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Concert / Performance, Talk / Lecture

Bardo Songs: Meditation & Illumination on the Tibetan Book of the Dead

October 25, 2023 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM



This special concert is a guided, meditative journey inspired by the teachings of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The quintessential text, attributed to the eighth century Buddhist Vajra master Padmasambhava, provides insight and direct instructions on how to navigate through the stages of the Bardo, the intermediary state between life and death. According to the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, the Bardo journey offers practitioners a precious opportunity to awaken to their true Buddha nature and find liberation from suffering. 

Internationally acclaimed Tibetan singer/songwriter Tenzin Choegyal will be joined by award-winning composer Simone Giuliani on piano and actor, musician, and dancer Tsering Dorjee Bawa, performing the rare Black Hat masked ritual dance. The concert is narrated by Christiana Polites, director of Tibetan Medicine & Buddhist Center Pure Land Farms, with visuals produced by media artist and director of the UCLA Art | Sci Center, Victoria Vesna.

About the Artists

Tenzin Choegyal is a world renowned musician in the Tibetan tradition. The son of Tibetan nomads, he feels a particular connection to the music of the high Himalayan plateau. While proudly continuing the unbroken nomadic lineage which is central to his repertoire, Tenzin also embraces opportunities to take his music into more contemporary, uncharted territory, both in the studio and on stage. Tenzin has opened for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and collaborated with Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Anoushka Shankar, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Alongside Jesse Paris Smith and Laurie Anderson, he recorded the 2021 Grammy-nominated Songs from the Bardo, released through Smithsonian Folkways. He also has nine independent albums, three with his fusion band Tibet2Timbuk2.

Tsering Dorjee Bawa is an award-winning artist who has been a Tibetan music and arts performer for almost three decades. He earned his master’s degree studying Tibetan secular dance and music at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), Dharamsala, India, where he was privileged to study under legendary artists. He has since traveled the world sharing his knowledge and performing Tibetan Opera, central Tibetan Step Dance, and Cham, a series of colorful, masked ritual dances. In addition to performing onstage from Seattle Children’s Theatre to Lincoln Center in New York, he has acted in several notable films, including the 1999 Oscar-nominated Himalaya, and My Son Tenzin (2017). Tsering resides in the Bay Area, where he has established a community school program to preserve Tibetan language, music, and dance for a new generation.

Simone Giuliani is a director, producer, and composer born in Florence, Italy, and based in New York and Los Angeles. He has worked with such artists as Andrea Bocelli, Wu-Tang Clan, Cibo Matto, Bebel Gilberto, and many more. He has collaborated with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and directed a live concert for Pope Francis inside the Roman Forum. Giuliani is director of programs for MOMENT NYC, a music education non-profit presenting the history of music in New York City through performances in public schools. He is co-founder of Yangchenma Arts & Music, a community organization celebrating the richness and diversity of human cultures through their artistic and musical traditions.

This program is co-sponsored by the UCLA Art | Sci Center and supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Image: Wheel of Existence via Rubin Museum of Art

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