Principal Players

Sachiththa Fernando

Concertmaster
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Sachiththa began learning electronic keyboards with Mrs. Cheing at the age of 8. Later he became a pupil of Mrs. Ruvini Hapugalle with whom he studied for 10 years. He studies violin under the renowned violinist and teacher, Mr. Ananda Dabare. Since 2014, he has been learning composition under Mr. Eshantha J. Peiris. He has been the all-island prize-winner in Piano and Electronic Keyboards on many occasions. He is a LTCL and DipABSM diploma holder respectively for Violin and Piano. He is also the current concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka and has led several other ensembles in the country. In 2014, he had his début as a composer with the SOSL, world-premièring his original programme piece “Battle of the Space Warriors”. He has also written music for several British and American short/feature films in the recent years. He has been commissioned by the NYOSL and the GMSC at several occasions. He also works as an arranger and conductor for several pop artists in the country. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. Sachiththa has been a visiting lecturer in Music at the University of Sri Jayawardanapura and the University of Kelaniya.

Sanduni Amarakoon

Associate Concertmaster
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Sanduni held a violin for the very first time at the age of 3 under the guidance of Dr. V. Balaji in India and later studied under Mrs. Thushani Jayawardena. She studied Piano under the guidance of Mrs. Pushpa Senaratne. Sanduni is currently studying the Violin under the renowned Violinist and teacher, Mr.Ananda Dabare and is an ARSM diploma holder for Violin. She is an undergraduate of both CINEC Campus and The University of the Visual and Performing Arts following the degrees of (BA) in English and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) respectively. Apart from music Sanduni likes reading, watching movies and swimming.

“I have been a member of the Gustav Mahler Society of Colombo since it was founded and I’m proud to be a part of it especially because it gives young musicians a rich musical experience with ample opportunities.”

Chamila Madusanka

Head of Outreach
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Chamila started his musical journey when he was 14 years old under Mr. Piyasena Haputhanna. He began studying Violin under the guidance of Mr. Dayabandara Ilangakon and later with Mr.Sulara Nanayakkara and Mrs.Ursula Nelius. Chamila has performed with several ensembles in the island for many years and featured as a soloist with the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka in 2016. He is currently working as a violin teacher at the Lyceum International School. Chamila enjoys playing Cricket and Volleyball in his free time.

“In my opinion, the GMSC is a welcoming institute for any musician coming from any background.”

Manoj Wijewardana

Principal Second Violin
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Manoj received his first lessons on Violin at the age of 14, under the guidance of Mr. Asanka Perera, Mr. Ashoka Pushpakumara and Mr. Lionel Bandara. He later went on to study under Sulara Nanayakkara and Ursula Nelius. Manoj is an alumnus of Mahanama College, Colombo, Royal College, Colombo - 07 and the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo (UVPA). He graduated from the UVPA, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts, majoring in Violin Performance. He has held the positions of Principal Second Violin of the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka and Concertmaster of the Orchestra of the UVPA, prior to being appointed as the Principal Second Violinist of the GMSC. In addition to classical music performances, Manoj has also been part of Theatre productions in Sri Lanka.

Jayana Gunasekara

Associate Principal Second Violin
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Jayana picked up the violin at a fairly young age under the tutelage of Mr.Ananda Dabare. He went on to win several awards for Violin performance at the Royal College of Music Examinations. He is also the concertmaster of the Ananda College Western Orchestra and Principal Second Violin of the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka. He has also performed with several other ensembles in Colombo.

“I am so happy to be performing with the GMSC! In my leisure time, I like to listen to music and go swimming.”

P.G. Dharmasiri

Principal Viola
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Dharmasiri served in the Sri Lanka Navy Band for 30 years, performing an array of instruments including Viola, Violin, Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone. Subsequently, he was promoted to the position of Bandmaster of the Sri Lanka Navy Band for his excellence. He is a versatile musician not only in the Western Classical discipline but also, the Indian discipline. Dharmasiri successfully completed the Military Band Master Course in Pakistan in the year 2004. Currently, he serves as a visiting faculty member for Viola and Clarinet at the University of Visual & Performing Arts. He enjoys listening to music and reading books in his free time.

