>>> !!!!updated last in December 2014



AMELIA CUNI is a singer, composer and performer. She has trained her voice and musical skills in India, according to the tradition of DHRUPAD singing and KATHAK dance. Her present work includes contemporary music and multimedia collaborations with several artists of international repute. She is engaged in the transmission of the knowledge she has acquired from her gurus and teaches Indian singing at the Vicenza Conservatory in Italy. She is based in Berlin.




>>>Short curriculum

for a detailed curriculum, please click here

Amelia Cuni was born in Milan and lived in India for more than 10 years learning dhrupad singing from renowned masters (i.e. R. Fahimuddin Dagar and Bidur Mallik, Pt. Dilip Chandra Vedi). She also studied kathak dance and pakhawaj drumming. She received a three year scholarship from the Indian government. Since 1987, she performs internationally: i.e. solo concerts at Nehru Centre in Bombay, Kamani and I.I.C. in N.Delhi, the House of World Cultures, Podewil, Hebbel-Theater, Akademie der Künste and Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Gasteig in Munich, Zentrum f. Kunst u. Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Barbican Centre, Institute for Contemporary Arts and Purcell Room in London, Jisbreker and Tropical Museum in Amsterdam, Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Filarmonica and Auditorium in Rome, Merkin Hall in NYC, Casa da Musica and Serralves Museum in Porto etc.

Since 1992, she is based in Berlin. Her music is featured on several solo CDs and collaborations. She has recorded for radio and TV productions. Amelia's projects are of traditional and experimental orientation as well. She collaborates with artists from various backgrounds (early and new music, electronica, ambient, experimental, jazz, folk, dance and theatre.) With her own works she has taken part in international festivals in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Portugal, India, China, Brazil, Canada and the USA. Together with Werner Durand she has been awarded an ARTIST IN RESIDENCE grant at the Podewil - Zentrum für Aktuelle Kunst in Berlin for 1999. The City of Berlin has featured them in the Festival of Vision 2000-Berlin in Hong Kong and Berlin_London 2001.
She has conceived and performs worldwide the multimedia work ASHTAYAMA - Song of Hours. Composers like Terry Riley, Roland Pfrengle, Chico Mello, Fernando Grillo, Maria de Alvear have written for her voice. She has collaborated on experimental projects with David Toop, Paul Schütze, David Moss a.o.
In 2005. she performed with Terry Riley in a duo concert titled RAGA D’OLTREOCEANO (Contempo/Montefalco, Contemporanea/Udine, Centrod’Arte/Padova).
At the new music festival Maerzmusik/Berliner Festspiele (Berlin, March 2006) she premiered the complete John Cage’s SOLO 58 (18 microtonal ragas) from his SONG BOOKS (1970) coproduced and hosted by: Expozice nové hudby in Brno (Czek Rep.); Musicadhoy in Madrid; Autumn Festival in Budapest; Casa da Música, Porto; Voix Nouvelles - Fondation Royaumont; Handelsbeurs, Gent; in 2007, Amelia will presented this production at the festivals: Ultima, Oslo and Stavanger and the Venice Biennale. Also in California: in Berkeley and Los Angeles.

She teaches Indian singing at the Conservatorio di Vicenza and at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.


>>>Work in progress:

• recording of John Cage's 18 microtonal ragas from his SONG BOOKS (1970) to be released in September 2007 on the Californian label OTHER MINDS. Performances in Europe and USA (concert schedule in the NEWS section)
• performances in collaboration with Early Music singer Maria Jonas and HILDEGARD VON BINGEN’s music
• CD production of a traditional dhrupad performance recorded in London for the Indian music label NAVRAS
• CD production of new works by Cuni<>Durand
• a DVD production of ASHTAYAMA with the support of BURGOF LÖRRACH
















>>>Detailed curriculum

Amelia Cuni has been studying classical music and dance from renowned masters in North India, following the traditional system based on oral transmission. In 1978 she started with khyal singing and tabla in New Delhi. In 1980 she joined the I.T.C. Sangeet Research Academy in Calcutta where she met the master of dhrupad singing Ud.R.Fahimuddin Dagar from whom she continued to study voice training privately. She has been receiving musical teachings for several years also from Pt.Dilip Chandra Vedi in Delhi and Pt.Bidur Mallik in Vrindavan where she has been involved in the activities of the dhrupad school at Sri Caitanya Prem Sansthan.

In 1983 Amelia started practising Kathak dance (originated in the same cultural milieu as dhrupad), which she studied for ten years under the guidance of Smt.Manjushri Chatterjee, disciple of Shambhu Maharaj. Amelia received her basic training in pakhawaj drumming from the master Raja Chattrapati Singh.

