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SWARNABHOOMI ACADEMY OF MUSIC (SAM) Piano faculty MANUEL VALERA nominated for a Grammy Award

~A proud moment for (SAM) ~

~In continuation of SAM's rich tradition of having the world's most recognized musicians teaching here ~

Chennai, Dec 7, 2012: MANUEL VALERA, the Piano faculty at SAM's spring 2013 program has just been nominated for a Grammy Award for his album 'New Cuban Express' in the prestigious 'Best Latin Jazz' category.

Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) - the professional music college under the aegis of MARG Ltd, under the able leadership of its President Prasanna, provides an innovative & challenging academic program in music that fosters a collaborative exchange of ideas and thoughts in a culturally rich environment exemplifying the notion of a global community. Since starting its Diploma Program in July 2010, SAM has hired 56 world class musicians from 24 countries to teach here. These include several Grammy nominated artists, MacArthur Fellows and some of the most distinguished performing artists in the world. 225 students have studied at the Diploma program and 125 others in the short term programs at SAM so far. SAM Diploma and short program alumni are some of the leading musicians in the country across all genres.

Manuel Valera - Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer & arranger, who is in the forefront of contemporary modern jazz and represents the next generation of great performers and composers has been roped in as faculty for Spring 2013 program at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. The announcement of his nomination to the prestigious Grammy Award for his album 'New Cuban Express' in the 'Best Latin Jazz' category has brought joy to the SAM fraternity, as the celebrated musician would be teaching here from Jan 22 to March 8 and will take a brief trip to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards presentation which is scheduled for Feb 10, 2013.

New Cuban Express is a killer vehicle that rides the rails of excitement from start to finish. With New Cuban Express, Valera has found joy in balancing Cuban traditions, fusion fashions, funky underpinnings and contemporary ideals. The track Listing includes, New Cuban Express; Intro To Upwards; Upwards; Choices; Me Faltabas Tu; Regards; Poly; Intro To Gismonteando; Gismonteando; Interlude; Cinco Contra Tres; Danzon; Makuta.

Commenting on this development GRK Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, MARG Group said, "We are delighted have an artist of Manuel Valera's stature at MARG Swarnabhoomi to teach music at SAM. The music curriculum at SAM has been meticulously planned by Prasanna and well executed by international experts in the field of music. I wish Valera all the best for the Grammy award and look forward to seeing him at SAM".

On receiving the news of VALERA's Grammy nomination, Prasanna, President, Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM), says "Manuel is one of the most amazing Cuban virtuosos today. I saw him perform at the Newport Jazz Festival in September 2012 along with ex-SAM faculty Dafnis Prieto. Hearing glowing reports about SAM from all his friends, Manuel expressed his desire to teach at SAM and I instantly hired him for the Spring 2013 semester as Piano faculty. The entire SAM community wishes him well for the Grammy Award night. He will be traveling from SAM to Los Angeles for the ceremony and be back in SAM hopefully with the award"

SAM's faculty for Spring 2013 program include Grammy and Latin Grammy nominated artists, musical ambassadors to the United Nations, drummers of superstar acts like Ricky Martin and Spyrogyra, music directors for artists like Angelique Kidjo, to some of the most cutting edge Indian, American, Cuban, Brazilian and Argentinian artists that are in the forefront of the creative music scene today. Magos Herrera (Mexico), Rubens De La Corte (Brazil), Vunior Terry (Cuba), Ludwig Afonso (USA), Alex Kautz (Brazil), Farah Siraj (Jordan), Jake Hertzog (USA), Dario Boente (Argentina), Andres Rotmistrovsky (Argentina), Tony Escapa (Puerto Rico).


Prasanna is the quintessential Indian Renaissance man. A pioneer in performing Carnatic music on the guitar, an engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, a composer for an Oscar winning film, an internationally acclaimed guitarist in contemporary Jazz, Rock and Blues, a Magna-Cum-Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, an entrepreneurial visionary in the business of creative music and education and Founder/ President of Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music near Chennai which is the largest college of contemporary music in South Asia. Prasanna was voted among the 'top 50 creative Indians' by Open Magazine in 2010 alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Vishwanathan Anand, A.R.Rahman and others.

He was awarded the 'Life Time Achievement Awards' for Carnatic music by N.H.Sri Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Mutt in 2006. Prasanna has performed and recorded with Airto Moreira, A.R. Rahman, Esperanza Spalding, Terry Lyne Carrington, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aka Moon, Joe Lovano, Illayaraja, Victor Wooten, Alex Acuna, Omar Hakim, Trilok Gurtu and others. He is a member of two groundbreaking bands – 'Ragabop trio' with Steve Smith and George Brooks and 'Tirtha' with Vijay Iyer and Nitin Mitta.

Prasanna has composed music for three documentary films including the 2009 Oscar Award winning 'Smile Pinki' and three feature films including the highly acclaimed 2012 Tamil film 'Vazhakku Enn 18/9'. He orchestrated and conducted the string arrangements for A.R. Rahman's title score of the 2002 Oscar nominated Bollywood Film 'Lagaan'.

Prasanna has given lectures, talks, workshops and residencies at MIT's Sloan School of Management, Banff Center for the Arts, Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, Osnabruck Institute of Music etc.

About Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM)

Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music is a 4-acre college Campus is located in MARG Swarnabhoomi, 80 km from Chennai, India on the scenic East Coast Road. The 29,000-sq.ft main facility of the college is LEED Gold certified and is built in compliance with Green building standards.

Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music aims to provide a challenging academic program in music that fosters a collaborative exchange of ideas and thoughts in a culturally rich environment exemplifying the notion of a global community. By blending the best of Indian traditional Gurukula based classical music pedagogy and contemporary western college education practice, the college seeks to not only provide a unique and rounded music education but also build character and personality in its students and prepare them for careers in music as performers, arrangers, songwriters, composers, producers, teachers and more.


MARG Swarnabhoomi, the flagship project of MARG is being developed as an inclusive and integrated new paradigm city based on the principles of new urbanism with unique offerings for education, research and innovation. This integrated city will house a R&D hub and an innovation led futuristic Science Park supported by an educational, commercial and residential framework. Christened as the "Land of New Thinking"- the global city of education, research and innovation that brings together educational institutions, manufacturing & research companies, IT services firms, housing and healthcare facilities all under one roof. It has already roped in several companies including the likes of Grundfos India, Polyhose, Van Spall Associates, Virgo, Sumeet Machines and TVS Kwikpatch in the engineering category. Strand Bioprocesses and Micro Therapeutics Research labs have been tied up in the Research & Innovation domain. MARG Swarnabhoomi has been shortlisted as Indian Green Building Council's (IGBC) pilot project for the first Platinum rated city in India.