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Rajesh Mehta

Rajesh Mehta – Rajesh K. Mehta (1)
First at Khoj
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Rajesh Mehta, born in Kolkata, India in 1964 and raised in the USA, graduated from MIT in 1986 with a degree in Humanities and Engineering, and pursued music studies with Anthony Braxton at Mills College. Simultaneously, he worked in Engineering Acoustics in San Francisco. Since 1991, Mehta has professionally traversed the global music scene, calling Europe (Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich), Asia (Chennai, Mumbai, Singapore), and currently Duisburg, Germany, his creative hubs. Mehta, is a pioneering trumpet innovator, composer, and artist. Leveraging his Engineering skills, Mehta created innovative hybrid trumpets like the “Drumpet” in Amsterdam and the microtonal “Naga Phoenix” in Singapore.

Mehta’s collaborations span a range of musical genres, featuring outstanding musicians globally, including improvising German drummer Paul Lovens (Hatology CD Orka), Sri Lankan Contemporary music Cellist Rohan de Saram (Sounding Buildings DVD), and South Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran (Innovative Music Meeting CD). Notable awards include the Eloranta award from MIT, an Irish Arts council award for collaboration in Ireland, multiple compositional development awards from Musikfonds e.v. Berlin, and a Senior Creative Arts Fellowship Award from the American Institute of Indian studies for work in Chennai, India, guided by Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam. Mehta has also worked extensively with contemporary dance including with renowned choreographers Sasha Waltz in Berlin and Mumbai and Dominique Petit in France. In 2023, Mehta released the CD ‘Malagasy Breath’ and the Vinyl EP ‘Naga 7’ on Subcontinental Records. ‘Naga Red,’ a solo from the EP, is featured in a music video directed by Suhfecto and showcased in Rolling Stone magazine. In 2024, a podcast interview with T.L. Mazumdar on explored Mehta’s unique life trajectories.

Mehta’s connection to architecture inspires his graphical drawings, serving as the foundation for compositions performed globally. These drawings underpin his “Sounding Buildings” productions, integrating unique architectural acoustics, moving musicians, and projected images. Premieres occurred at Glucksman Art Gallery, University of Cork, Ireland (2005), New Music and Theater Festival Rümlingen, Switzerland (2006), and the “Liquid Architecture” Festival in, Hong Kong (2014). Collaborating with architect Steven Holl in 2002, Mehta contributed to a MIT Simmons Hall DVD project and lectured in architect Daniel Libeskind’s Design Seminar at HfG Karlsruhe. His visual work is featured in publications “Notations 21”(Thames and Hudson ), “Beyond Notation” (Leonardo Music Journal, MIT Press ) and has been exhibited in galleries such as Nature Morte, Delhi, and Apparao Galleries, Chennai as well as currently in the online gallery the Artling, Singapore. Mehta’s work has been featured in interviews in the book “Sound Practices in the Global South” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) and the online magazine T.I.P. (Thinking in Practice, 2019) by the London based Balmond Studio.