The energy behind MOHINYA is inspired by the Hindu goddess-enchantress, Mohini, and the Hindu word Shunya, meaning boundless. MOHINYA’S mission is to re-contextualize Western Classical Music so that its depth and emotional power can be better understood and received by a greater number of people, young and old alike. Because it is an art form so steeped in tradition and therefore easily viewed as non-progressive, classical music can often be completely overlooked or written off by the younger generation. MOHINYA represents the belief, however, that this music can be presented and given to an audience in a way that unmasks its stiff and staunch connotations and reveals more plainly the pure beauty and striking power inherent in its intricacy and gesture.
This vision is not loud or excessive or extravagant and in no way threatens the integrity of the music performed — quite the contrary, in fact. The idea is to create an experience that lets the music travel through the performers as we engage all of our senses, as well as those of the audience, in a full and immersive experience that allows for the unexpected; one that, without boundaries, lets us fully into the breath-thaking places that Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mozart, Bartók, their contemporaries and ours, can take us to.
MOHINYA'S first project, Western Classical UNBOUND, took place in June, 2014 and was funded in full by a kickstarter campaign. The project featured myself, violin, and Jillian Blythe, cello—coming together to explore a new perspective on the aesthetic of the classical string duo. This exploration took place over the course of three very intense weeks in Austin, TX. The project aimed to explore the naturalness of the body — that instinctual part of ourselves that is unconcerned with the mind's second guesses. Jillian and I employed minimal choreography and a heightened focus on the body as the vehicle responsible for the transference of energy, beauty, and gesture, as we moved with the audience through a continuous experience of movement, musical improvisation, Maurice Ravel's Duo for Violin and Cello, Zoltán Kodaly's Duo for Violin and Cello and two composed pieces. The show was uninterrupted by clapping and bowing between pieces. Throughout the performance, we focussed on the unique qualities of energy that we each innately possess. Both Jillian and I are of the conviction that by thoroughly feeling our own beings, we will more authentically pass energy between one another and therefore out to the audience.
Having trained rigorously in the traditional classical world since we were three years old, both Jillian and I agreed that this MOHINYA project was the most exhilarating thing that we have ever done, as we were freed to put a wider range of ourselves into the music that we feel so passionate about and to which we have devoted our entire lives.