Born in Indianapolis in 1936, John Schlenck graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 1957. He served for many years on the musical staff of the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey Dance Schools. As music director of the Vedanta Society of New York since 1961, Schlenck has composed many songs and a number a larger choral works with Vedantic and other spiritual texts from the world’s great traditions.
While grounded in the Western classical tradition, Schlenck’s compositions sometimes incorporate elements of Indian music. His instrumental works include three symphonies, a clarinet concerto, and numerous chamber and solo compositions.
THE ILLUMINED SELF: A CHORAL CANTATA
Vedantic Arts Ensemble directed by John Schlenck accompanied by an East-West instrumental ensemble.
A spiritual journey told through music, based on Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination & the Upanishads. Full of yearning and awe, a spiritual aspirant approaches an illumined teacher, receives instruction, practices intense meditation and at the end attains enlightenment.
The Upanishads are the ancient Sanskrit scriptures (from 8th century BCE) which form the core spiritual thought of Vedantic Hinduism. Shankara (8th century CE) was the first philosopher to consolidate the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and the divine (Brahman).