Tanya Ekanayaka - 'Concert' Pianist / Composer / Improviser / Musicologist / Linguist

Tanya Ekanayaka


Teaching & Research

  • Recording Artiste & Composer: Naxos Records (Grand Piano Label), August 2014 to Present.
  • Lecturer, Tutor & Pianoforte Performance Teacher (part-time): Department of Music, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, UK, September 2007 to Present.
  • Advisory Board Member: Brain Technology and Neuroscience Research Center (www.btnrc.org), June 2013 to Present.
  • Adjudicator: ‘Hong Kong Schools Music Festival’/HKSMA, Hong Kong, February-March 2011 & February-March 2016, GMC Music Competition, August 2016.
  • Lecturer in Linguistics: Department of English (Literature and Linguistics), University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, March 2005-2011.
  • Teaching Assistant: Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh, UK, September 2007-January 2011.
  • Lecturer: Translation Studies Programme, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, 2004-2011.
  • Assistant Lecturer: Department of English (Literature and Linguistics), University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, August 2003-March 2005.
  • Instructor: English Language Teaching Unit, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, April-August 2003.
  • Artistic Director of Pianoforte Performance: Department of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, 2000-2002.
  • Pianoforte Performance and Music Theory Teacher: Freelance, 1994 to Present.

Teaching & Examining at University Level

Undergraduate Courses and Modules
  • Music Performance Seminar - Music Faculty, University of Southampton, UK. (18/04/2016)
  • Recital/Performance Seminar - Music Faculty, Otani University, Sapporo, Japan. (21/05/2015)
  • Music Performance Seminar - Music Faculty, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. (29/04/2014)
  • Composition 1 – The University of Edinburgh (UK) BMus core course.
  • Performance & Keyboard Skills – The University of Edinburgh (UK) BMus core course.
  • Style Studies - The University of Edinburgh BMus core course - Using composers as models (for example the Inventions of J.S. Bach and the String Quartets of Haydn) the course introduces students to harmonic functionality, the contrapuntal relationship between voices, textures and techniques of instrumental writing.
  • Inventing 1 – The University of Edinburgh BMus core course – 2012 & 2013 - responsibilities included structuring, co-ordinating and delivering the lectures for this course.
  • Project Week 1 for Semester 1 – The University of Edinburgh BMus module – 2012 & 2013- responsibilities included structuring and co-ordinating the module.
  • Pianoforte Performance - The University of Edinburgh BMus students: responsibilities include developing individualized lesson plans, coaching students specialising in pianoforte performance and evaluating student progress. The aim is to help develop students' piano technique, widen their repertoire and facilitate their overall understanding of musical interpretation.
  • 'Performance seminar' – The University of Edinburgh BMus students. The focus of the seminar was on the challenges facing the contemporary 'classical' musician in a globalised world where musical genres no longer occupy the insular identities that they once seemingly did.

The University of Peradeniya & The University of Edinburgh

  • Music in Film - An Introduction
  • Sounds and Words: the phonology and morphology of English
  • The Sounds of English
  • Word Structure in English
  • Sentences and Beyond: English: syntax and figurative language
  • Sentence Structure in English
  • Figurative Language
  • Introduction to Variation in English
  • Dialectology and Variety Studies
  • Scots and Scottish Standard English
  • Sociolinguistics and (North American) English
  • Structured Variation
  • Introduction to the History of English
  • Introduction to the History of English
  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • Later History of English
  • Introduction to the History of Scots
  • Academic writing skills
  • Introduction to the Study of English
  • English Language- Development, Syntax, Phonology and Phonetics and Sociolinguistics
  • The Emergence of English and its Development
  • The place of English in the World
  • Some Ideological Loadings of English
  • English in its Historical context
  • A Survey of British Poetry from 1558-1775
  • The English Language and Society
  • Applied Linguistics: The Learning and Teaching of Languages
  • Topics in the Study of Language
  • Twentieth Century Literature(s) in English
  • Topics in Modern and Post Modern Comparative Literature
  • Ballet – An Introduction
Graduate Courses and Modules
  • The Structure of Language - Translation Studies Programme - University of Peradeniya.
  • Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics - Translation Studies Programme - University of Peradeniya.
  • Discourse and Text Analysis - Translation Studies Programme - University of Peradeniya.
  • Language Mixing in Music - 'Master of Science' (MSc) Linguistics programme - University of Edinburgh.

Outreach Work

Tanya Ekanayaka Music Composition Project

Founded in 2012 by Dr. Tanya Ekanayaka, this music composition project included full and half day workshops held annually to help war-affected and impoverished youth articulate their thoughts and experiences creatively through collective musical invention and performance. All the workshops were conducted by Tanya Ekanayaka on a voluntary basis. The techniques used were developed by her and draw on her multidisciplinary training and extensive experience as a concert composer-pianist, linguist, and musicologist.

2014: The series of full-day music composition workshops for 2014 included participants from schools located in the following northern, north-western and southern Sri Lankan districts: Jaffna, Killinochchi, Negombo, Puttalum, Chillaw and Hambantota. Overall, the workshops were attended by nearly 800 school children from across the country, nearly twice the anticipated turnout. Around 90% of the workshops were sponsored by The University of Edinburgh, UK. The ground level organisation of the workshops in Jaffna and Killinochchi were handled by dedicated volunteers of a non-governmental and non-profit organisation while similarly dedicated groups of volunteers facilitated the workshops in the other regions. All participants were provided with free meals and transport. As part of the continuing development of this project, this year 5 students from 5 schools in Sri Lanka’s northern districts of Jaffna and Killinochchi were awarded scholarships enabling them to study music composition with Tanya Ekanayaka for a period of 1 year.

