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Maestro Dr Premasiri Khemadasa

The MASTER OF MUSIC who endeavored to develop a unique style of music & puts Sri Lankan music on to the top level. He combined Sinhala folk tunes, Hindustani music, Western music and many other streams of music in his compositions while adapting them to fit contemporary music.

Dr. Premasiri Khemadasa


Premasiri Khemadasa
(born January 25, 1937) also known as “Khemadasa Master” is one of the most influential composers in Sri Lankan music. Exploring the various styles of music around the world Khemadasa endeavored to develop a unique style of music. He combined Sinhala folk tunes, Hindustani music, Western music and many other streams of music in his compositions while adapting them to fit contemporary music.

Early life

Khemadasa grew up in Talpitiya, Wadduwa and attended Sri Sumangala College and St. John’s College, Panadura. As a teenager, he became a gifted flautist.

Khemadasa was asked to come to the Radio Ceylon for an interview on the day he was scheduled to take his Senior School Certificate examination. He finished the examination much ahead of time and travelled to the audition. He passed the audition and became a member of Radio Ceylon.


Maestro Khemadasa

Film composer

Khemadasa debut as a film composer came with Sirisena Wimalaweera’s Roddie Kella. He then began collaborating with acclaimed director Lester James Peries handling the music for films like Golu Hadawatha and Nidhanaya. Critics praised his film scores and he was honorally dubbed “Khemadasa master.” Khemadasa’s signature in film music is molded by the use of elements from Classical Western music and other sources to heighten the emotion suggested by the picture. Some of his compositions are influenced by Western composers of opera such as Giuseppe Verdi and Vincenzo Bellini.

Lately Premasiri Khemadasa has given his contribution to films such as Agnidahaya and very recently to Ammavarune, the last film by Lester James Peiris who has announced his retirement.

Apart from film music Dr. Khemadasa has composed music for teledramas, theatre, etc. His collaboration with director Jayantha Chandrasiri has turned out remarkable products whereas the themes he created for Chandrasiri’s television series Dandubasnamanaya have shown unprecedented power of mesmerization. He has composed symphonies like Muhuda and Mage kale mavni. The presence of operatic vocals in his music is explained by his vast knowledge of opera. Khemadasa is the only known Sri Lankan musician who practises and creates opera. Khemadasa has a large group of students whom he trains for performing in his operas. His famous operas include Manasawila and Doramandalawa. Recently he created the opera, Agni about early civilization. His operas, being written in Sinhalese, forms what can be recognized as Sinhalese opera. Khemadasa and his pupils have conducted shows in several countries. After a layoff following health problems he has returned to the fiels of music.

Via Wikipedia.

He passed away at the age of 71.

May he attain nibbana.

More resource about Maestro Dr Premasiri Khemadasa;

* Premasiri Khemadasa
* A man on fire
* Sondura Warnadaasi - an Opera by Khemadasa
* Sonic canvas of Premasiri Khemadasa


Special thank goes to Chamara (Apramana)

Posted on Friday, October 24, 2008 @ 23:34:55 LKT by

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