“It is a great privilege to be a part of the Mahler Orchestra family and I believe it's a great platform for me to improve my knowledge on Mahler’s music and the vast Orchestral repertoire while enjoying my time performing with the wonderful orchestra.”

Saranga Cooray

Principal Cello
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Saranga Cooray was introduced to the cello at a very early age by his father and commenced cello lessons under the tutelage of Mrs.Savithri Jayathilaka. He is an ATCL, LTCL diploma holder from the Trinity College of Music, London and has a Diploma for Cello from the Royal School of Music, London. He has many prices under his belt from both the Trinity College London and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He finds it a privilege to have had the opportunity of having masterclasses by the world-famous American Cellist, Joshua Roman in 2011. Saranga is a member and Principal Cellist of several orchestras both in Sri Lanka and India. He enjoys teaching his pupils at home in his Cello Studio.

Darshana Amarasinghe

Head of Outreach
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Darshana Amarasinghe has been playing the Violin and the Cello since he was 13 and began studying under the teachers Mr. Ashoka Pushpakumara and Mr. Lionel Bandara as a student of Royal College Colombo. Later, he studied under the tutelage of Sulara Nanayakkara and Ursula Nelius. Darshana showcased his talents as a violinist, cellist and conductor from his school days at several school concerts. He has performed with many classical ensembles in the country and served as the Associate Principal Second Violin of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra prior to being invited to join the Cello section. Apart from Western Classical music, Darshana has contributed as a recording artist to the Sri Lankan pop and film music industry. His interest in other genres of music has led him to showcase his talent as a fusion violinist, with Rakitha Wikramarathne and “Naadro”, one of Sri Lanka’s leading percussion ensemble

Andrea Leitan

Principal Double Bass
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Andrea Leitan was born into a family in which music has played an important role for generations. With her father and brother who play double bass, it was only a matter of time before she also took a keen interest in the instrument leaving aside her clarinet which she had been playing in school from the age of 12. Andrea started playing double bass from the age of 15 and was taught by her father Mr Roque Leitan and Mrs Dushyanthi Perera. She began playing double bass in the NYOSL in 2003 and the SOSL in 2007 and went on to perform as Principal Double Bass with several orchestras both in Colombo and India. Andrea has completed her Master of Financial Economics at the University of Colombo.

“Performing with the Mahler Orchestra has been a nice experience as there are many young musicians in the orchestra and it indeed helps to explore other works which are not performed usually in Sri Lanka”

Jasiel Peter

Associate Principal Double Bass
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Jasiel holds a Master's in Music (Double Bass) from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. He has studied Double Bass under Mr.Leon Bosch. Currently, he is teaching, and working as a freelance Bassist with chamber groups and orchestras.

“What I love about the Gustav Mahler Orchestra is that we perform and promote repertoire written by Sri Lankan composers, apart from other well known repertoires. Playing and meeting with different musicians across Sri Lanka is another compelling reason for me.”

Lashikala Hettiarachchi

Principal Flute
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Lashikala began her journey on the Oriental flute under the tutelage of Mr. Hemapala Perera, and she was a multiple time prize winner at several National Competitions while in school. She began playing the Wesrtern Flute under the guidance of Ms.Lylani Weerakoon. Soon after she joined the National Youth Orchestra where she had her first experience performing with an Orchestra. She has been performing with Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo since its inception and was later appointed as Principal Flute.She is a Visharad holder for Oriental Flute and LTCL holder for Western Flute. She received the National Youth award on several occasions. Lashikala is a graduate of the University of Visual and Performing Arts and currently serves as a Visiting Faculty member of the same University.

