Using music that has its roots deep within Indian culture, the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble (IIE) provides an open and inclusive environment to stage cultural dialogues with a diverse range of genres across the globe.

Since its founding in 1987, IIE has explored a plethora of themes that form the basis of traditional Indian music ranging from the evolution of music in the Indians subcontinent to religion and socio-political dialogues in the South Asian region.

IIE is made up primarily of five musical sections – veena, sitar, violin, tabla and vocals – with members also proficient in the flute, mandolin and mridangam. This range of instruments allows IIE to perform music that is representative of the ethnic diversity within India, from the Hindustani music of North India to the Carnatic music of South India. In its upcoming endeavours, the group is also looking to explore the relevance of this traditional art form in world music by blending elements of Indian music with elements of contemporary music genres.

Key Past Events

  • 2014NUS Arts Festival highlight Chudar, a collaboration with the NUS Indian Dance
  • 2014Annual concert Yatra: A Journey of Man and Music
  • 2016NUS ExxonMobil Campus Concerts highlight Made in India
  • 201730th Anniversary Concert The Raga Journal
  • 2018I Am, Esplanade Recital Studio

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Rajandra Vadivale

Music Director & Resident Conductor

Rajandra Vadivale was appointed Music Director of the NUS Indian Instrumental Ensemble (IIE) in 2004. Rajandra first ventured into the music arena as a saxophone and clarinet player. He switched to the flute when his late uncle and mentor, renowned Mridangist, V. Ramachandran introduced him to Indian classical music. Aged 15, he mastered the basics of the instruments under Nadaswara Vidwan M. Muruthaiya.

In 1977, Rajandra was engaged as a flautist with the reputed Ramakrishna Sangeetha Sabha Orchestra (RSSO). In 1982, sponsored by the RSSO, Rajandra obtained a rare opportunity to train under world-renowned flautist, Dr. N. Ramani for an intense and gruelling year in India. He was enriched by the experience, which widened his repertoire and further enhanced his performing style.

He helped set up the former People’s Association Indian Orchestra (currently known as the Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir or SIOC) in 1985. Rajandra was appointed Assistant Conductor in 1993. Today, the SIOC is recognised as the premier local Indian orchestra. As their leader, he has seen them through many performances at the national level, including alongside reputable Indian musicians and composers such as TV Gopala Krishnan, Dr. L Subramaniam, L Vaidyanathan and M. S. Viswanathan.

Rajandra also holds a diploma in sound engineering and is frequently consulted by music organisations to handle complicated musical presentations. In 1997, he was nominated for the National Youth Council’s Singapore Youth Award in recognition for his outstanding contributions within the Indian classical arena. He was also the recipient of the People’s Association (PA) Artistic Talent in 1997 - a commendation for his outstanding performance within the PA Cultural Troupe.

Rajandra remains committed to the same goals: to enrich Indian culture by encouraging young musicians to enter this traditional terrain, nurturing them and instilling in them a passion towards music.