Priti Paintal was born in New Delhi, India, and is the daughter of the distinguished Indian scientist Prof Autar Singh Paintal. She trained in both Indian and Western music. She studied sitar and tabla as a child and piano and composition in India, receiving a master's degree in ethnomusicology before moving to England to study composition at the York University and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Anthony Gilbert.
Priti founded the ensemble ShivaNova in 1988 to unite diverse musical traditions into a global sound. The ensemble collaborates with artists including storytellers, jugglers, dancers and orchestras, and provides workshops in schools and communities. A mainstream dance music spin-off of the group, SugarNova, had its debut single "Over and Over" reach the top 20 of the Music Week Club Charts.
Her music brings together traditional,classical and jazz performers in a unique mix of Indian roots and contemporary flair. In addition to her group pieces she wrote the mini-opera "Survival Song" for the Royal Opera House Garden Venture contemporary opera programme, which was shortlisted for the Olivier Awards. It led to the full-length opera "Biko", the Royal Opera House's first commission from an Asian and a woman composer, staged in London and Birmingham. Other performers have included the Philharmonia Orchestra in the premiere of "Secret Chants",the title track of ShivaNova’s latest CD, and she has written works for the City of London Sinfonia, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, East of England Orchestra, the Balanescu and Bingham string quartets, the Park Lane Sextet, and numerous singers and instrumentalists.
Priti has written for The Guardian newspaper, and been featured in The Independent and The Daily Telegraph. She has appeared on Songlines, BBC 3 and Womans' Hour. She has served on the Arts Council Music panel, the board of South-East Arts, the board of Kent Music.
Selected works include:
- Grandharva Music I
Polygamy (Cd), Urban Mantras(Cd), Flying to the Sun (Cd), Moonlighting (Cd), Seventh Heaven (Cd,
- Secret Chants(orchestral work and Cd)
- Survival Song, chamber opera
Biko (full-length opera based on the life of Apartheid leader Stephen Biko)
- Gulliver in Lilliput, children's opera
- Bananas, multi-media show
- Global Feast, multi-artform
- Pendle, Karin, ed. (1991). Women & music: a history.
- Fuller, Sophie (1994). The Pandora guide to women composers: Britain and the United States.
- "ShivaNova". Retrieved 3 December 2010.
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