Shashank Subramanyam

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Shashank Subramanyam


Shashank at Dhaka
Shashank performing at Bangalore - Jan 2017
Background information
Birth name Shashank Subramanyam
Born Rudrapatna, India
Genres Carnatic music
Occupation(s) Musician / instrumentalist
Instruments Venu flute
Years active 1984–present

Shashank Subramanyam is a Grammy-nominated renowned exponent of the Bamboo Flute from India and specialises in Indian Classical Music.[1] He was a child prodigy and began performing from his age of 6 in 1984 and has performed in the top concert circuit for over three decades.

Early life[edit]

Shashank Subramanyam was born in a Tamil Brahmin family (Sankethi) in Rudrapatna, India to Hemalatha and Prof. Subramanyam. His forefathers belong to Tirunelveli dist of Tamil Nadu. He was trained by his father and by vocalists R.K. Srikantan, Palghat K.V. Narayanaswami, and Hindustani music under Pandit Jasraj.[2] Shashank is married to Shirisha, a Bharatanatyam dancer. Shashank and Shirisha have a daughter Swara and son Samvit and live in Chennai, India.[3]

Performing career[edit]

Shashank performed for the general public in 1984 for the first time at the age of 6.

A young Shashank at his Eight – 1986
A ten year old Shashank photographed by Times of India, Bangalore

Shashank began performing at the top circuit in 1990 with major performances in Adelaide, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and in Singapore followed by his major performance at Shastri hall in Dec 1990.[4] His career-defining moment came when the Music Academy invited Shashank, just 12 years old, to perform in the senior most performance slot "SADAS concert" at The Music Academy, Chennai 1 January 1991 – a record that is yet to be broken.

Shashank Subramanyam performing the Sadas concert at The Music Academy. 1 Jan 1991

Shashank has been a senior flautist in the field of Carnatic Music and has performed, taught and lectured in prestigious festivals, concert series, venues and educational institutions in India and around the world. Worthy of mention is his effort in taking Carnatic Music to schools in all states across India through SPIC MACAY and in Europe through school concert projects. He has presented over 1000 concerts in educational institutions alone.

Shashank has also worked extensively presenting collaborative performances with host of musicians from India and around the world including John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, Wuppertal and Shanxi Symphony Orchestras, The New Jungle Orchestra, Mikkel Nordso, Terry Riley, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Zakir Hussain, Ustad Sultan Khan, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ronu Mazumdar, Ustad Shujaat Khan,[5] and Debu Choudhury.

Shashank performs in a wide range of concert environments from the pure Indian classical, Symphonies, Jazz, Films and crossover projects. He has led many ensembles and also has been a guest artist on many famed bands like Remember Shakti, New Jungle Orchestra, Blue Lotus, etc.


Shashank has evolved a Flute playing style of his own and has been an inspiration to flute players in India and around the world. Scores of fingering and breath control techniques introduced by Shashank are revolutionary and has made Carnatic Music and its Gamakas (Slides) sound seamless on the Flute. The use of multi flute transposed fingering technique and dual octave production have won him world acclaim. Specialized in Carnatic classical and trained in Hindustani Classical music, he incorporates patterns of improvisation from both systems of Music from India and uses a range of flutes to cover octaves that are not supported by the traditional Carnatic flute. Shashank is known for his intricate (Improvisations), melodious keerthana ( composition) renderings and pulsating kalpanaswaram (Faster and rhythmic improvisations). His concerts generally include a Ragam Tanam Pallavi as a central piece, normally composed by Shashank himself.[6]

The BBC World TV did a documentary on Shashank titled Destination Music, recently.

Pandit Ravishankar, Balamuralikrishna, Shashank

Awards and recognition[edit]

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by Govt of India for the year 2017

Grammy Nomination for the album Floating Point with John McLaughlin – 2009

Kalaimamani' the prestigious state award / title from the Tamil Nadu Government in the year 2001.

A Top ranking in the All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV).

Empaneled artist of the ICCR under Outstanding and senior category since 1995.

Proclamation of the city of Memphis, TN (Shelby County Govt, USA) – May 2014

Proclamation of the city Tulsa, OK – USA – April 2010

Kuzhal Arasar by Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago.

Shashank was awarded a direct A" Grade ranking in the All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV) at his age of 13.

The National Integration Award ( Spirit of Unity series) – 1991.

Rotary awards of excellence 1995 and 1997.

Asthana Vidwan of Sringeri Mutt, by His Holiness Shankaracharya of Sringeri, Karnataka – May 2000

Countries visited[edit]

India, USA, China, Canada, Macedonia, Hungary, Bangladesh, UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Iran, Morocco, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines and Korea.

