WOW | In Focus

Gharana Music Foundation: “Music does not change the world; it changes people who change the world” – Paul Cesarczyk

Text by: Priya Kabo

Having graduated as a classical guitarist from the Manhattan School of Music, Daniel Linden began regularly visiting Nepal and getting involved in various music projects. By 2015, Daniel was living full time in Nepal with his wife. It was during this time that Daniel, a Western Classical musician, saw that there was a large void in this genre of music in Nepal. He encountered students that had great interest in learning and pursuing classical music, but had no idea where and how to begin.

The Gharana Music Foundation (GMF) was started to fill this void, and expand classical music education in Nepal. GMF strives to create exposure of high quality classical music by bringing in world renowned classical musicians to teach master classes and workshops, along side with local musicians, eastern traditional musicians and folk musicians to students and interested participants in Nepal during their annual musical festival. GMF also focuses on developing sustainable music education programs that allow underprivileged youth an opportunity to learn more about classical music as well as music from around the world.

GMF has been providing classical guitar classes to children residing with Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), a residential home for kids of incarcerated parents who were rescued from growing up behind prison walls.

AdhishreeDhungana, a music student and a member of the all girls band, the JOTs, has been teaching students at ECDC classical guitar along with Daniel. When asked about what has been the best part of working at GMF, she responds “The change that I have seen from day one of our musical classes till the children performing at the annual musical festival as an ensemble has been so rewarding. The children have not only learned how to play an instrument but they have a new found confidence. They have a desire to learn and know more, they ask more questions and they take more initiative. The children are a joy to teach, and they are really good!”

GMF emphasises not only exposure of classical music by teaching children the classical guitar, but really focuses on high quality exposure. GMF made sure to use the best and most extensive classical music curriculum, setting a solid foundation for their classes with the help of Austin classical guitars. GMF is expanding the classes that are being taught at the ECDC by teaching new classical instruments such as the violin and later on will teach piano as well. In the near future, they hope to provide classes to anyone interested in learning.

Jeny Shrestha, Managing Director for GMF and Festival Coordinator, talked about how CNN hero Pushpa Basnet welcomed GMF into the ECDC, stating that these music lessons were the best therapy for her kids, as she believes that art can truly change lives. The kids get an opportunity to take ownership of their work and be a part of a great form of art, also teaching them the importance of team work.

Kashish Das Shrestha, a founding board member, highlighted that listening to classical music can make one smarter: that studies have found that, while you get the most cognitive benefits from learning to play classical music, even listening to classical music can have some benefits on the brain. Benefits such as improved memory and learning. Adding that classical music in Nepal has had a significant history, from the time of the first radio channels, live orchestras were used as music sound tracks in radio programs. The Nepal Army’s orchestra has also been a significant body of the presence of classical music in Nepal.

In the short time that GMF have hosted its annual music festival, the amount of international and national musicians that have the highest caliber in their field as participants has been astounding. This year’s artist lineup for the festival will not disappoint. GMF plans to expand its musical reach, and what better way than to have an amalgamation of the best classical musicians – local and international – to kick start the festival at the temple in Janakpur. This concert will feature the MINAP Ensemble, Kutumba and Boyd Meets Girl – a definite feast for the ears, and with free entry to this concert, one can see how GMF embodies its musical mission.

The Gharana Music Foundation has quickly set itself as a leading organisation for the education and exposure of classical music in Nepal as well as creating relevant and meaningful opportunities for individuals and communities to engage in musical traditions from around the world.

For more information on how to register for the Grahana Musical Festival 2017 please visit their website The festival begins on the October 25 in Janakpur and will continue in Kathmandu in different locations. Master classes and workshops are open to all.
Tickets are available at Around the Corner (Bansbari), Le Sherpa (Maharajgunj), Yamaha Music Nepal (Naxal), Himalayan Java outlets, Café Soma (Baluwatar and Patan).