who is well-known for his masterpieces both locally and internationally. A veteran of over 800 concerts and a passionate advocate of chamber music, he is best known internationally for his score for the star-studded film "Bel Ami", a score that he co-wrote with Academy award winner Rachel Portman, and which was nominated by critics as one of the 50 best Hollywood soundtracks written over the last five years, making it onto the world's leading soundtrack labels Varese Saraband's 2014 35th Anniversary Box Set. His most recently concluded film, the French produced "Dark in the White Light" directed by Vimukthi Jayasundera was an official selection and in-competition at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, in August 2015. Lakshman was born in Colombo and educated at the Royal College, Colombo, the High School of Performing Arts, Manhattan Scho


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NAWARATHNA GAMAGE
Member

Navarathna Gamage’s professional career in music began as a‘Nurthi Gee’ singer has come to the full circle with him emerging as a most sought after musician for creations in different media. As he is popular now known in the field of music has thus covered all media in composing music for stage dramas, tele-dramas, films, documentaries, commercials, radio jingles, audio CDs and conducted orchestra for concerts etc. In over two decades he has reached the top in the field of music enthralling millions of fans. Navarathna Gamage’s musical guru was Maestro B. Victor Perera, under whom he had his professional training. He had the good fortune to associate with the modern guru of Sinhala theater; Professor Sarachchandra and be a member of his troupe as an actor and a singer in ‘Maname’, ‘Sinhabahu’ and many other productions. He had short stints of training under leading musical personalities like Pandith Amaradewa and Dr. Premasiri Kemadasa. Presently he has music directed over 120 tele-dr


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HARSHA MAKALANDE
Member

Veteran jazz pianist and award winning composer, Harsha Makalande who is also the great grandson of the influential Sri Lankan playwright; John De Silva, is a legendary musician in Sri Lanka who is interested in creating an identifiable 'Sound of music' in the sphere of Sri Lankan serious music. Harsha has drawn on western and Indian classical music, jazz, Sri Lankan folk song and popular music to compose music for performance and films. After leaving Ananda College in 1976, Harsha entered the professional world of music in Sri Lanka and studied music under the veteran jazz pianist Cecil Rodrigo. He played for bands such as “Pioneers”, “Arabesque”, and “Amazing Grace” in his initial years and created his fusion music group KHROME; an orchestra with a repertoire of classical, pop, jazz, fusion and oriental music, in 1988. They have performed in many significant venues in overseas such as ZDF in Germany, The Tokyo Opera City in Japan, Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Jazz Yatra f


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B. R. DASSANAYAKE
Member

B. R. Dassanayake is the Head of the Music Department of the Visual and Performing Arts University. He is a Senior Lecturer and has worked at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Since he had an understanding about the vitality of both classical and western music contribution for the local music field he took the initiative and founded the Western Music Department of the Visual and Performing Arts University with the aim of building a generation of teachers, music composers and individuals who embody the passion to experiment in music and take it to a new level. During his stint as the section head he brought the genres of music as a secondary subject and began with the piano, classical guitar and violin, and it expanded through the years and the department now teaches students to handle the western violin, flute, saxophone, clarinet, cello, viola, classical and flamenco guitar. Vocal training is also a part of the subject.


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AMARANATH RANATUNGE
Member

Renowned Guitarist and Music educationist Amaranath Ranatunge started his music career in 1964. He studied Classical Guitar from the American classical guitarist Mervyn sanders and Indrani Silva and Flamenco Guitar from the Mexican flamenco guitarist, Fredric Bruno in 1977. He is the first Sri Lankan to lecture the Classical and Flamenco Guitar in a university and also he is the first Asian to develop a syllabus for Classical & Flamenco Guitar for a four year BA Degree (Bachelor of Performing Arts) at the University of the Visual Performing Arts, Colombo 7. He has performed solo and together with his students in many countries and has also written several books on guitar and music in Sinhala namely ‘Wadakayaku Bihiwima’ (Birth of a musician). Amaranath has shared his vast scope of knowledge with the music enthusiasts by releasing 4 CDs throughout the period of 2007 – 2018, out of which the latest is, 'Yours way' which was released in February 2018.


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NILAR N. CASSIM
Member

Nilar N. Cassim is a reputed and prominent Sinhala announcer, media personality, lyricist, author, translator, poet and lecturer, who has immensely contributed towards the arts and culture of Sri Lanka throughout a 25 years of time. Well-known as the one and only Sri Lankan Muslim who holds a Sinhala Special Degree (From the University of Sri Jayawardenepura) and a Masters in Sinhala (from the University of Kelaniya), his role in the sphere of literature and lyric writing is significant and widely acclaimed by both local and foreign scholars and masses. He wrote his first song Samanalun Rodak for Malini Bulathsinghala and to date he has written around 700 lyrics to many senior as well as modern vocalists such as Bhathiya and Santhush, Centigrades and Ravi Hansz. Nilar has written lyrics for many recent Sinhala films and his latest is Ahasin Eha for the film Adaraniya Kathawak. He has contributed to the Sri Lankan literature by producing three books on lyrics, two classical books and t


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VISHNU VASU
Member

I was born to a simple farming family in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Grew up in the village chasing buffalos and playing drums on tree trunks. I dreamed of going to America to study film at the New York Film Academy, to dine with Robin Williams, to go to a sex shop and to ride in a tram to Castro. I tried a zillion times but failed. Frustrated to the very atom of my being, I finally left for India. In India, I studied Broadcast Journalism and South Indian percussion. I traveled around the world to perform and to share stories. Studied at two prestegious music schools Los Angeles Music Academy and Stanford university. Coming home, I joined McCann Erickson as a copywriter. Later I “retired hurt” after fourteen years of contributing to create a greed-based society. And then, I embarked on my documentary filmmaking journey. In 2011 I released my first full-length documentary film titled GANDHI’S CHILDREN. And my last is a film on child soldiers of Sri Lanka’s 30-year-old war titled BUTTERFLY....


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SHRI ARUNANTHY AARURAN
Member

Shri Arunanthy Aaruran is a leading exponent in the Carnatic Music field in Sri Lanka, who is characterized by a distinct style of his own. He began his musical journey as toddler during his preliminary education in Jaffna with the guidance of excellent gurus. Then he proceed to Annamalai University in India to pursue higher education in music where he was under the purview of renowned musicians such as O. S. Thyagarajan , Shri Govindarajan and Smt. Vasundara Nanjudan for over three years. He was further groomed in the Carnatic music field by exponents Sri Rajam Iyer, Dr. N. Ramanathan, Dr. S.A.K.Durga, Dr. S. Jeyalakshmi & Dr. (Smt) Premila Gurumoorthy, who was the head of the department during his time of education. He evolved to this present style under the guidance and membership of his guru the legendary O. S. Thyagarajan to achieve this level of proficiency. After completion of his studies, Shri Aaruran possesses a degree in Carnatic (B.Music) from the Annamalai University and..


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