“I am extremely fond of playing with Gustav Mahler Orchestra which is my first appointment as a Principal Flute and the orchestra is a valuable learning ground and I could gain much fluency in orchestral playing.”

Kusalvin Dabare

Associate Principal Flute
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Kusalvin began his Music studies in 2001 under Mr. Lal De Saram. Mr.T. Greezy and Mr. B. Manatunga were his first Flute teachers. He is an alumnus of Royal College, Colombo - 07, and is currently an undergraduate at the Institute of Chemistry, College of Chemical Sciences. He has several accomplishments under his name including awards from the Trinity College of Music, London and the ‘Bhathkande Vidyapit Visharad’ title for Tabla. Kusalvin, being a versatile musician in many disciplines, is an ardent wind-instrument collector of all kinds. Watching movies and listening to music of many genres are his favourite pastime activities.

“Being a part of the GMSC is an honour and a privilege to me. It gave me the opportunity to play world class music with some of the best musicians in Sri Lanka. The GMSC is nothing but a family with similar interests in classical music and it gives me great pleasure to play good music with them.”

Minuka Jayawardana

Principal Oboe
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Minuka is currently studying at Royal College Colombo 07. Minuka studies Oboe under Srimal Weerasinghe. His first ever musical experience was with the Royal College Western Orchestra. Listening to all genres of music and travelling, as he calls them, his favourite hobbies.

“I have been studying music for a long time and my love for music comes from a very small age. I think I'm humbly proud to be a part of this orchestra as one of the youngest members because this opportunity has opened my world to many more opportunities from meeting a lot of talented musicians to being in many performances.”

Ananda Premasiri

Principal Clarinet
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Ananda started his career in music as a music producer, attached to the Music Division of the Sri lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC). He joined the SLBC in 1976 originally as a Flautist. He holds a Diploma in Clarinet from the Trinity College of Music , London and a Visharad degree from the prestigious Bhatkhande University in Lucknow, India. Subsequently, Ananda joined the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka in 1989. He devotes much of his time to teaching Clarinet.

Uthsara Malaweera Arachchi

Principal Bassoon
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Uthsara started playing the Bassoon at the age of 12 with the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka under the guidance of the late Mr. Dayananda Fernando. He is a product of D. S. Senanayake College, Colombo and Ananda College, Colombo. He was President and Conductor of the Ananda College Western Orchestra. Uthsara holds an ATCL diploma in Bassoon performance from Trinity College, London. He is currently an undergraduate at the College of Chemical Sciences of the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon. Uthsara enjoys reading books, watching movies and experimenting with jazz music on the Bassoon in his free time.

Naveen Fernando

Principal Trumpet
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Naveen Fernando started his music education at St. Peter's College in Colombo. He joined the College’s Western Band and studied under Mr. Daya Karunatilake . Later he joined the Philharmonic Player's Society at the age of 15 under its Music Director late Rohan Joesph De Saram. He is also the current Principal Trumpet of the National Unity Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and Chamber Music Society of Colombo. He is a founding member of the Colombo Wind Orchestra and also the leader and founder of the Colombo Brass Ensemble.

Shakya Abeytunga

Associate Principal Trumpet
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Shakya’s very first musical idol was her father. She joined the school band to learn Trumpet. Mr.Saman Kularatne was her first teacher who inspired her to play orchestral music. She furthered her knowledge in Trumpet Performance under Mr. Naveen Fernando. She is a member of several well-known orchestras in the country. Shakya is currently an undergraduate of the University of Colombo, Faculty of Computing. She shares similar interests in both Music and technologies associated with Artificial Intelligence.

“It is a great opportunity as well as a good experience to play in the Gustav Mahler Orchestra as I get to play a variety of good music, and it helped me improve a lot as well.”

