Menon Dwarka is a composer, arts administrator and writer who has worked primarily in New York and Toronto. He is currently the Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke, a local arts services organization in Toronto's west end. He also spent his first 3 years back in Canada as the Artistic and Managing Director of 918 Bathurst, an arts and culture sanctuary located in Seaton Village. Prior to his return to Toronto in 2013, Dwarka spent 18 years contributing to the cultural life of New York City, serving as music program director for the 92nd Street Y, Harlem School of the Arts and Greenwich House.
As a composer, Dwarka was trained primarily in Toronto, where his family emigrated when he was 6 months old from Guyana. His music, which can best be described as post-colonial, reflects the many influences he encountered growing up as a Canadian of South Asian heritage. Recent works include “Leave to Remain”, for solo clarinet and electronics, "Tambura Ocean", a two hour and forty-five minute sound installation, "Coda" for chamber ensemble, premiered by Canada's Array Music, as well as “State of Grace”, a work in honor of Morton Subotnick’s 80th birthday, premiered by Steinway artist Jenny Lin.
Dwarka was also a staff composer at Rocket Music, where he wrote, arranged and mixed original scores for television commercials and small films during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His most recent work in that area features a campaign for Microsoft with French director Michel Gondry, whose feature film titles include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Dave Chappell's Block Party.
In addition to his administrative duties, Dwarka curated more that 450 arts events at Greenwich House, including the inaugural season of unCAGEd concerts, celebrating the life and work of American composer John Cage during his centenary year. His tenure as a curator also saw an unprecedented era of institutional partnerships, hosting events for the P.E.N. Festival World Voices, the Asian American Arts Alliance's Locating the Sacred festival, as well as holding fundraisers featuring Jorma Kaukonen and Steve Earle. Hilary Hahn's "In 27 Pieces," a recording of contemporary works written specifically for the violinist, was also released at an event at Greenwich House, with Ms. Hahn performing several of the compositions with the composers present.
While not primarily a performer, Dwarka has also appeared on stage as a conductor, with repertoire ranging from Schoenberg's Transfigured Night to Toshi Ichiyanagi’s Sapporo. He is also active as a laptop musician, running live electronics for his own compositions as well as for Morton Subotnick’s "Trembling for Violin, Piano and Electronics." Dwarka is also a regular contributor to Listen Magazine, an American classical quarterly, where he is also an editorial consultant. His articles have covered the works of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bartok, Dutilleux and Henze.
In 2015, Dwarka was selected to be part of the inaugural fellows of the Banff/Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Lab.
A more detailed list of his professional activities can be found on his LinkedIn page.