Vijay Kichlu, a Master of Arts from the University of Allahbad, has a
unique combination of executive ability and artistry. As the mastermind
and executive director of the revolutionary institution, Sangeet
Research Academy, Pandit Vijay Kichlu is totally committed to Indian
classical music, its propagation and preservation. Although he did not
take music as a profession, Pandit Vijay Kichlu has been recognized as a
leading vocalist of the Agra gharana, having been trained under the
tutelage of the Dagar Brothers and later Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan. An
erudite musician and a very fluent speaker, Pandit Vijay Kichlu holds
fame in musicological circles all over the world. His
lecture-demonstrations and compact workshops are pleasantly enlightening
for the listener and participant. He has been granted Honorary
Citizenship of the State of Maryland and the City of Baltimore in
appreciation of his efforts in promoting Indian Classical music in the
Kaivalya Kumar Gurav
Pandit Kaivalya Kumar is a leading young exponent of the Kirana Gharana
with a rich multigenerational lineage. He was trained by his father
Pandit Sangmeshwar Gurav. His Grandfather Ganpatrao Gurav, studied under
2 legends: Pandit Bhaskarbua Bhakle and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Due to
this ancestry, Kaivalya Kumar is a treasure house of unusual
compositions (Bandish). Endowed with a mellifluous, fluid and high
pitched tenor voice, he has achieved much recognition- "Surmani", " Pt.
Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar” and "Sarva Shreshta Kalakar" to name a few.
Kaivalya Kumar’s rendition of ragas is marked by natural phirat, fast
tans, infallible rhythm, imaginative content and a superb aesthetic
He has performed extensively at several prestigious music festivals in India and has several albums to his credit.
Kalyanjit Das, born in 1992, is a young and budding talent in the genre
of Hindustani Classical music, and belongs to a highly acclaimed family
of musicians in Kolkata. Pursuing B. Tech in Electrical
Engineering, he started his musical career as a sitarist at the age of
three under the guidance of his father Pt. Kushal Das, one of the finest
Sitar maestros of India. Kalyanjit’s great-grandfather Late
Pt.Bimal Ch.Das was a known ‘Esraj’ player and his grandfather Pt.
Sailen Das is a disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar. Also, Kalyanjit's maternal
grandfather, Late Pt. Jugal Sarkar, was one of the senior students of
Late Ustad Keramatullah Khan. In addition to continuing his
training in Sitar under Pt. Sanjoy Banerjee, an eminent sitarist,
Kalyanjit takes vocal training from his mother Smt. Sujata Das and
Ustad Rashid Khan, and educates himself about the different
Talas, Layas & their variations from Sri Biplab Bhattacharya, Pt.
Subhankar Banerjee, & the famous Tabla Wizard Pt. Shankar
Ghosh. He has performed solo and duet (with his father) Sitar
recitals in different places in India as well as in Europe.
Kalyanjit is a proud recipient of the "Jnana Pravaha Scholarship".
Kushal Das, a north Indian solo sitarist was born to a highly enriched
musical family of Kolkata. His grandfather Late Bimal Das was a renowned
Esraj player while his father Shri Sailen Das and Uncle Sri Santanu Das
are sitarists of immense repute.
Kushal, at a tender age of seven, started his training in advanced sitar
techniques and the art of music making under the guidance of Prof.
Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, a renowned sitar maestro and academician. He
has also had the privilege of having learnt from great musicians like,
Pt. Manas Chakraborty, Pt. Ramkrishna Basu and Late Pt. Ajoy Sinha Roy.
With a profound understanding of music and raga improvisation, Kushal is
now considered as one of the torchbearers of the traditional Indian
classical instrumental music. The critics and connoisseurs have
acknowledged him as a worthy successor of his idol, the legendary
maestro Late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee.
Kushal’s concerts are distinctly known for their aesthetic appeal and
insight with a fine command over technical expertise. He has contributed
in all the major music festivals in India and has performed extensively
in the country and outside. An "A" grade musician of All India
Radio and Television, he is a recipient of Sangeet Visharad from
Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh and Sur Mani from Sur Singar Samsad,
Rakesh Chaurasia, the nephew, child prodigy and the most accomplished
disciples of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, shows all the
promise to carry the Chaurasia legacy to new heights. Just like
his legendary uncle, Rakesh possesses the right balance of strength and
serenity, very critical factors for an exceptional flautist. His
dextrous blowing technique coupled with his training of ‘swar’ and
‘tala’ allow him to demonstrate complex musicianship through a
relatively simple vessel.
Despite his experimental work, Rakesh has never deviated from his main
goal of becoming a full-fledged classical musician. He has regularly
appeared in prominent festivals such as the WOMAD festival in Athens and
the ‘Festivals of India’ in Russia, Japan , USA , and Europe. His
growing maturity and status has brought him invitations to perform solo
at major events within India and abroad, including the Festival of
Saint-Denis in Paris and the Leicester International Music Festival in
England. Most notably, Rakesh was invited to conclude the twenty-four
hour live BBC Radio broadcast celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s
Silver Jubilee, reaching audiences worldwide. Recently Rakesh
toured with the legendary tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain for the Masters
of Percussion concerts at some prestigious venues globally. Rakesh has
also had the priviledge of performing with some international names such
as Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Joshua Redman.
