North American Melharmonic Honors Orchestra (NAMHO)
In Nov 2016, the Melharmony Foundation established a first-of-its-kind, National Level student-centric, multi-cultural orchestra, called the North American Melharmonic Honors Orchestra (NAMHO).
Vision & mission: The NAMHO vision has been to expose talented young artists to exciting musical concepts and repertoire from diverse cultures at an early age, aid in their musical development which enables them gain opportunities to perform music in all parts of the world that attracts diverse audiences. The mission has been to blend the different shades of talents from diverse genres & cultures of music to create one bright colored and expressionist 'soundscape'! In other words, NAMHO artists have aimed to embrace the best of both melody and harmony to create a melharmonic whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Primary objective: The artists aim to practice, perfect, perform and preserve melharmonic repertoire across the world in diverse venues, events and festivals.
The Orchestra's other aims include the following:
(a) To give students a global perspective of human genius in music
(b) To provide exposure to several types of improvisation, enhancing their creative and cognitive skills
(c) To help their personal development as well as social skills
Admissions continue are open for talented students interested in opportunities across the country.
Students are primarily selected based on training and competence in Western Classical (in strings, woodwinds, brass & percussion). About 15-20% slots are also open for exponents of other systems such as Jazz/Pop/Chinese/Indian etc. Those interested in gaining Admission.have to take the NAMHO Online Auditions.
Opportunities: The Foundation will explore performing, collaborative or recording opportunities for the NAMHO every year in traditional as well as alternate venues & events in different cities. If enrollments and quality necessitate, NAMHO may subsequently be branched into Symphony, Chamber, Strings, Percussion Ensemble, Quartets, Trios or City/State-centric units.
Spirit of NAMHO: Melharmony is about creating exciting new music that captures the essential spirit and aesthetics of diverse traditions and NAMHO will endeavor to exemplify this with excellence. If you are talented and also passionate about learning musical approaches from various parts of the world, trying out new types of melodies & rhythms and exploring the magnificent synergy between melody and harmony through Melharmony, NAMHO is the way to go! Learn about the NAMHO vision, mission and objectives and apply!
Eligibility: NAMHO is an equal-opportunity orchestra and open to any student based in North America irrespective of their country of origin, race, religion or other considerations. The applicant's birth date must fall between May 1, 2004 and May 1, 1989, inclusive. The Application/Audition fee is a non-refundable $10.
Exemptions: Age exemptions will be made for prodigious talents in any music system. If you feel that your child qualifies, do send us short video samples along with your application and specify the achievements of the application such as awards/prizes won and/or major performances presented in order to be considered for age exemption.
Conductors: The Foundation aims to invite quality conductors in various cities to be in its Conductors Council and feature them in NAMHO concerts.
Composers: The Foundation aims to commission or support composers of diverse genres to write melharmonic pieces for NAMHO. Already written music will also be performed, if suitable for the orchestras.
Repertoire: NAMHO will endeavour to present 3 types of repertoire:
(a) Commissioned original melharmonic & melharmonic arrangements of traditional melodic works
(b) Western Classical harmony-centric repertoire of master composers like Bach & Mozart
(c) Melodic creations of composers of Indian Classical and other systems in the world such as Tyagaraja, Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi and Muttuswami Dikshitar.
Level of Difficulty: The levels of the repertoire chosen will range from simple middle/high school level short pieces to professional level sophisticated ones but members will be assigned parts commensurate with their respective levels.
Performance: NAMHO artists will be available to perform "Melody, Harmony, Melharmony" concerts in any type of venue including schools, colleges, private or corporate events and Twin-Composer Festivals like OVK-Bach, Dikshitar-Beethoven & Tyagaraja Mozart festivals. Typical concerts can showcase melody-centric, harmony centric pieces played in traditional style as well as melharmonic repertoire.
Configuration: NAMHO will be anchored by students of Western Classical and complemented by exceptionally talented artists of other systems including jazz & world music.
Instruments: NAMHO will feature not only classical symphony instruments but also jazz/world instruments including sitar, chitraveena, erhu, thor, oud, tabla, mrdangam or other percussion.
Voice: At this time, NAMHO will not include voices but it may occasionally use guest vocalists. However, young Carnatic vocalists interested in joining the Melharmony Foundation's vocal-centric Vintage Virtuosos - USA ensemble can email us.
Scores: Students must be able to read Western Scores or transcribe the composition in a notational style (like Indian/Chinese) that they can understand during practice/performance.
Practice: Since NAMHO is a multi-city member orchestra, members will be sent and/or given online access to scores/videos/audios of the compositions. They are expected to follow both the written music as well as the audio/videos during practice. Each NAMHO member is be required to spend a minimum of 1-2 hours per week on practice and listening (based on parts assigned).
Rehearsals: Members are encouraged to schedule periodic live rehearsals with other NAMHO artists in their locality/city, whenever possible. Melharmony Foundation will also schedule such rehearsals when composers/conductors are available in the area. Concert rehearsals with the entire orchestra will typically be scheduled on the day of the performance in various cities and 1-3 days prior, based on logistical considerations.