She has been awarded scholarships by the Indian Government for four years (1982-86). She spent about ten years studying in India and since 1987 she has been teaching and performing world wide. In 1992, she settled in Berlin.

Presently, she is engaged in preserving and fostering dhrupad music as well as integrating and elaborating various artistic traditions and new tendencies.

Together with Werner Durand, she was selected Artist in Residence 1999 at the multimedia theatre Podewil in Berlin. In February 2004, they have been composers-in-residence at the Djerassi Foundation in California in collaboration with the OTHER MINDS new music festival in San Francisco.
In 2006, she has been awarded a one-week residency at the Royaumont Foundation near Paris, to work on the interpretation of John Cage’s SOLO 58 (Song Books, 1970).





Amelia Cuni has given numerous concerts of traditional dhrupad singing, which have received the enthusiastic praises of the Indian national press.

The main venues in India:
Dhrupad Festivals in Vrindavan and Varanasi; Dadar-Matunga Music Circle and Nehru Centre in Mumbai; India International Centre in New Delhi, Music Academy in Madras, University of Baroda a.o.

Selected dhrupad performances in Europe:
WOMAD Global Spirit Festival at the Barbican Centre in London, Parampara and Tarang Festival at the House of World Cultures Berlin, Chard Festival of Women in Music (U.K.), Festival of Women Composers between Asia and Europe at the Villa Stück Munich, Int. Symposium Teaching Musics of the World at the Musik Akademie Basle. Besides she has performed dhrupad at Alte Oper Frankfurt, Schauspielhaus Berlin, Maison de l'Inde Paris, Gasteig Munich, Union Chapel Islington and Purcell Room London, Fondazione Giorgio Cini Venice, Accademia Filarmonica Romana Rome, Tagore Centre (Indian Embassy-Berlin) and several other European concert venues.

She has sung for Indian dancers (i.e. Smt. Manjushri Chatterjee, Daksha Sheth and Astad Deboo) in India and in Europe.


Amelia is engaged in several collaborations with composers and musicians of various backgrounds. In the field of New and Experimental music she has worked with wellknown artists including Fernando Grillo, Roberto Paci Dalò, David Moss, Rajesh Mehta, Zeitblom, Isabella Bordoni, theatre director Giancarlo Cauteruccio and Dieter Laser. With David Toop, Paul Schütze and Toshinori Kondo she has taken part in the 1997 edition of the Impakt Festival in Utrecht. In duo with Paul Schütze she has performed at the Sampling Rage Festival 1999 at Podewil Berlin.

She is collaborating also with minimalist wind-player Werner Durand on an experimental duo-project, which has been presented in several European countries including Italy, Germany, Spain, Berlgium, Poland and the U.K. and has been sent by the City of Berlin to Hong Kong in November 2000 for the Festival of Vision and included improvisations by Indian modern dance pioneer Astad Deboo. In 2004, the duo has also performed in USA at CNMAT/1750 Arch St. in Berkeley, Ca and in Canada at Vancouver New Music/VOX festival and in 2006 they took part in the INTERPRETATION SERIES/World Music Institute at the Merkin Hall in New York.

With Werner and various visual artists, she collaborates also on the multimedia performance ASHTAYAMA-Song of Hours, presented at the Podewil in Berlin (1999), ZKM in Karlsruhe (2000), Institute for Contemporary Arts in London, Tropical Museum in Amsterdam (2001), Düsseldorfer Altstadt Herbst (Tanzhaus NRW, 2002), Ijsbreker in Amsterdam (2003), Other Minds festival at the Yerba Buena Theater in San Francisco, Stimmenfestival 2005 in Basel; Serralves Modern Arts Museum (Porto, 2006), etc. In this multidisciplinary work, they collaborate with various musicans and visual artists, such as Fred Pommerehen, Yvonne Mohr, Uli Sigg, Kamalesh Maittra a.o.





Amelia is also composing her own music in various languages including Sanskrit, Hindi, Italian, Ladino, Latin and English. She has founded the project DANZA D'AMORE with an ensemble of Indian and European Baroque instruments and a dancer. The main festival appearances: Festival E' Vento e Suono at the Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Cusiano Festival of Early Music, Dartington Summer School Festival of Music (U.K.), Pordenone Festival of Sacred Music, San Marino Etnofestival, Aspekte Indischer Musik at Passionskirche in Berlin, Festival Autunno Musicale, Como 2001 and at Fondazione Teatro La Fenice in Venice, 2002. For this project, which is bringing together Indian and European Early Music, she is collaborating with violinist/sitarist and composer Francis Silkstone. Together with his ensemble Sounds Bazaar she was touring the U.K. in 1998 (i.e. Bath, Winchester, Oxford, London).

