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Line drawing of Shubha Sankaran by M. F. Hussain

Shubha Sankaran, surbaharShubha Sankaran (surbahar) is among a handful of musicians currently performing the surbahar on the concert stage. She studied instrumental music with Ustad Imrat Khan, the world's acknowledged master of the surbahar; vocal music in the khayal style with the late Pandit Shrikant Bakre; the South Indian technique of tanam with Kalaimamani Ranganayaki Rajagopalan; and dhrupad with the Gundecha Brothers. She has performed on surbahar throughout the United States, including at Lincoln Center in New York and the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, and in concert and in radio and television broadcasts in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Europe, Great Britain, Morocco, and Central and South America. She and Brian Q. Silver toured Pakistan in 1997 for that country’s 50th anniversary, and Rumania in 2001. In 1998, in observance of the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence in 1997, she appeared before President Narayanan of India and President Fujimori of Peru, at a command performance in the capital city of Lima, Peru. She toured the U.S. with the Gundecha Brothers in 2004 and 2006, and Australia and Singapore in 2005.

In 2007 she visited the People’s Republic of China, where she performed at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Tianjin Conservatory, and Southgate Space in the famous 789 Arts District in Beijing. In 2009 she and Brian toured Pakistan under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of State, with concert and radio and television appearances in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore, and in January 2010 she performed at the Museum of Man in Bhopal, India.

In 1999 she performed for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington in the original chamber ballet, "Gandhara," with music composed by David Maddox and choreography by Dana Tai Soon Burgess; she appears on a CD of "Gandhara" released by Sound Science Recording. Her two new CD releases on Surbahar Records are currently available on the links below.

In In 1990, Shubha was awarded the All Pakistan Music Conference's gold medal. In 1994, 2000, and 2006, she was recognized for her surbahar performance by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1997 she was awarded the first annual Saeeda Khan Award for instrumental music from the All Pakistan Music Conference. She composed the music for the award-winning NPR radio series "Passages to India," and the award-winning 1997 BBC documentary, "Monsoon" (both available on CD). She composed, arranged, and performed original music for the ballet "Dasavatara," choreographed by Chitra Krishnamurti; for several dance settings by Tehreema Mitha; and for the Open Theatre’s production of Strindberg’s “A Dream Play,” directed by Joe Martin. Her performance has also been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered."

 

 



Shubha Sankaran
Resurrecting a Raga

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© 2005 Shubha Sankaran



Shubha Sankaran
Seven Ragas in Seven Talas

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© 2005 Shubha Sankaran


Recent Reviews:

Washington Post: "The Music Soars. . . . The most vibrant element of the production, without question, is the trio of terrific musicians."

Washington Post review of 06.24.07 concert at Gandhi Memorial Center

Global Rhythm magazine profile and review of Shubha Sankaran and her two new CDs


Brian Q. Silver (sitar),
after graduating from Harvard College in 1964, went to India under a Fulbright grant to learn sitar with the late Ustad Ghulamhusain Khan of the Indore Gharana (musical tradition). He returned to the U.S. in 1966, continuing his study in subsequent visits to his teacher in India, and has since appeared in concert and in radio and television broadcasts in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Egypt, Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Central and South America, and throughout the United States. In 1988 he was awarded the honorary title "Khan Sahib" by the All Pakistan Music Conference, and was given that organization's 1989 gold medal for performance. In 1991, 1996, and 2004, he was recognized for his sitar artistry by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught Urdu language and literature, Indian music, South Asian culture, and world and contemporary American music at the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Duke University, and most recently at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He has also lectured at a wide range of colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, and has written in a variety of forms, on South Asian, Iranian, and Middle Eastern music and musical culture.

In the summer of 2006, he composed and performed original incidental music for, and appeared in a minor acting role in, the Washington Shakespeare Theatre’s eight-week production of Love’s Labor’s Lost in the Landsburg Theatre in Washington; in a subsequent ten-day run at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon; and in a final series of performances in 2007 at the Carter-Barron Amphitheatre as part of Washington’s “Shakespeare in the Park.”

His 2007 tour of the Peoples Republic of China involved lectures and concerts at the Central Conservator of Music in Beijing and the Tianjin Conservatory; collaborative performances with the Guqin player Wu Na, members of the Panjir Trio, and the throat singer Xue Ting; and a final concert at Southgate Space in the famous 789 Arts District in Beijing. In 2009, he and Shubha toured Pakistan under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of State, with concert and radio and television appearances in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore, and in January 2010, his performance concluded the four-day Pratishruti Festival at the Museum of Man in Bhopal, India.

In the summer of 2007, after nearly 21 years as Chief the Voice of America's Urdu Service in Washington, he was appointed Ethnomusicologist and World Music Curator in order to work toward fulfilling new VOA priorities, in which capacity he served through 2012. He is also founder and Executive Director of International Music Associates, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2012. I.M.A.’s clients have included Independent Broadcasting Associates, for which he was Senior Music Consultant for two major award-winning NPR series—the ten-part "World of Islam", and the ten-part "Passages to India"; the New York Public Library and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as curator for the major Festival of India exhibition, "India: The Performing Arts"; the television series "Smithsonian World", for which he did the soundtrack for the PBS television film, "Islam"; a variety of recording companies; and the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. In addition, I.M.A. has arranged major U.S. tours for the late Ustad Ghulamhusain Khan, the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Imrat Khan, and the late Ustad Asad Ali Khan, and has assisted the Gundecha Brothers (www.dhrupad.org) with their many U.S. tours.

 


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Manik Munde (pakhawaj)

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Mohan Shyam Sharma (pakhawaj)

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