2nd place at Prix Collégien de musique contemporaine 2013


Ninaivanjali is a Tamil expression meaning "In memory of", used to pay tribute after someone's death. This piece is dedicated to ghatam virtuoso N. Govindarajan, my Indian rhythm teacher, who passed away in May 2012. In addition to being an excellent teacher, fully devoted to sharing his knowledge, Govind was an endearing and admirable man, full of goodness and joie de vivre.

For this work I was inspired by the three main sound sources of South Indian Carnatic music : melody – flexible, sophisticated and ornate; rhythm – complex and subdivided; and drone – stable harmonic reference point in the background.

All melodies, with the exception of the last, are freely inspired from the behaviour of the lines in Carnatic music. The final melody is directly based on the section in Sree raga from Patnam Subramaniam Iyer's Navaragamalika, a work that has marked my last trip to India in 2011. As a background for these melodies, I merged the concepts of rhythm and drone to create rhythmic drones built from camouflaged rhythmical patterns I learned from Govind.


October 24, 2015 VICTORIA (Canada) Percussive Hits / Alix Goolden Hall
Victoria Symphony, conducted by Berhnard Gueller.

November 13, 2012 OTTAWA (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / National Arts Centre of Canada, NAC Fourth Stage
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 12, 2012 LONDON (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Von Kuster Hall, Western University
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 11, 2012 TORONTO (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / The Music Gallery, Church of Saint George the Martyr
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 9, 2012 MONTRÉAL (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Salle de concert du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 7, 2012 WINNIPEG (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Winnipeg
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 5, 2012 VANCOUVER (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 3, 2012 CALGARY (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, University of Calgary
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix

November 2, 2012 BANFF (Canada) Génération 2012 Tour / Rolston Recital Hall, The Banff Centre WORLD PREMIERE
ECM+ (Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal) conducted by Véronique Lacroix


Where Dharmoo shines brightest is his melodic writing. It is both beautifully expressive and demonstrative of his time spent studying music in Chennai, India. An instrumental addition that displayed his multicultural roots was the tamburo drum, which was included seamlessly into the orchestration, but still contributed a musical timbre that was recognizably foreign. Of the four works on the concert, it seemed clear that the ensemble enjoyed playing Ninaivanjali the most–and with good reason. What Dharmoo brings to the table is not a melting pot of cultural influence, but a homogeneous, individual voice that demonstrates each of those influences and their expressive possibilities.
Justin Rito – Ensemble contemporain de Montréal: Generation 2012, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN – 22 novembre 2012

His Ninaivanjali (2012) is a complex blend of melodic threads, rhythmic and traditional drone elements mixed with Western and Avante-garde effects. Melodies in the strings blend with fluid bassoon extrusions, high-pitched tink of piano, bells, glassine violin passages and various extended techniques that produce clicks, clucks, boinks, tones of bagpipe and organs. This is a warm, emotional work, cheerful, too, in its imaginative play.
Stanley Fefferman – New Music Concerts Hosts Génération 2012 Canadian Tour, OpusOneReview – 12 novembre 2012

Gabriel Dharmoo's Ninaivanjall is a more melodic work, though no one would mistake it for Rachmaninov. Part of the composer's training was in India and even though it is reminiscent of other things, there's no missing the influence of Indian classical music. It's a solid and attractive work.
Richard Todd – Concert review: Young Canadian composers offer intriguing look at the future, The Ottawa Citizen – 16 novembre 2012

Dharmoo's Ninavanjali, dedicated to Dharmoo's late teacher N Govindarajan, clearly showed the influence of Indian melodic and rhythmic traditions, and was also clearly elegiac towards the end. To my ears there was also an interplay between fun and seriousness. Some of his effects (for want of a better word) included interesting piano passages, bullet-like bursts of rhythm and the wind players of ECM doing something akin to beatboxing with their instruments!
ECM+ Generation 2012, PrettyInScarlett – 14 novembre 2012

Gabriel Dharmoo présentait quant à lui un hommage à son professeur de rythmique indien, dans une mélopée prenante et poétique: Ninaivanjali. Pour Dharmoo, l'apport de la musique indienne dans son oeuvre lui permet d'élargir sa palette de couleurs et son vocabulaire. Il a réussi à obtenir un juste équilibre entre son propre langage et l'appropriation de l'art indien. La pièce, enfilant parties plus rythmique en alternance avec des sections plus mélodiques nous rappelle l'art de Vivier. Une influence que le jeune compositeur ne reniera pas mais qu'il considère comme une parmi de multiples autres. Très émouvante, cette pièce marque à mon avis le point fort du concert. L'orchestration somptueuse attrape l'auditeur par les entrailles, la mélodie des violoncelles au deux-tiers de l'oeuvre se grave dans notre mémoire.
Normand Babin – Star académie : Version originale, Montréalistement – 16 novembre 2012


Canadian Music Centre - Interview about Ninaivanjali, finalist for the Prix Collégien de musique contemporaine 2013


Commissioned by ECM+ (Ensemble contemporain de Montréal), with support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec