Priyanka Venkatesh


For Priyanka, music, as artful vibration, is the essence of our existence, of which our heartbeat is the pulse. As an internationally performing artist, each performance is an opportunity to welcome her audience to remember the joy inherent in this truth.

     Originally a pre-medical student at Stanford University, Priyanka heeded her grandfather’s last words to her: the point of life?… to manifest your unique creative energy onto this earth; she switched her path to follow her passion, music, without looking back. 

     Priyanka’s original pre-medical path, however, was not completely dissociated from her purpose. She has always been fueled by the desire to serve. With a Doctorate (D.M.A) in Violin Performance from UCLA, and as a blend of various cultures, Indian and Western, she defines intercultural understanding, and spiritual uplift, so needed in current times, as the underlying purpose of her musical career and creative practice. She
aims to dismantle borders between musical forms and find resonance between cultures.

     As a Fulbright Scholar studying Indian classical music in India, she is versed in both Western and Indian classical music and is acutely aware of the ways a cultures music is a reflection of its ethos, and she revels in the opportunities music creates for cross-cultural communion. Through the initiative of the South Asian Symphony Foundation, founded by Ms. Nirupama Rao, (former Indian ambassador to the United States), she travels to India to foster peace in the region through musical performance.

      Her violin-piano duo, Duo Ánima, with pianist Valerie Stern provides a medium through which her vision of intercultural understanding may blossom. The Duo performs
music inspired by musical traditions from around the globe, and her own repertoire spans the entire world as well, including music inspired by the traditions of Spain to Hungary, Turkey to Iran, Argentina to India. In recital, she aims to not only perform, but to elaborate on just what makes these music unique…and alike. Her own compositions seek fluid intersections between Western and Indian classical music.   

      Priyanka’s scholarship seeks the same connections. Her dissertation, entitled Forging a More Perfect Union: A Journey Exoticism to Intercultural Synthesis of Indian and Western Art Music through Works for Violin, explores the practices of musical interculturalism, and seeks to promote diversity within the Western classical canon. She has presented her research at numerous forums, including for the Society for Music Theory and the American Musicological Society. 
     She has been a prizewinner numerous competitions, including at the International Piazzolla Music Competition 2021, and has received multiple scholarships and summer fellowships. She is indebted to her many wonderful violin mentors, including Scott St. John, Haroutune Bedelian, Movses Pogossian, Ivan Zenaty, and Midori.

     Experiencing the life-changing power of music firsthand, she is committed to arts education. She has taught for the summer course How Music Works at Stanford University and she volunteers her time assisting youth programs, such as Santa Ana Orange County Childrens Therapeutic Arts Center, and Leadership Education and Advancement Program at UCLA and most recently, Santa Ana Strings, and Musicians for the World, a non-profit providing virtual string education to students in disadvantaged, remote regions of the world, for which she has travels to South America for concerts and masterclasses.

     Most significantly, for her, music, as vibrational energy, has the power to uplift the human spirit out of the flesh.  Being firm in this knowledge is her greatest joy and deepest motivation.