Major Performances[edit]

Rashtrapathi Bhavan (The President's Palace at New Delhi),

Shashank in performance with Ustad Zakir Hussain – Tabla – 2007

Sawai Gandharva Festival-Pune,

Shashank at Saptak Festival, Ahmedabad
Shashank at Theater De La Ville, Paris
Shashank at Fes Festival, Morocco

Ganga Mahotsav-Haridwar, Saptak_Ahmedabad, Navi Mumbai Sageet Utsav, Collaborative performance with Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra, Shanxi Orchestra - China, Skopje Jazz Festival – Macedonia, NCPA – Mumbai, Fes Festival in Morocco - West Africa, Roudaki Hall - Tehran-Iran, Vishnu Digambar Festival-Delhi, Ravishankar Center-Delhi, Harivallabh Sangeet Samora-Jallandhar, the Music Academy-Chennai, Chowdiah Memorial Hall-Bangalore, India Music Group – Bombay, The Mysore Palace Ramakrishna Mission-Calcutta, Dover Lane Festival Calcutta, Bengal Music Festival - Dhaka Bangladesh, Universities across the USA, ITC SRA Festival-Delhi, The Smithsonian, Kennedy Center and National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., J. Paul Getty Hall -Hollywood, Cerritos Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, Eastman School of MusicRochester, World Music Institute – New York, Asian Art Museum – San Francisco, Amadeus Mozart Conservatory-Salzburg, Austria, Lausanne Conservatory-Switzerland, Xebec Hall and Across Fukuoka in Kobe and Fukuoka Japan, Women's University- Osaka, Japan, Tsuyama Jazz Festival-Japan, Hong Kong Museum of Art – Hong Kong, World Flute ConferenceNashville, Theater De- La-Ville, UNESCO & Musee Guimet in Paris-France, Tropical Institute – Amsterdam, Music Gebou-Amsterdam, Rasa house of World Culture-Antwerp-Belgium, Universities across Australia and New Zealand, Judith Wright Center- Brisbane, Port Fairy Folk Festival-Australia, Darwin Entertainment Center-Darwin, Richard Strauss Conservatory-Munich, WDR-Cologne, Bayriche Radio – Munich and Nurnberg, Rytmisk Conservatory-Copenhagen, Opera House-Copenhagen, University of Uppsala-Sweden, The Club in Oslo-Norway, International Book Fair-Torino-Italy, World Sacred Music Festivals- France, Germany and Belgium, The Lowry in Manchester-UK, The Sage in Gateshead – UK, Modigliani Hall -Padova-Italy, Museum Rietberg -Zurich, The Munchen Residency in Munich-Germany, SLF Auditorium, Singapore, Singapore Radio, Esplanade Theater-Singapore, Putra World Trade Center – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The Adelaide Festival- Australia, Improvisation Festival in Lausanne – Switzerland, Seoul Plaza in Seoul – Korea, Les Oriental Festival -France, Festival of Nantes-France, Abbaye Royal Du Fontevraud in Samur -France, Royal Society Flute Conference in Manchester-UK, Oriental Festival in Evora, Portugal, The Meyrin Forum in Geneva, Trondheim Festival, Norway and a host of other institutions across the world.


He has released over 70CDs and 10 DVDs.

  • Charukeshi - 2016
  • Shashank with Sai Symphony - CD 2015
  • Shashank with Sai Symphony - DVD 2015
  • Seven Continents - Cross over CD with Shashank and Mikkel Nordso - 2015
  • Spirit of Krishna – Shashank and the Folk Musicians of Rajasthan – 2012
  • Shashank, John Sund and Phalgun – Trio Indo Danish jazz CD 2011
  • Gambian Nights - India African collaboration with Kora Player Dawda - 2011
  • RoR Touch Part 2- a Fusion album – EMI / India Beat Records – 2008
  • Sundara – DVD – 2010
  • Mohana – DVD- 2010
  • Sundara – CD – 2010
  • Mohana – CD – 2010
  • Live at the Playhouse – Copenhagen Jazz Festival – Jazz CD – 2009
  • RoR Touch – a Fusion album – EMI / India Beat Records – 2008
  • Floating Point with Legendary Guitarist John McLaughlin
  • Bindumalini
  • Josh – Live concert held at Saptak, Ahmedabad – CD 1
  • Josh – Live concert held at Saptak, Ahmedabad – CD 2
  • Utsav – Celebrations of Indian Classical Music – Shashank by Music Today – DVD – 2007
  • Enchanting Hamsadhwani
  • Utsav – Music Today Masters of Indian Music – DVD intro by Pandit Jasraj
  • Raag Lathangi
  • Rasayana – Flute and Sitar in a dialogue – CD 1, CD 2
  • Margazhi Melodies – Live Concert 2004 – CD 1, CD 2
  • Kalarasana – Live in Chennai – CD 1, CD 2, CD 3
  • MOKSHA – Salvation
  • INTUITVE MINDS- The lute and Bamboo in a dialogue – CD 1, CD 2
  • SAMMILAN – North and South in a melting pot
  • God has many names – Swiss text book CD – 1995
  • Endless beauties from the Bamboo – 1994 – CD 1, CD 2
  • Melodies from the Bamboo Flute – CD 1 and 2 – 1993
  • Melodies from the Bamboo Flutes – Album 2 – 1992
  • Melodies from the Bamboo Flutes – Album 1 – 1991


External links[edit]