A 2019 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Sandeep Das is one of the leading Tabla virtuosos in the world today. Having established himself as India’s top Tabla maestro, he has also built a prolific international reputation. He is one of the unique Indian classical musicians who has collaborated, performed with, and composed for major symphony orchestras, string quartets, and jazz musicians with regularly featured concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall and the Concertgebouw, to name a few.
Das has performed at major events such as the 150th annual celebration of the United Nations at the General Assembly Hall in NYC, opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Shanghai, opening ceremony of the 1st Asia Expo in Kunming, China, World Economic Forum, the BBC Proms, and for visiting dignitaries like the Queen of England, Queen of Thailand, the Pope and various other visiting country heads. His collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (SRE) for “Sing Me Home” won the 2017 Grammy Award for the Best World Music album. He has had two previous Grammy nominations in 2005 and 2009. In 2017 he received the prestigious Brother Thomas Fellowship and New England Choice Artist of the Year award, and in 2018, he received a Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation.
Das has composed several pieces combining both percussion and melody. His most recent composition, Vaishnavi, was commissioned by the Freer|Sackler and can be heard on display near the statue of Queen Sembiyan Mahadevi in the museum gallery. Soul Mitra was made possible by an LAB grant and recently premiered at Cal Arts and in Boston, and King Ashoka (2016) was premiered at UC Santa Barbara by Yo-Yo Ma and the SRE and subsequently toured in Asia. Tarang was chosen as the theme music for “Blind Sight,” a documentary about the first Everest climb by six blind climbers, and Mohini became the theme music for the Japanese TV channel NHK’s 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road. Srishti, a percussive rich composition, has extensively toured worldwide, and in 2008 it was performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall for the annual United Nations Day Concert.
Das is the founder of HUM (H)armony and (U)niversality through (M)usic. HUM’s mission is two-fold: to promote global understanding through performance and education, and to provide learning opportunities and scholarships for specially-abled children with potential in any genre of art to empower them to lead self reliant lives. Since its inception, HUM has grown in size and now supports six specially-abled children through a National Scholarship, the first of its kind in India. The HUM Ensemble is the branch of HUM that creates and tours World Music in innovative combinations and instrumentations.
Das had intensively trained for 12 years, starting at the age of 7 in the centuries-old Indian tradition, the Guru-Shishya Parampara, by living with his Guru—Pandit Kishan Maharaj— and learning and practicing music as a way of life, rather than an isolated art form. His training and life experiences provide a unique, educational opportunity for students and ensembles to learn from. He has been on faculty for the last five years at the Harvard Education School Summer Institute and has been an artist in residence at various universities like Dartmouth, Brandeis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Clara, College of the Holy Cross, Juilliard school of Music, Berklee School of Music, and UC British Columbia.
A Gold Medalist in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University in India, he is an artist, performer, composer, and cultural and educational entrepreneur. He currently resides in Boston, USA.
Testimonial and Press
Yo-Yo Ma: “Sandeep transcends his instrument– when he plays the Tabla he is a creator of myths, a master communicator and an orchestra, all in one. In my decades of collaboration around the world, he is easily one of the greatest artists I have ever met. Not only is he one of the best artists I have met but he is also once one of the best teachers I have met. I believe there is no one he cannot engage!”
New York Times: “The Breathless duet by the cellist and Sandeep Das was a highlight of the evening. He can turn any performance into a visual spectacle.”
Washington Post: “Tarang (Waves) by Sandeep Das […] The Jocular atmosphere evident on the players’ faces […] everyone was having a good time!”
The Independent (U.K.) BBC Proms: “The Indian Tabla player Sandeep Das’ piece became the mainstay of this afternoon Prom!”
Chicago Tribune: “Sandeep Das’ awesome table playing […] The sheer timbral variety he achieved on the Tabla contributed to its hypnotic effect!”
Inquirer (Singapore): “The infectious finale, Sandeep Das’ Tarang ended in euphoria. The seemingly never ending applause obliged the ensemble to give three encores.”
Los Angeles Times: “Fabulous Tabla playing by Sandeep Das in a composition of his own”