Welcome!


I am a violinist, an ethnomusicologist, a composer, and a music educator. 

I have been mesmerized by sound for as long as I can remember; by the inflections of language and the sounds of musical instruments. Whether listening to sound or making it, I am captivated by its power to affect us emotionally and physiologically.

The violin is my creative centre, an instrument that has kept me spellbound  since I first saw one being played on television when I was two. I think of the violin as my first language. It is my expressive language and my athletic field. 


The peculiar social circumstances of my childhood deeply influenced the way I understand music. Ours was the anomalous brown family living in a 'white' Canadian community. My parents enjoyed hosting parties, and accompanied the fusion meals they served their guests with the East Meets West fusion albums of the ‘70s. It's no surprise that my creative happy place lies in fusing disparate ideas and musics, and in crossing the lines between artistic disciplines. I especially love the challenge of working with non-Western rhythm (especially tabla, as featured on my three albums); and of being choreographed. Yes, I dance and play simultaneously - and no, I’ve never dropped my violin while diving into a lunge, even if I want you to think I might! 


You can see more photos of my choreographic work
 here.


~


Quick!
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sitar?
India? Something exotic? Meditation?
We don’t always think about how music holds subconscious meaning, especially sound without words. Visit my
 Research page and check out my blog posts (below) if you'd like to know about my research. My focus over the past decade has been equity in Canadian music (particularly the heritage institutions--orchestras, opera companies, conservatories and music faculties). I have also researched the role of music in devotion, and the complex social responsibility of community music school teaching. 


~


I have taught music—violin, viola, fiddle, classical theory, and jazz theory for non-jazzers—for a very long time. I became my violin teacher’s assistant at the age of 17. Over the years, I've acquired a good toolkit of teaching strategies and I love passing on what I know about music.
To learn more about what I  offer, please visit my Teaching page.

 

~


As of June, 2019, my home base is Vancouver, British Columbia, the city that has been tugging at my heartstrings for as long as I can remember.

 

PS. Call me “Doc” if you want to, but be aware that mine is a humanities Ph.D. The realm of hospitals, emergency medicine, engineering, and aircraft belongs to the other Dr. Attariwalas in my family.

Or you could just call me Parmela (with an “r”).

 

Wondering how to pronounce my name? 
 It sounds like:
Pahr'mullah Atahr'ee wah la


or for Indo-European linguists:
Pār'malā Atārīwālā


 

"Re-sounding the Orchestra" live! (June 6, 2019)

"Re-sounding the Orchestra", the research report commissioned by Orchestras Canada and co-authored by Soraya Peerbaye and myself has been officially released today. 

The report is based on 16 months of research, including interviews and roundtables with more than 40 people…

Read more

Against Nature - 5 star review! (May 26, 2019)

Having traversed this extraordinary country two months ago in order to make a new home on its west coast, late spring finds me back in Toronto. I'm here for a remounting of James Kudelka, Alex Poch-Goldin and James Rolfe's extraordinary--and…

Read more

Two decades in (January 4, 2019)

Hard to believe that we're two decades into the second millennium.  And twenty-five years since I landed in Toronto, intending only to kill the length of time necessary to renew my visa to the UK ... and perhaps make a…

Read more

Omnivorous Listening Blog (May 22, 2017)

I am back in Toronto after a wonderful winter semester sojourn at Brandon University. And really, the winter wasn't so bad. It was actually a relief to go through a winter of sunny, cold days and clean air instead of…

Read more

Hello, Brandon! (January 11, 2017)

Winter 2017 finds me in beautiful, snowy Brandon, Manitoba as the Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy. What can I say? It's my dream gig: thinking about and conducting research on policy, social justice, equity and music, plus…

Read more

Spring, nature and movement (May 9, 2016)

Spring has finally arrived in Toronto. After a mild winter, I'd been looking forwards to a long, lovely spring; but no. Winter decided to show up after all: in April!

Under the superficial layer of snow and frozen grass, life…

Read more

Join our mailing list for the latest news

Previous events

NOW Society perform Lisa Cay Miller's, "Handtuch von Anna".

online

36 musicians and four artists spread across three countries contributed to the performance of Lisa Cay Miller's comprovisation, "Handtuch von Anna". Edited by sound engineers Sheldon Zaharko (Vancouver) and Ron Ruiten (Amsterdam)

Free! Donations welcome (all proceeds will go towards NOW Society musicians' fees for the remainder of the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society - Creative Music Series #8

online!

The fourth of a seven night series of online improvisations between Vancouver-based and Holland-based musicians. June 25th will include trios and sextents with Onno Goveart (drums), Aram Bakarian (guitar), Lisa Cay Miller (piano), Melissa Hubert (flute), Torsten Muller (bass), and Parmela Attariwala (viola). see http://nowsociety.org for more information (coming soon)

Free! Donations welcome (all donations go towards NOW musicians' fees for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society_Creative Music Series #8

online

The extraordinary experiment uniting improvising musicians from Vancouver with improvising musicians in Holland, New York, Toronto and Melbourne begins June 27th at 7pm Pacific (June 28 0:00 UTC) and runs daily through July 3.

Free! (donations welcome. All proceeds will go towards musicians' payments for the 2020 season)

NOW Society (Vancouver) Improvisation workshop - led by Parmela Attariwala

 —  —

online!

The NOW Society's Spring 2020 workshops -- Wednesdays running April 29-June 17th will be running online! To register please go to now@nowsociety.org

Free with NOW Society membership ($5)

POSTPONED: New Work premiere at Esker Foundation, Calgary

Esker Foundation, 444, 1011-9th Ave. E., Calgary

Premiere performance of a commissioned musical "response" to Jeffrey Gibson's "Time Carriers" and Nep Sidhu's "Divine of Form, Formed in the Divine (Medicine for a Nightmare)". Details forthcoming ...

Jan6

Artist-in-Residence

 —  —

Canadian Music Centre--B.C. Region

Thrilled to be the inaugural artist-in-residence at CMC BC's Murray Adaskin Salon for the month of January. I'm there working on a new commission for the Esker Foundation in Calgary. I'm also taking the opportunity to read through the solo violin repertoire housed in the CMC library.

Dec16

The Aphotic Zone (Redshift Music Society)

Pyatt Hall, 843 Seymour St., Vancouver

"A deep dive into the depths of the ocean where light cannot reach. A contemporary classical music concert in complete darkness" featuring works by, Anna Hostman, Bekah Simms, Jason Doell, Rodney Sharman Tickets $20 (general) /$15 (students/seniors/artists)

Dec12

NOW Society, performing the music of Lisa Cay Miller

8east, 8 East Pender St, Vancouver

NOW Society Creative Music Series #7 December 12 @ 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm Doors at 8, music at 8:30 $20/10/pwyc