Samia Mahbub Ahmad

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BIOGRAPHY

Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and currently a resident of Bethesda, Maryland (USA), Dr. Samia Mahbub Ahmad is a Hindustani (North Indian) classical vocal musician who has been studying, performing and teaching this ancient 5000

year-old genre of music of the Vedic times, in North America, South Asia and Southern Africa for the past two decades. She continues to practice this art form as: an independent artist; a Maryland Traditions Master of the Maryland State Arts Council; a member of the Artists and Scholars Roster of the Arts and Humanities Council of the Montgomery County; and as an arts-in-education consultant serving the DC metro areas and beyond.Samia has apprenticed with Grandmasters Sri Tapan Baidya, a pioneer of this genre in Bangladesh, and Vidushi Padma Shri (one of the highest recognitions from the government of India) Sumitra Guha in India. Samia has used her classical base to also specialize in Nazrul Sangeet (song compositions of the Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam), Bhajans, and New Age music, melding Hindustani classical music with contemporary melodies and rhythms of South Asia, South Africa, and the West.  She has expanded her collaborative work to combine vocal music with dance choreography and visual arts. Samia's performances and teaching explore the notions of spiritual unity in religions that share a common cultural base.Samia has apprenticed with Grandmasters Sri Tapan Baidya, a pioneer of this genre in Bangladesh, and Vidushi Padma Shri (one of the highest recognitions from the government of India) Sumitra Guha in India. Samia has used her classical base to also specialize in Nazrul Sangeet (song compositions of the Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam), Bhajans, and New Age music, melding Hindustani classical music with contemporary melodies and rhy

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Published Work:  Music albums

  • Srijana Chhande: A Tribute to Kazi Nazrul Islam (2003); internet release, 2010 as .mp3 downloads at  sites such as, iTunes; CD Baby; Amazon; Yahoo; emusic and more.
  • Forthcoming Album: “Braids”, an album that marries the sounds of traditional African instruments
     with Hindustani vocal music.
  • Forthcoming Album: “Rasneem”, a tribute to the new generation.

 Performances:

Samia has performed live and on TV in the US, South Africa, India, Bangladesh and in the process has received several awards and recognitions. 

  • Invited by James Madison University, Virginia, to perform at three events:

-          Honoring Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu on International Peace Day September 21,2007.

-          Honoring Nobel Laureate President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalyn Carter on International Peace Day, September 21, 2009. 

-          The Gandhi Statue Dedication Ceremony on the International Day of Nonviolence and the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; and honoring Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, October 2, 2008.

  • As a member of the Artists and Scholars Roster of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), Maryland, performed at the Magical Montgomery Festival, September 26, 2009; and the Amnesty International Human Rights Arts Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland, April 24, 2010.
  • Performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington DC, July 1, 2010.
  • Solo Classical Music Concert, Dhaka University Graduates Alumni Inc, (Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC) in Laurel, Maryland, November 13, 2010.
  • Solo and collaborative performances at the 31st, 32nd and 33rd Annual Washington Folk Festival, of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington at Glen Echo Park, Maryland, June 4, 2011, June 2, 2012 and June 2, 2013.
  • Invited to perform at the Creative Alliance at Baltimore as recipient (titled Maryland Traditions Master) of the Maryland Traditions Folk Arts and Culture Apprentice Award of the Maryland State Arts Council, June 10, 2010 and again on June 18, 2011.
  • Performed at Montpelier Arts Center Classical Recital, October 2, 2011 (as winner of the Montpelier Arts Center Classical Recital Competition).
  • At the Intersections 2012: A New America Arts Festival held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Washington DC, March 4, 2012, and again on February 23, 2013 at the Atlas Intersections Festival.
  • At the Strathmore Music-in-the-Mansion, Maryland, October 10, 2012.
  • Solo Hindustani Classical performance at the Bengali Performing Arts, in Scotland, United Kingdom, March 8, 2014.
  • Solo Hindustani Classical performances and workshops in Dhaka, Bangladesh: the Indira Gandhi Cultural Center, May 2013; BRAC University, August 5, 2013 Omni Performing Centre, August 5, 2006;
  • Solo concerts at Bangladesh High Commission: Washington DC, USA, October, 2012; New Delhi, India, September 2004; Pretoria, South Africa, February 1998.
  • Interviewed on Voice of America (global) (2010) and National Public Radio programs, Maryland, 2009, 2010.
  • Performs for the Dhaka University Graduates Alumni Inc. to create awareness of Bangladeshi culture among the Bangladeshi diasporas, including the new generation of Bangladeshi-Americans, and among non-Bangladeshis.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Performs regularly for community, educational and corporate organizations to help fundraise for humanitarian and community service causes. These include:

