LjdeS’ -- a splashy jump from classical to cinematic
This years Sarasavi and Signis award for best original music score for film, was awarded to Lakshman Joseph de Saram. The music was written for the multi award winning film “Mille Soya.” Although new to Sri Lankan cinema, Lakshman enjoys a solid reputation as one of this country’s foremost classical musicians.
Lakshman Joseph de Saram says he is quite flattered, and happily surprised that the local critics loved what he did with Boodhee’s “Mille Soya.’’

“A sound classical technique and understanding, be it eastern or western, has enabled him to slide into the other forms of music,” says Lakshman. The playing or writing of pop, rap, anything really, other than perhaps pure folk, is not too difficult to get into if one has a hardcore classical background, he says.

“As for my understanding of Sri Lanka’s sounds, it is an on going learning experience enhanced considerably by my very close artistic association with Maestro Premasiri Khemadasa.”

At 16, Lakshman’s parents sent him to NYC to audition for the School of Performing Arts. He says he will never forget that day, being in the main waiting room with fellow kids like Jennifer Aniston and Danny Matsukava, who is now principle bassoonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He recalls: “We were all nervous as hell.”

Alongside Performing Arts, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard Pre College. Moreover, he was also able to meet and learn from some outstanding musicians. His brother Rohan who was conductor of the American Philharmonic Orchestra, had a wonderful network of these musical luminaries. That whole episode lasted around 7 years, and laid the foundation for Lakshamn’s lifelong association with classical music.

In Sri Lanka Lakshman Joseph’s foray into music started when his brother called and told him that President Premadasa wanted to start a professional orchestra in Colombo, and asked whether he (Rohan) could lead it. He had first asked Eileen Prins, but she had by then retired and was in no mood to make a comeback.

Lakshman broke into film music in 1991, when he met Boodee Keerthisena in NYC when he was studying there. That was the seed of their many collaborations. Almost 12 years later at a mutual friend’s roof top party, Boodhee asked Lakshman very casually to try writing some music for his film “Mille Soya.’’

He reluctantly accepted the challenge and was constantly second guessing his every move. “I was fortunate to have had some of the best studio musicians in the country working with me. It made it that much less impossible a task,’’ he says.

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