Click here for gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media/set /?set=a.10152431042297897.1073741829 .663402896&type=1&l=c811e92c8a

Media focus on the workshops:

BBC World Service (Radio)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/sri_lanka/2014 /09/140901_tanya_music_project.shtml

BBC World Global Television


BBC Radio 3 Asian Network

https://soundcloud.com/grandpianorecords /tanya-ekanayaka-bbc3-asian-network-interview-20150415

2013 – Tanya Ekanayaka conducted a series of music workshops in Sri Lanka’s northern districts of Jaffna and Killinochchi ravaged by war for over 30 years and also extended her work to incorporate school children from impoverished schools in other regions of Sri Lanka, journeying over ten hours by road to one of the country’s remotest schools in the southern district of Hambantota. The workshops were organised by a non-profit non-governmental organisation. Around 140 school children from eight schools in the northern district of Jaffna participated in a two-day workshop by Tanya Ekanayaka held in Jaffna while nearly 170 school children and teachers from ten schools in the Killinochchi district participated in her workshop held in the northern district of Killinochchi. Similarly, all the children of the school which Tanya Ekanayaka visited in the country’s southern district of Hambantota totalling 103 children, their teachers and even parents attended the event. A few children of this school were awarded scholarships which will cover their full education until they leave school and the school was also gifted a range of new musical instruments for a complete school band, all of which were sponsored by the organisation which organised the workshops.

Click here for gallery: https://www.facebook.com/media /set/?set=a.10152223779927897.1073741827 .663402896&type=1&l=39f800064c

Media focus on the workshops:

BBC World Service (Radio)

 In 2013, one of Tanya Ekanayaka’s full day music workshops held in Jaffna was attended by a BBC correspondent where some of the participants & school teachers at the workshop, volunteer organisers as well as Tanya Ekanayaka were interviewed. A special documentary about the workshops including these interviews was subsequently broadcast on BBC World Service (radio) in 2013 as part of a news feature. The BBC also broadcast a few short interviews with Tanya Ekanayaka about the project and its purpose just prior to the workshops.

August, 2012 - 'A Moment Of Healing For Us, All Through Music...' - A music performance and composition workshop held in Sri Lanka's war ravaged northern region for school children and teachers from schools across the region's Jaffna and Killinochchi districts as well as from the surrounding islands.

Media focus on the workshop:

Academic Awards and Distinctions

  • Innovation Initiative Grant awarded by the University of Edinburgh, UK for further development of Tanya Ekanayaka’s music composition project in Sri Lanka, 2014.
    (See ‘Outreach Work’ above for further details about the project)
  • Doctoral Research Grant awarded by the National Centre for the Advancement of Studies in Humanities and Social Science - University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka, 2009-2011.
  • 'The Ailie Donald Bursary for English Language' - University of Edinburgh, UK, 2008.
  • 'The Principal's Sri Lankan Scholarship' for an MSc degree– University of Edinburgh, UK, 2006-2007.
  • MSc (Linguistics and English Language) - University of Edinburgh UK– Awarded a distinction mark for research thesis, 2006-2007.
  • American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (AISLS) annual research grant for research on bilingualism in Sri Lanka, 2005.
  • Univesity awards for best results (3 A's and 2 B's including an 'A' for mathematics) at end of 1st year examination for BA English (Honours) degree, 2000.
  • 1. Professor Ashley Halpe Scholarship for English
    2. Pettah Library Prize for English
    3. Leigh Smith Memorial Prize for English

Selected Publications, Invited Talks & Conference Presentations

  • 'English in Sri Lanka' (forthcoming) In Bolton, K. and Kirkpatrick, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Asian Englishes. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Lecture recital – Otani University, Japan (21/05/2015).
  • Invited Speaker – Talk Title – ‘The Mono-modality of Multilingualism in Music: Music Composition and Perception’ - Department of Applied Linguistics, Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Pennsylvania, USA. (18/04/2014).
  • PhD Thesis: 'Theorising the Practice of Language-Mixing in Music: An Interdisciplinary (Linguistic and Musicological) Investigation of Sri Lanka's Leading Genre of Contemporary Popular Song and its Community'. 2011. LINK TO THESIS ABSTRACT
  • Contested Spaces: Sinhala ethnicity and Sri Lankan identity in Post 1998 'Leading' Sri Lankan Contemporary Popular Song (98+LSLPS)'. Linguistics and English Language postgraduate conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2009.
  • Debating Meaning as blurring boundaries kaleidoscopes birth…: codeswitching: Sinhala(s): Sri Lankan: Englishes: Music!'- Linguistics and English Language postgraduate conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2008.
  • MSc Thesis: 'Re-visioning Directionality: From (Switching/Mixing) Codes To--'. 2007.
  • The Compoundability of Phrases? The Phrasability of Compounds?: Predictions for English/es,' Sri Lanka Journal of Humanities Vol. XXXIII 2007 Nos.1 and 2.pp.49-56. CLICK HERE FOR ARTCLE
  • Some Perspectives on the Phonology of Lankan English: Accent in Song' International Conference of SAARC Writers and Critics, University of Peradeniya, 2005.
  • BA Thesis: 'Some Perspectives on the Phonology of Lankan English: Accent in Song'. 2003.