Visiting Guests to Present Demos, Lectures on Tibetan Buddhist Ritual Music

Posted on 9/13/2009 6:50:52 PM

Experts Tom Schmidt and Lama Topgyal will present lectures to IUP music classes and Honors College classes concluding with a free session open to the IUP and Indiana community on Thursday, October 1, 2009, in McVitty Auditorium, Sprowls Hall at 7:00 p.m.

This event is sponsored by the IUP Department of Music, the College of Fine Arts, the Honors College, the Asian Studies Committee, and Karma Thegsum Choling (a Tibetan meditation center).

Tom Schmidt and Lama Topgyal are associated with KTD, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, one of the main Tibetan monasteries in the U.S., located outside of Woodstock, N.Y., as well as Kunzang Palchen Ling, a Tibetan center in Redhook, N.Y. In their sessions, they will provide demonstrations of Tibetan instruments and discuss their use and significance in Tibetan Buddhist liturgical music.

Lama Tashi Topgyal is from Raktrul Monastery in eastern Tibet. He received empowerments, reading transmissions, and explanations regarding the treasure texts of Terchen Barway Dorje from Lama Karma Thupthen, the main disciple of the Second Bardor Rinpoche. After many years of study, Lama Tashi went into a nine-year, nine-month retreat. He came to the U.S. in 2003 to teach at Kunzang Palchen Ling.

Tom Schmidt is director of Karma Thegsum Choyang Music, a studio associated with KTD and dedicated to the recording and preservation of Tibetan liturgical music. In 1997, Schmidt acted as liaison between the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery and Martin Scorsese's film Kundun, about the life of the XIV Dalai Lama, when scenes were shot in the main shrine room of the monastery. In the summer of 1999 Schmidt traveled to Tibet, China, Nepal, and India to further his research of Kagyu sacred music and recorded ceremonies at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. On December 28, 2001, Tom recorded the Karma Pakshi Chant with His Holiness the seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa and 3,000 monks in Bodhgaya India. In 2004, Schmidt produced a benefit concert for Karma Triyana Dharmachakra that included Philip Glass as principal guest artist; in 2005 a second benefit concert with Lori Anderson; and, in 2008 a third with Jack DeJohnette and Pat Metheny. Schmidt’s Tibetan musical studies have been guided by Lama Tashi Dhondup, Lama Phuntsok Bista, Tenzin Chonyi, Yeshe Namdag, and Umdze Lodro Samphel, principal chant master of the Rumtek Monastery. (Select for a more complete bio of Tom Schmidt.)

All are welcome to attend the session on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. in McVitty Auditorium in Sprowls Hall. Attendance vouchers will be available for IUP students. For more information, contact Dr. Linda Jennings at