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CoM alumni to open for Gipsy Kings during FSU Homecoming’s 75th anniversary

The Maharajah Flamenco Trio, Silviu Ciulei, David Cobb and Ramin Yazdanpanah. (Tania Maldovan)

By: Rodrigo Santa Mariar, Anna Prentiss, Jasmine Hur | Published: October 0, 2023 | 10:27 AM | See original story at

The Maharajah Flamenco Trio, an international musical group made of alumni from Florida State University’s College of Music, will come full circle with an Opening Nights performance.

The Maharajah Flamenco Trio (MFT) will open for Gipsy Kings at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Adderley Amphitheater in Cascades Park as part of the 75th anniversary Homecoming weekend.

“We are thrilled to present the Maharajah Flamenco Trio as the opening artists for the Gipsy Kings,” said Jennifer Wright, director of Opening Nights at FSU. “Not only are the group outstanding musicians, but they are also graduates of Florida State University, where the trio was originally founded. We’re excited to work with them and feel it’s a natural fit.”

The Gipsy Kings popularized and expanded the genre of nuevo flamenco (“new flamenco”) internationally and inspired a wave of musicians across the globe, including the Maharajah Flamenco Trio, which fuses the art of flamenco with jazz, classical and world music.

“You can’t play this music without heart,” said David Cobb, bassist for the trio.  “Flamenco is about the expression of all that is experienced in a lifetime — from the highest joys to the lowest sadness. All of that is in the music and can only be expressed with the total self. Working with MFT has been a wonderful vehicle for discovering that mode of performance.”

Along with Cobb, the international trio is composed of Grammy award-winning guitarist and founder Silviu Ciulei and percussionist and didgeridoo virtuoso Ramin Yazdanpanah.

Through dynamic and engaging performances, the trio connects audiences to the music, cultures and people that inspire them, creatively blending their worldly performance style with Ciulei’s compositions.

Ciulei is a Romanian-born guitarist who immigrated to the United States to study music. He studied under Professor Bruce Holzman, then director of FSU’s guitar program, and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. During his time at the College of Music, he met Cobb and Yazdanpanah and formed the trio.

Ciulei is now head of Guitar Studies at the University of Florida.

“Our success is a reflection of the quality of our experience and the quality of education at FSU,” Ciulei said. “If we made the choice to go to different schools, none of this would have happened.”

Since 2011, the group has released two critically acclaimed studio albums, performed across the country, participated as guest speakers in various events and conducted musical workshops for people of all ages to spread the Flamenco musical language across the United States.

The College of Music will be hosting the trio on Thursday, Oct. 19, for two masterclasses. The first, “Music Where We Are,” will be at 2:30 p.m., and the second one on guitar will be at 5 p.m.

Now, 12 years later, the trio will participate in the university’s 75th anniversary Homecoming celebrations. Apart from the Gipsy King’s concert, the Florida State Seminoles will host the Duke Blue Devils football team the next day, one of the many events enhancing FSU’s 2023 Homecoming weekend.

“Everywhere we play across the country, we’re always plugging FSU,” Yazdanpanah said. “We always feel a part of Tallahassee, of Florida State. Coming back feels like a homecoming for us as well. The energy is going to be incredible.”

Other weekend events include the tailgates hosted by each college, the FSU Alumni Awards, the Homecoming Breakfast presenting the 2023 Grads Made Good and FSU’s 75th Anniversary Homecoming Parade.

For tickets and more information about Opening Nights at FSU, visit or call the Opening Nights Tickets Office at 850-644-7670.

For more information about Homecoming, visit

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