Dr Tanya Ekanayaka is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning Sri Lankan-British contemporary virtuoso composer-pianist, and with a pioneering and expansive portfolio of published trans-genre compositions for solo piano to her name, both as composer and performer, one of the world’s most prolific female composer-pianists.
Classically trained and with a background in South Asian and world musics, she has a trans-disciplinary academic background in literature, linguistics, critical theory and musicology, as well as being a record producer. All her commercial releases to date have been produced by her.
Tanya Ekanayaka is also the first Sri Lankan composer, in history, to have entire albums of original music released globally by international record labels.
Composing exclusively for solo piano, and since comparatively recent years performing only her own music, Tanya Ekanayaka’s compositions are published in recorded format only. This is due to a distinguishing feature of her artistry, which is that her compositions are entirely unscored and instead reside naturally and precisely frozen in her memory once evolved.
Her compositions tell stories straddling the imagined and real. The various conceptual, structural and philosophical dimensions informing her artistry stem from her multifaceted background, multilingualism, ambidexterity and partial colour synaesthesia.
A lifetime of absorbing contrasting musical genres of her homeland, and those from around the globe, has meant that she is naturally inspired by a wide array of musical genres as well as being inspired by languages and the natural world.
Accordingly, Tanya Ekanayaka’s creative practice serves to expand the musical narrative of the piano across cultures, regions, and spaces mostly unassociated with the piano repertoire and consequently beyond its predominant geo-cultural roots – while simultaneously focusing on the beauty, inherent diversity, transience and fragility of life and the natural world.
Consistent with her transdisciplinary background, Tanya Ekanayaka holds a doctorate for cross-disciplinary research involving linguistics and musicology from The University of Edinburgh, as well as advanced academic and professional qualifications in music performance, linguistics and literature.
Her compositions have been featured across numerous international media and are often the first by any Sri Lankan composer to be performed at international venues.