With dancer Astad Deboo, she was part of the music/theatre piece TRYING ORPHEUS, conceived and produced by Francis Silkstone and directed by Richard Cuming (Winchester Jan/Febr 2002).
With W.Durand, P.Schütze and R.Tombesi she has created a music performance inspired by ancient legends of the Alps, sang in Ladin, a Retho-Romanic language. The project IL SOGNO DI DOLASILLA has been presented at Arte Sella 2000 and at the Festival Suoni del Mondo, in Riva del Garda, 2002.

She is featured in the composition TODO CANTO (Chico Mello, 1996) which was written for her voice, operatic soprano, piano and tabla and premiered at the Schauspielhaus in Berlin. The Norfolk & Norwich Festival 1999 (U.K.) has commissioned Terry Riley to write a piece (titled 'What the River Said') for her voice and the East/West ensemble Sounds Bazaar, which has been performed also at the Rainbow over Bath and Oxford Contemporary Music Festival.
With New Music ensemble Die Maulwerker she has participate to a rendering of the complete SONG BOOKS by John Cage (where 18 raga improvisations are to be found) at the Bielefeld Theatre (2001).
Roland Pfrengle, electro-acustic music composer, has written for Amelia METALL (for voice, gong, tamtam and computer) which has been premiered in 2002 at the Essen Folkwang Hochschule during the festival EX MACHINA 2002. This composition is part of the music/theatre piece AN SICH - Bilder/Stille (Pfrengle, 2002) a coproduction by Hebbel Theatre and Maerzmusik/Berliner Festspiele 2003. Spanish/German composer Maria de Alvear has written for Amelia FLORES, (for female voices, trumpet and ensemble), premiered at the New Music Festival: Forum Neue Musik with the ensemble Musikfabrik in Cologne 2003 and produced by Deutschland Radio. Amelia has performed another composition by Maria de Alvear titled GRAN SOL (for 2 female voices and cello) together with Joan Jeanrenaud and Maria at the OTHER MINDS festival 2005 in San Francisco.


In 2005 she performed with Terry Riley in a duo concert titled RAGA D’OLTREOCEANO (Contempo/Montefalco, Contemporanea/Udine, Centro d’Arte/Padova).

At the new music festival Maerzmusik/Berliner Festspiele (Berlin, March 2006) she premiered the complete John Cage’s SOLO 58 (18 microtonal ragas) from his SONG BOOKS (1970) coproduced and hosted by: Expozice nové hudby in Brno (Czek Rep.); Musicadhoy in Madrid; Autumn Festival in Budapest; Casa da Música, Porto; Voix Nouvelles - Fondation Royaumont; Handelsbeurs, Gent; in 2007, Amelia will present this production at the festivals: Ultima, Oslo and Stavanger and the Venice Biennale. Also in California: in Berkeley and Los Angeles.





Amelia Cuni’s discography includes:

• Solo album Danza d'Amore published on New Earth (Munich 1998) and with the Italian magazine 'Medioevalia' (New Sounds 1997)
Morning Meditation (Navras, London 2000)
Monsoon Point, New Earth Records 1996, in collaboration with Al Gromer Khan
Ashtayama-Song of Hours (Amiata Records, Florence 2000) in collaboration with Werner Durand
Drumming Breath on Syntorama (NO-CD, San Sebastian/Spain 2000), with Werner Durand and the percussionist Marika Falk
Apsaras, a collaboration with soundscaper Alio Die for the American label ‘Projekt’ (2001).

Her voice and music are featured on David Toop's solo albums Pink-Noir (Virgin 1996) and Hot Pants Idols (Barooni 1999). She is also featured on Robert Miles's vinyl 12" Bhairav (Sa:lt Records Limited Edition, London 2001).
She has collaborated to the CD The beat generation (Harta Performing 1996), Dissói Lógoi (Compagnia Nuove Indye, Roma1999), a progressive rock album. Ashwattha with music by Raviindra (world-jazz) was awarded the second prize at the SWR (German TV) competition for 1998. She has contributed to several other CD productions, compilations and film sound tracks.

A CD production of John Cage’s SOLO 58 (18 microtonal ragas) -SONG BOOKS (1970) is under way and will be released in 2007 on the Californian laber OTHER MINDS with the support of a grant by the A. Copland Foundation and the generous contribution of Mariuccia Rognoni Noé.


>For listening to MP3 samples of some of these recordings, please go to the MP3 section listed in the main menu.