Rakesh has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. He
received the Indian Music Academy Award, presented by the Honourable
President Of India, Dr..A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 2007, the Aditya Birla
Kalakiran Puraskar in 2008, and the Guru Shishya Award in 2011.
Rakesh is also an accomplished studio musician having recorded with most
of the leading stalwarts of the Indian film industry.
Sandeep Narayan is the most sought after young stars of Carnatic (South
Indian) music today. Sandeep is a disciple of the well acclaimed
musician, Sri Sanjay Subrahmanyan. He started his initial training in
vocal music at the age of four, under the guidance of his mother, Smt.
Shubha Narayan. Though he was born and raised in America, his
passion and interest in music inspired him to leave school at the age of
11 to come to India and begin advanced training under the revered
musician and musicologist, the late Calcutta Sri K.S. Krishnamurthy in
1996. He has continued to sharpen his skills under Sanjay Subrahmanyan
since 1999, and moved to Chennai in 2006 to pursue his musical interest
After giving his debut performance of a full concert at the age of 11 in
1996, Sandeep has performed regularly in India, and has gone on concert
tours in the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and all over the
United States as well. Sandeep performs regularly during the December
music season in all major sabhas including The Music Academy, Sri
Krishna Gana Sabha, and Narada Gana Sabha, just to name a few.
Sandeep is an 'A' grade artist of All India Radio, Chennai, and was the
recipient of The Madras Music Academy's award for 'Best Concert' in his
time slot for the 2010 music festival, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha's Sri
Yegnaraman Endowment prize for Gokulashtami 2010, and The Indian Fine
Arts Society's 'Best Sub-Senior Vocalist Award,' among others. In
addition to these accolades, Sandeep's debut album titled 'Paramashiva'
has been nominated for a 2011 Global Indian Music Academy (GIMA) award,
the premiere institution recognizing artists across all Indian genres,
classical and non-classical. In addition to live theatre, Sandeep
has sung for documentaries and feature films, and continues to connect
Indian culture to audiences in the West through workshops, lec-dems,
classes, and of course live performances.
Delhi P Sunder Rajan
Delhi P. Sunder Rajan hails from a family of musicians belonging to the
Temple town of Kumbakonam in Thanjavur District. He comes in the lineage
of Flute maestro Brahma Sri Saraba Sastrigal. He is a disciple of
Sangeetha Bhushanam Sri V. Janakiraman. Sunder Rajan started learning
the Violin at the age of six and gave his maiden performance at the age
of eight. He was recognised as a child prodigy and has established
himself as an artiste of great talent, dedication and creativity. He has
performed solo concerts all over the country and abroad. As an
accompanying artiste he plays for all the distinguished musicians. He is
now one of the most sought after violinists in the field of Carnatic
Music. Sunder Rajan has the rare distinction of winning the Madras Music
Academy's prestigious award as the best accompanying violinist for
three years in succession.
Sunder Rajan has many awards and titles to his credit including the
Nadha Brahma Kala Ratnam conferred by the Nadha Brahma Vidyalayam of
Delhi. He has been awarded the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer Trust award
for excellence in the field of Violin. He has been appointed the
Asthana Vidwan of the Hindu Temple – Dayton – USA. The Department of
Culture, Government of India, has awarded him scholarship for learning
violin. All India Radio gave his age exemption and made him a graded
artiste of All India Radio, at the age of thirteen. He is now an 'A'
Grade Artiste of All India Radio – Doordharshan.
Sunder Rajan is well recognised in the International Music circuit
having performed in – USA, Canada, Australia, UK, U.A.E., Czech Republic
Solvakia, Poland, Zagreb, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, France,
Switzerland and Belgium and Holland. Many music critics in the country
have acclaimed sunder Rajan's skill on the Violin. He has established
the 'Venkata Academy of Music and Arts' – as institution for imparting
training in the field of Carnatic Music.
ACCOMPANYING ARTISTS Abhijeet Banerjee
Considered among the top class of tabla players from India, Abhijit
Banerjee is one of the most sought after creative artists in the realm
of Indian classical music. With nearly 20 years of professional
experience, Abhijit has crafted a unique style and creative approach
which has brought him accolades and awards throughout the world for his
sensitivity, skill and deep sense of musicality. Apart from his
contributions to Indian music he has delved into a diverse variety of
world music crossover as both a performer and composer.
Abhijit started learning Tabla at a very tender age, and won prizes at
National level. He is an “A” grade artiste of All India Radio for
over eight years. Abhijit has toured extensively all over the globe
accompanying stalwart artistes, such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Late Pandit
Nikhil Banerjee, Pandit Jasraj, to name a few as well as performed
solo. Abhijit has collaborated with acclaimed world musicians such as Ry
Cooder, Larry Coryell, Badal Roy, Trilok Gurtu. Abhijit has scored
music for Documentary and telefilms. Abhijit’s own performing group,
TARANG, a talented ensemble has enjoyed roaring success. He has
formed Dhwani Academy, a school that specializes in Indian percussion,
which has branches in India, Los Angeles, New York and London (UK).
