Based in Los Angeles, CA
“I write music to try to understand the unknowable, to grapple with ideas too large to put into words, to bring people together by reminding us of the things we hold in common. Nowhere have I found as much inspiration for this as in the wilderness, where the scale, beauty and inescapably visceral nature of the world remind us how insignificant we are within the larger universe.”
Described as “radiant and transcendent” by New Classic LA, the music of Juhi Bansal takes its inspiration from a disparate set of elements. As an Indian composer brought up in Hong Kong, her work draws subtly on those traditions, entwining them closely and intricately with the gestures of western classical music. Her work features themes celebrating musical and cultural diversity, nature and the environment, and strong female role models.
Current projects include We Look to the Stars, a full-length cantata for soloists and chorus commissioned by LA Opera, celebrating the diversity of the human experience through stories from different cultures about the night sky; and Enchantress of Numbers, an opera about Ada Lovelace, daughter of infamous poet Lord Byron and a 19th Century pioneer in computing. Recent seasons have included commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Beth Morrison Projects, New York Virtuoso Singers, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, AIDS Quilt Songbook 20th Anniversary project and more.
Her music is regularly performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia and available on the Naxos, Albany and Roven Records labels. Awards received for her work include prizes from the Five Colleges New Music Festival Competition, ASCAP Lotte Lehman Foundation Art song Competition, Boston Metro Opera International Composers Competition, and multiple ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer awards.
A conductor as well as composer, she has been awarded fellowships by the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera, the Atlantic Music Center, Seasons Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival Composer’s Symposium, and the Pacific Music Festival. She frequently premieres the work of other composers and accompanies singers at the piano. She is currently on the composition and core music faculty of Pasadena City College.
Wings (2007) for piano trio. Performed by Pasha Tseitlin, violin; David Meyer, cello; Nicolas Gerpe, piano. Learn more about this piece.
“Wings is a trio for violin, cello and piano, built around the image of a solitary bird flying through a rain-filled sky in the Sierra Nevada. This performance excerpt – the final movement from the larger three movement work – explores the shapes of wind in dramatic gusts expanding from unisons over an unsettled and shifting pulse.”
Excerpts from Where Shadow Chases Light (2014) for orchestra. Performed by Oakland East Bay Symphony. Learn more about this piece.
“Where Shadow Chases Light combines gestures from the composer’s Indian background with a form built around shifting bands of orchestral color. Using ragas, improvisatory melodies, elaborate ornamentation and rich, multi-layered textures, the work evokes vast, shifting landscapes of stark black and white.”
“…where shadow chases light and the rain comes in the wake of the summer…”
Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore