He wouldn´t be the first one to be talented in a particular field and develop both skill and passion. Only to, at some point, leave it for a moment, broaden his horizon and gain (life) experience. Experience can be painful at times, but also very beneficial.
Unfortunate situations opened up his creative spirit and unleashed his musical talents once again. He came across a wide range of different music styles, genres and identities. Not only did he evolve as a solo classical sarod player, but also developed his music production skill, creating musical art like he was destined to do.
He didn’t really have to “learn” the art. Deriving from a multitalented and extremely creative family, it was no surprise he picked up musical skill in his preteen years. First, his dad, Ramdew Krishna, took him under his wing and he learned the basics of keyboards and piano.
At age 8, he got lessons in western classical music, playing the Cello, allowing him to perform alongside a Chamber Ensemble and Youth Orchestra. As young as he was, he realized there was a lot of room to play with and plenty more to discover. He got acquainted with Indian classical music, not in the last place due to his Indian origin.
His inspiration came from his cousin Siddharth Kishna, a well-known sitar artist. But it was the renowned Guru Sri Koustuv Ray who gave him lessons. Guru Koustuv Ray became his musical guide, inspirator, teacher and friend, while mastering the sarod.
At the age of 16 Avi was invited by his Guru to join the Rotterdam Conservatorium (CODARTS) in the Netherlands. A new faculty opened up which was right up his alley: Indian Classical Music. He passed the admitting exam resplendently and was the youngest student at the time. Avi was examined by all-time major Northern Classical Virtuoso Artist Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia amongst others. Recognizing his talent, Avi was asked by his father to be the music director and producer for an epic play in a theater production, Ramlila.
It was the first time ever Avi got familiar with the ins and outs of producing. And he was proud beyond limits, because his Guru took part in the production and sang to the music arranged by his student.
During this period, Avi performed as a sarod player at different stages, was interviewed for national TV on Indian Classical Music (Ohm TV), played live at national radio stations like Radio 1 and performed in different cities as a young actor in Hindustani folk theater plays.
After graduating, Avi decided to leave his music behind and pursue a career in business. He stated it was time to develop in a different way: corporate and more international. This literally didn’t go unrewarded. In a decade the entrepreneur grew to be a successful businessman, excelling on many levels while traveling the world and winning many awards like the Leadership Award, the Excellence in Leadership Award that same year, and Owner of the Year Award in 2008.
In 2005 Avi briefly returned to music. As part of an ensemble, he performed (next to Siddharth) at former queen Beatrix’ 25th anniversary.
It wasn’t until 2010, when confronted with drastic change in (personal) life he unfortunately had to close down his business and redefine himself again…
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This made way for music once again. He emerged as part of a new breed of music producers.
While developing music producing skills, he was able to publicly share his first tracks on YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and so on. And obviously it was only a matter of time for his first public sarod performance, after being absent for 7 years. This was also the year he landed an assignment, producing/remixing for a mega Bollywood event in Amsterdam. Ambitious as Avi is, he got his first assignment for national TV (Ohm TV, Holi-festival 2013). Shortly after, Avi and his music appeared in a Dutch feature Film, “Pijnstillers” (Carrie Slee).
As his skill, enthusiasm and professionalism didn’t remain unnoticed, more and more renowned artists got familiar with Avi and are eager to engage in various projects.
From 2014 till now he’s often seen on stage with various artists like his RaagMala Suite colleagues, Marynka Nicolai & Maxim Chapochnikov, ‘Awakening‘s‘ Entisar and Multidisciplinary artist Femi Dawkins aka Jimmy Rage, amongst others.
In the summer of 2017 Avi lost his ‘musical guide’ and Guru. Although Sri Koustuv Ray’s spirit remains amongst us, his body lost the battle against years of illness. While dealing with this big loss, Avi was granted to ‘take care’ of his Guru’s Sarod.
It is Avi’s mission now to keep the name of his Guru, Sri Koustuv Ray, alive and share his music with the world.