Grammy-nominated Sandeep Das is considered one of the leading tabla players today. One of the favorite disciples of the legendary tabla maestro Pandit Kishan Maharaj ji of the Benaras Gharana, Das has carved out a niche for himself around the musical world. His concerts have taken him to major centers of music around the globe, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royce Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood Bowl and the Petronas Tower Hall in Malaysia.
Sandeep has composed for and performed internationally with the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma since the group’s founding in 2000. With the Ensemble, he performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York in 2008, played the BBC Proms in 2004 and 2009, and is the only Indian artist to have performed for the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympic Games in Shanghai.
In India and abroad, Sandeep performs frequently with stars of Indian music such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Dr. L Subramaniam and Ustad Shujaat Khan, among many others. Das’s talent for music and communication has allowed him to bridge the divide between Indian and Western classical music. In 1991, on his first trip outside India, Das performed with steel drum bands in Trinidad. In 2001 he performed a work composed by Kayhan Kalhor with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Kurt Masur.
His own compositions have combined the two genres and have received rave reviews. “Tarang” was chosen as the theme music for “Blind Sight”, a documentary about the first Everest climb by six blind climbers, and his piece “Mohini” became theme music for the Japanese TV channel NHK’s 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road.
Sandeep has recorded music on more than 30 labels, including Virgin, Sony and Makar Records. His 2003 recording with Ghazal, including Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Khan, was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was the Silk Road Ensemble’s 2009 album Off the Map, which included “Sulvasutra,” a piece Evan Ziporyn composed for him. His 2006 Interview on the BBC’s Destination Music is still broadcast widely in Europe today.
Sandeep Das was educated at Banaras Hindu University and is a Gold Medalist in English Literature. He began playing tabla at the age of eight; at the age of sixteen he performed with Ravi Shankar, and subsequently with all the stars of Indian music. He was three times the All-India drumming champion and was the youngest drummer ever to be graded by All-India radio.
He was awarded the Most Valuable Young Musician Award by the President of India in 2004. Also a cultural and educational entrepreneur, Sandeep founded HUM (Harmony and Universality through Music), an ensemble of world-class artists whose goal is to promote global understanding through musical performance and education.
Sandeep Das appears on the Silk Road Ensemble’s albums When Strangers Meet, Beyond the Horizon, New Impossibilities and Off the Map and A Playlist Without Borders. His compositions appear on the Ensemble’s albums Beyond the Horizon and New Impossibilities.