Dhwani Academy is involved in a lot of community work and attracts
students from all over the world.
Arun & Shiva Ramamurthi
& Shiva Ramamurthi are Carnatic musicians, and have been disciples
of their current guru, Violin Maestro Delhi P. Sunder Rajan, since 2000.
They have performed carnatic violin as soloists, as a duo, and as
accompanists at numerous prestigious venues throughout the U.S. and
India. They are regular performers at the December Music Festival in
Chennai. Arun and Shiva are also trained Carnatic vocalists.
Shiva is currently a senior at UCLA studying cognitive science and
economics. Arun graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Music and
Economics and currently works in Newport Beach, California.
Kedar Naphade, a Hindustani Classical Instrumentalist, is one of today's
leading exponents of the art of Harmonium Solo and Accompaniment.
He is also the Founder and Principal of Pt. Tulsidas Borkar School of
Harmonium at ACE Open Online University - a first-of-its-kind virtual
music school that brings the highest caliber of music education into the
living rooms of deserving students all over the world.
Kedar received preliminary training in Hindustani Classical Music from
his grandfather, Shri Dadasaheb Naphade and from Shri Arvind
Gajendragadkar. For over 15 years, he has been a leading disciple of Pt.
Tulsidas Borkar, arguably the most acclaimed harmonium player in India
today. Kedar has also had the privilege of training from Smt.
Padmavati Shaligram-Gokhale, a veteran singer of the Atrauli-Jaipur
gharana. In addition to classical music, Kedar also plays the
semi-classical forms of Marathi Natyasangeet (Stage Music), Bhajans,
Thumri, Dhun to name a few. Kedar has performed harmonium solo and
has accompanied vocalists at numerous concerts in India, Europe and in
Nirmal Narayan is a disciple of the legendary mridangam maestro Padma Vibhushan Dr. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
A regular performer during the Chennai Music Festival for several years,
he has accompanied such stalwarts such as Prof. T.N. Krishnan, Dr. N.
Ramani, Sri T.V. Sankaranarayanan, Chitraveena Sri N. Ravikiran, Malladi
Brothers, Smt. Ranjani and Smt. Gayathri among others. He has performed
in many prestigious venues such as Shanmughananda Hall, Mumbai and The
Music Academy, Chennai, where he was awarded the “Best Concert” prize
during the December 2010 music festival.
Nirmal has received numerous awards and titles, namely “Yuva Kala
Bharati” from Bharat Kalachar, “Azhiyoor Natesa Iyer Endowment Prize”
from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, and “Best Performer for Mridangam” by Sri
Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.
Since his notable performances early in his career, he has performed
extensively in North America in major music festivals, including the
Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana, the World Music Festival in Chicago, and
the National Folk Music Festival in Montana. Active in the community he
participated in fundraiser events for the 2004 Asian Tsunami, the Ekal
Vidyalaya Foundation for building schools, and the Sankara Nethralaya
institute for ophthalmic care. His passion for music extended to
creative collaborations with Hindustani vocalists, tabla artists,
western drummers and DJs on unique fusion projects. Nirmal is also the
recipient of the ‘Master Apprenticeship Grant’ as a Master – Teacher
from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.
After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of
California, Berkeley, he is currently pursuing his MBA from the USC
Marshall School of Business. Nirmal resides in Southern California,
where he continues to teach mridangam, as well as perform in concerts
both locally and internationally.
Esteemed the world over for his purity of sound, depth of knowledge,
rhythmic creativity, and dedication to teaching, Maestro Swapan
Chaudhuri is considered one of the greatest living musicians and tabla
virtuosos of our time. He continues to accompany all the eminent
classical instrumental and vocal musicians of India in addition to
collaborating with artists of every world music tradition and genre. His
dedication to teaching tabla worldwide has brought him global
recognition and defined him as a true master. He has made tabla more
accessible, enabling this North Indian classical drum to take its
rightful place as one of the most versatile and sought after instruments
on the planet.
Swapan Chaudhuri's parents, through their own passion for music,
initiated his formal musical training. Swapan Chaudhuri started tabla
learning at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive
training he received from his Guru, Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of
Calcutta, an eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. As a soloist and
accompanist Swapan he has accompanied maestros such as Pandit Ravi
Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the late Nikhil Banerjee, to recording
with world musicians such as L. Shankar, John Handy, and the African
drum master Malenga. He has participated in many international music
festivals and has composed for several percussion ensembles, which have
received much appreciation from both western and Indian audiences.
He is currently the director of percussion at the Ali Akbar College of
Music in San Rafael, California and in Basle, Switzerland. He is also a
member of the teaching staff at the California Institute of the Arts,