Amelia Cuni is a keen teacher and has given innumerable classes and workshops in Indian singing and dance all over Europe. Just to name a few: Tanz Etage Frankfurt, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Musikakademie Basel, Teatro Tascabile Bergamo, National Yoga Congress Berlin, Summer School 1998 at Dartington (U.K.), David Moss’s Institute for Living Voice, Conservatories of Zurich and Parma, Universities of Siegen, Bologna, Modena and Trento and La Sapienza in Rome, King Alfred's College in Winchester, the Udine School of Drama 'Nico Pepe'. She gives annual workshops at the Intercultural School of Music (IISMC, Fondazione Giorgio Cini) in Venice. Since 2001, she has been teaching Indian singing at the Vicenza Conservatory (Italy).
Amelia collaborates as dhrupad teacher in the theatre/dance/music production BIG IN BOMBAY by Constanza Macras/Dorky Park, premiered in 2005 and touring world wide.
In 2007, she has been invited to teach classes on her interpretation of the John Cage RAGAS at the Universität der Künste, Berlin.

Amelia's singing has been broadcasted on WDR, Radio Bremen, SFB Berlin, Dutch National Radio 3, RAI 3 Rome, Slovenian and Italian TV, WDR-TV. She has been interviewed by Radio Midday in Mumbai, RAI 3 in Trieste and Rome, Radio Popolare Milano, Swiss-Italian Radio in Lugano, Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich, SFB-Multikulti in Berlin and SWR-Baden-Baden and on several radio stations in U.S.A. Her voice is featured in the radio production (Audiobox, RAI 3) Zimmerflucht, l'archeologia del commento, by Isabella Bordoni.


Her publications include: Dhrupad Annual 1992, Varanasi; Teaching Musics of the World 1994, Basle; Indian Music and the West (S.R.A. seminar Mumbay1996), Indische Musik in Deutschland (Aachen, 1998), Journal of the Indian Musicological Society, (Mumbay,1999) , Ear & Eye-Encounters with world musics, Schott Verlag (Mainz, 2004), inter.kultur.politik. Kulturpolitik in der multiethnischen Gesellschaft, (Kuturpolitische Geselschaft-Klartext Verlag, Essen, 2004).



Work in progress:

• recording of John Cage's 18 microtonal ragas from his SONG BOOKS (1970) to be released in September 2007 on the Californian label OTHER MINDS. Performances in Europe and USA (concert schedule in the NEWS section)
• performances in collaboration with Early Music singer Maria Jonas and HILDEGARD VON BINGEN’s music
• CD production of a traditional dhrupad performance recorded in London for the Indian music label NAVRAS
• CD production of new works by Cuni<>Durand
• a DVD production of ASHTAYAMA with the support of BURGOF LÖRRACH





>>>Amelia Cuni about herself:



...Today, we are still dealing with shameful prejudices and simplifications, but we do have the possibility to relate to Indian performing arts with a new awareness. My personal history as an Italian girl who chose to become a professional singer of Indian music belongs to this changed panorama.
For reasons I find difficult to explain (but impeccably interpreted by my Indian friends by means of the reincarnation theory), I decided as an 18 year old music lover to go to India and learn dhrupad singing and kathak dance 'at the feet of the gurus'.

Reflecting on my artistic choices, I now see them as having been inspired by a continuum of music history and ideals. By attempting to bring these diverse cultural influences together in a dialectical and creative way, I am living out this particular destiny of mine as passionately as I possibly can.
More than 20 years ago, I decided to dive fully into Indian music but, if this can clarify my attitude, I never consider taking an Indian name. I must also admit that in my unusual role as an outsider, I have often stretched and challenged my teachers' concept of traditional training by following an unorthodox path. I am grateful for their understanding and far seeing support. In this way I have been able to retain my European roots while allowing myself a `full immersion´ in Indian culture for more than a decade.

Although I did not become a proponent of a specific gharana (style, school of music), I do feel responsible for the knowledge which has so generously been given to me. In this respect, I could say that I see myself as a kind of `messenger´ or `translator´ between worlds. Nowadays, my artistic quest is stimulated by numerous encounters and collaborations in various directions: from Early to New Music, across Minimalism and Electronica, but I still seem to keep strongly connected to my dhrupad soul which remains my primary medium of expression. Although I have gone my own way, I feel I belong to a vast stream which binds me to generations of ustads and pandits (masters). Indian music is steeped in an ancient tradition and at the same time it is open to renewal and non-conformity. Today, it may also be shared, researched and enjoyed outside its geographical boundaries. It is a lively and inspiring example of a culture we cannot ignore.

Amelia Cuni

(from: 'Ear & Eye: Encounters with World Music' Schott Verlag, Mainz 2004)