2019-Zach Bachand
photo by Zach Bachand

India Yeshe Gailey is an American-Canadian cellist, composer, and improviser from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Compelled to play music that speaks to our time, she draws from many eras and genres, performing as a solo artist and collaborator all over the place. She works with living composers, enlivens the obscure, and presents standard works in a unique light. Realms crossed in her musical path include classical, jazz, experimental, indie rock, Celtic, Hindustani classical, and Javanese gamelan.

In December 2017, India released her first solo album, Lucid, a collaboration with three other emerging Canadian composers. More recently, she earned her Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Matt Haimovitz at McGill’s Schulich School of Music. Other fresh highlights include working with Philip Glass at Scotia Festival, receiving a Graduate Mobility Award from McGill to study and perform in Germany, and holding a chamber music fellowship at Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia. She tours regularly with the environmental jazz quartet New Hermitage, which received Music Nova Scotia’s 2019 “Classical Recording of the Year” award for their live improvisation with bass clarinettist Jeff Reilly. She actively performs with several other ensembles such as Alkali Collective and the Sarah Rossy Chamber Ensemble.

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 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.

As a composer, India is inspired by the relationship of visual and sonic shapes, and her compositions explore environmentalism, timbral variation, theatricality, and magical realism. 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. In autumn 2016, she was commissioned by Keep Good (Theatre) Company to compose and perform the score for their production of Nick Payne’s Constellations, an eloquent love story set in a multiverse. More recently, The Acadia Gamelan Ensemble premiered her work, Hujan Badai (“Thunderstorm”). For the 2017/18 season, she was an artist in residence with Ear Camera, which premiered her vocal ensemble piece, “Dinoflagellates”. Her composition mentors include Derek Charke and Peter Togni.

India received her Bachelor of Music degree from Acadia University, where she studied with Norman Adams and Christoph Both, was a frequently featured soloist, and graduated with dean’s list distinction. 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. India loves the colour blue, origami, beds of moss, the Ravel String Quartet, raspberries, and the sound of a sweet marimba. She also enjoys making visual art.