Vidhurinda Samaraweera

Principal Horn
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Vidhurinda serves as the Associate Chief Conductor and the Principal Horn of the GMSC. His teacher and mentor is Mr.Manilal Weerakoon and learnt the Horn as a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Sri lanka representing his alma mater, S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. He has served as Guest Principal Horn in several other local and combined orchestras in Sri Lanka and in 2014 debuted as a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. He has engaged in chamber music performance with a few chamber groups in Sri Lanka as well. Vidhurinda is driven to discover more talent among the young locals and give them opportunities to learn the French Horn and perform in an orchestra.

Ranan Hewawasam

Associate Principal Horn
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Ranan is an alumnus of Ananda College, Colombo and a former member of the Ananda College Western Orchestra. He learnt the Horn under the tutelage of Mr.Manilal Weerakoon. As he picked up the instrument at a commendable pace, he soon entered several other orchestras including the National Youth orchestra of Sri Lanka in which he subsequently became the Principal Horn. Ranan joins forces with Vidhurinda in the GMSC as the Associate Principal Horn and has served the orchestra in its inception and other notable performances. He is an ardent fan of Football and likes to play Football video games in his leisure time.

Prasanna Kumara

Principal Trombonen
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Prasanna is originally a Euphonium player and his skills in Euphonium playing paved the path for him to later become a Trombone player. He is currently attached to the Sri Lanka Police and serves as a full-time bandsman. He has great enthusiasm for brass playing and classical orchestral performance which attracted much attention on him from the existing ensembles in the country in a short span. Prasanna likes teaching Euphonium and Trombone in his freetime.

Dharma Sri Jayaratne

Bass Trombone
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Dharmasri is a retired Major of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). He began his journey at Thurstan College, Colombo where he was taught fundamental music theory. He joined the SLA in 1983 and received basic military training in Diyathalawa. Soon after, in 1984, he joined the Army Band as a Drummer.In 1991, he was given the opportunity to visit the Army School of Music in Pakistan for its famed training programme and excelled in Bugle and Drumming. He joined the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka in 1986 and in the meantime played with the Philharmonic Players Society under Roshan Joseph. Dharmasri visited Pakistan in 2003 for its Bandmaster Training Programme and in 2005, became the Army Bandmaster and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He continued to serve as the Bandmaster and in 2010 became the Chief Instructor of the Army Music School, Panagoda. He retired from the SLA in August, 2018 as a Major. The same year he joined the GMSC. He continues to serve as a Trombonist in several other orchestras.

Thilak Thanthrige

Principal Tuba
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Thilak is an alumnus of Dharmaraja College, Kandy. After leaving college he joined the Bellwood school by the National Youth Council in 1979 to study Trumpet, Baritone, Bagpipe. He joined the Sri Lanka Police Band in 1986 as a Tuba Player. Thilak was a quick learner and later joined several orchestras in the island including the SOSL and the Philharmonic Players Society. Thilak was employed as a trainer of the National Youth Orchestra afterwards. He continues to serve at Sri Lanka Police and has performed with several ensembles including the Colombo Wind Orchestra and the Colombo Brass Ensemble during his long career.

Jithnuka Samaraweera

Principal Timpani
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Jithnuka has been a member of the GMSC since its inception and currently serves as Principal Timpani. He started his orchestral journey at the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka and has performed with various ensembles in the country. He is an alumnus of Royal College, Colombo - 07 and was a conductor of the Royal College Western Orchestra. Jithnuka is also actively engaged in English Theatre as an actor.

Kasun Sanjaya

Principal Percussion
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Haliling from Ampara in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, Kasun’s first musical experience was when he started playing the Accordion. In the school band, he played the Side Drum and Bass Drum in 2002. He is an alumnus of D.S.Senanayaka College, Ampara. In 2007, he joined the Sri Lanka Police and after receiving basic training, joined the Police Band in 2009 where he played the Drum Kit and Bass Drum. In 2014 he began learning Latin, Indian, Arabic and African percussion traditions and was introduced to the Timpani in the Band. Kasun joined the GMSC in 2018 and currently holds the chair of Principal Percussionist. His hobby is collecting stamps.