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Tabla Virtuoso Sandeep Das
23 January 1971 [|
|Genres||Indian classical music, Classical Crossover|
|Occupation(s)||Tabla Player, Composer|
|Years active||fl. ca. 1985–present|
|Associated acts||Silk Road Ensemble, Hum Ensemble|
Early life and education
Sandeep completed his schooling from St. Xavier's High School, Patna (1975–1985). He is a Gold Medalist in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University. He started learning tabla under Shiv Kumar Singh at the age of 8. He was three times the national drumming champion and the youngest drummer ever to be graded by all-India radio.
Sandeep started learning from Kishan Maharaj at the age of 9. Sandeep would travel on weekends from his city Patna to Benaras, where his Guru lived. Later, his family shifted to Benares so that his musical education could continue unhindered. After 11 years of tutelage in Benaras Gharana, Das moved to Delhi in 1990, to pursue his career as a professional Tabla player.
Das debuted outside India in 1991, with steel drum bands in Trinidad. In 2001, he performed with the New York Philharmonic, under the direction of Kurt Masur for a work composed by Kayhan Kalhor. In April 2012, he premiered a work written for him by eminent composer Evan Ziporyn, as a soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
He has been nominated for the Grammy Awards twice. In 2003 his recording The Rain was nominated for a Grammy in the World Music category. In this album, Sandeep Das collaborated with Shujaat Khan and Kayhan Kalhor. In 2009, a recording with Silk Road Ensemble got him a nomination for the Grammy in the Classical Crossover section for the album Off the Map. His track Sulvasutra, composed by Evan Ziporyn, featured in this album.
Silk Road Project
Sandeep has composed for and performed internationally with the Silk Road Ensemble of Yo-Yo Ma since the group’s founding in 2000. When he started practicing with the Silk Road, Yo-Yo Ma was surprised to learn that, Das did not read music scores, but could memorize a piece.
With the ensemble, he has performed extensively around the world, including, the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York in 2008, BBC Proms in 2004 and 2009, and the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympic Games in Shanghai. His composition"Mohini" was chosen as the theme music for a 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road, produced by Japanese TV channel NHK.
Also a cultural and educational entrepreneur, Sandeep founded HUM (Harmony and Universality through Music) in 2009, an ensemble of world-class artists whose goal is to promote global understanding through musical performance and education. The ensemble is a spin-off of the Silk Road project. In March 2010, HUM presented its World Premiere Concert at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi and Birla Sabhaghar, Kolkatta. In February 2011, Hum Ensemble performed at the Rhythm Of Life Concert at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi and NCPA, Mumbai.
In November 2012, Hum Ensemble performed at the World Harmony Concert, at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. The concert received critical acclaim in Indian media. Through these concerts, HUM raises funds for its endeavors to support education in arts of differently-abled children. HUM also plans to provide health insurance for aging artists.
Sandeep Das is regularly invited to teach at prestigious institutions. In 2012, he was invited by the School of Education, Harvard University for a course on Arts in Education. He has taken masterclasses at Juilliard School of Music, Berkley School of Music, Rhodes Island School of Design, Harvard University Academy of Music in Villecroze, France and Stanford University, among many others.
A Playlist Without Borders, Silk Road Ensemble, 2013, Label: Sony Masterworks
Mumbai, Big Grenadilla/Mumbai, with Evan Ziporyn, 2012
Awards And Recognitions
- Grammy Nomination, Best Classical Crossover Album, 2009, for album Off The Map.
- Grammy Nomination, Best World Music Album, 2005, for the album The Rain.
- Awarded Chattra Vibhushan by Banaras Hindu University
- Awarded Significant Achievement Award by St. Xavier’s High School
- Awarded Patna college Blue by Patna College
Sandeep Das resides between New Delhi, India and Boston, USA. He met is future wife Tripti while they were cadets of the Nation Cadet Corps, at the 1985 Republic Day Celebrations of India. They have two daughters, Sakshi and Sonakshi.
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- "Arts & Culture". On the Silk Road again. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
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- "Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble Documentary, The Road to Beijing". Stanford Program On International & Cross-Cultural Education. SPICE Publications. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
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- "Striking his own beat, his own rhythm". The Hindu. 7 May 2004.