2019-Zach Bachand
photo by Zach Bachand

India Yeshe Gailey (she/they) is an American Canadian cellist, composer, and improviser. Distinguished as “a young musician to watch” (Scotia Festival), she draws from many eras and genres to craft poetic narratives of sound. She frequently works with living composers, musicians outside of the Western Classical tradition, and the contrast between standard and obscure. As a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborator, she has toured across Canada, The United States, and Germany. She is also a member of the award-winning avant-jazz quartet New Hermitage. Their fifth recording and first full-length album, Unearth, conveys the soundtrack of post-environmental apocalypse realm, and will be released fall 2020. India recently completed her Master of Music degree at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, under the tutelage of Matt Haimovitz. Other highlights from the recent past include working with Philip Glass, receiving a Graduate Mobility Award from McGill for her musical travels, and holding fellowship at Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia. She released her first solo album, Lucid, a collaboration with three other emerging Canadian composers, in 2017.

As a composer, India is inspired by interdisciplinary interaction, and her compositions often explore environmentalism, magical realism, or minimalism. In addition to her musical studies, she has studied visual art at NSCAD University, and as a child studied ballet and contemporary dance, these other disciplines informing her compositional work. She has written music for Ear Camera, Keep Good (Theatre) Company, The Acadia Gamelan Ensemble, and for various combinations of musicians and dancers. She is currently working on a new body of work for solo cello.

India is the recipient of numerous honours, including five Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarships, the Yuh Lih and Marion Kuo Award for Instrumental Excellence, and the Janis and Felicita Kalejs Award in Music. Venues at which she has performed or held residencies include the Canadian New Music Network forum, Domaine Forget, Garth Newel Music Center, Green Lake Festival, Halifax Jazz Festival, OBEY Convention, Open Waters Festival, Scotia Festival of Music, Tuckamore Festival, and other various halls, galleries, homes, bars, gardens, and castles. She can also be heard regularly on CBC and CKDU radio stations.

India received her Bachelor of Music degree from Acadia University, where she studied with Norman Adams and Christoph Both. Over the years, she has played in masterclasses for renowned cellists such as Emmanuelle Bertrand, Colin Carr, Denise Djokic, Blair Lofgren, Antonio Lysy, Philippe Müller, and Shauna Rolston. Chamber music mentors include Denise Lupien, Ilya Poletaev, members of the Daedalus, Kronos, and Shanghai string quartets, Garth Newel Piano Quartet, Apple Hill Chamber Players, and Gryphon Trio. She studied improvisation with Jerry Granelli and Javanese Gamelan with Ken Shorley. When not creating music, India enjoys eating chocolate, making visual art, facilitating social meditation, and looking at the trees, rocks, sky, and earth.