-          The Gandhi Center, Maryland
-          The Women's Committee of the Washington DC Performing Arts Society
-          SAMHATI, the only Bangladeshi Women’s organization in the United States, to support marginalized women and children in Bangladesh
-          Dhaka University Graduates Alumni Inc. to support women and children in Bangladesh
-          The Sunrise Senior Living Residents in Maryland
-          The University of Virginia, Charlottesville for child welfare and education in India
-          The World Bank, honoring UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Awards and Achievements:

  • Member of the Smithsonian Institute Asian/Asian-American artists’ panel.
  • Member of the Performing Artists’ Panel of the Strathmore Music Center, Maryland.
  • Recipient (titled Maryland Traditions Master) of the Maryland Traditions Folk Arts and Culture Apprentice Award, Maryland State Arts Council, 2010
  • Winner of the Montpelier Arts Center Classical Recital Competition, July 22, 2010.
  • Serves regularly on panels of judges for Hindustani music competitions at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
  • Serves regularly as a Grant panelist of the Maryland State Arts Council's Folk/Traditional Arts Grants Applications for Organizations, 2009 till current.
  • Member of the Artists and Scholars Roster of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions by the Dhaka University Graduates Alumni Inc. (Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC), December 4, 2010.
  • Arts-education consultant – County, State, National, International.
  • 1st position in Hindustani Classical Vocal Music category: MTNL Perfect Health Fair 2001 organized by the Heart Care Foundation of India, November 2001, Lal Qilla (Red Fort) Grounds, Delhi, India; the Annual Indian Music and Dance Competition organized by The Academy of Indian Music and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), 1993 and 1995.

 Music Teaching Experience:

Teaches Indian classical music in both the traditional ‘Master-Apprentice’ style as well as mainstream workshops and lecture-demonstration formats at schools (grades K-12), universities, libraries and community organizations in the Greater DC metro areas and beyond.

Audience/student diaspora:
-                         students of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
-                         students of the University of Maryland, College Park
-                         students of BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
-                         poetry groups of Freer & Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institute
-                         members of the Osher Life-long Learning Institute (OLLI) of the American University
-                         department of ethnomusicology, the American University
-                         yoga/meditation groups    
 
Education:
PhD in Sociology (specialization in Demography and Development), University of Maryland, College Park, USA (2005)
MA in Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, USA (1994)
BA (Honors) in Sociology, Dhaka University, Bangladesh (1990).
 
Affiliations:

  • National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA)
  • The Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
  • Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), Maryland
  • Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), Maryland
  • Strathmore Music Center, Maryland
  • Gandhi Memorial Center, Maryland
  • Mahatma Gandhi Center for Nonviolence, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • The Osher Life-long Learning Institute, the American University, Washington DC
  • Class Acts Arts Organization, Maryland
  • Dhaka University Graduates Alumni Inc. (Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC)
  • Bangladesh Association of America Inc. (Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC)
  • The Indira Gandhi Cultural Center, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

 

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Current Status:

Independent performing and teaching Classical Vocal Music Artist, and Ethno-musicologist. Lives in Maryland, USA with her husband (Sector Director at the World Bank) and two children. 

    Website: http://www.samiaclassicalmusic.com

 

 

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Some of the Videos of Samia