Composer and performer, Pandit Shubhendra Rao is one of India’s foremost musicians today. Distinguished as a musical bridge to many cultures, he creates an experience for his audience that “is not aimed at titillating the senses, but to seize the soul” (The Hindu, New Delhi).
A protégé of world-renowned
Sitar maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Shubhendra has established himself “not
only as a master of his instrument but also as a thinking musician, constantly
endeavouring to carry his instrument beyond conventional boundaries“ (Gateway
magazine). His playing reminds the listener of the masters of yore
transformed into today’s era.
Shubhendra is one of the last musicians to learn his art in the true “Guru-Shishya Parampara”, living with and learning from his Guru for over ten years. The maestro initiated his learning at the age of three with a first lesson when visited him at his home in Bangalore. In the latter years, an important part of his learning was assisting his Guru in solo concerts and orchestras like ‘Live in Kremlin’ in Russia as well as the music theatre, ‘Ghanashyam’ and various other projects.
As a soloist, he has performed at prestigious concert halls and music festivals across the world. Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Carnegie Hall and on Broadway in New York, Sydney Opera House in Australia, Theatre de la Ville in Paris, National Arts Festival in South Africa, Edinburgh Festivals in Scotland, the Beijing Performing Arts Centre in China, Doverlane Music Conference and Harivallabh Sangeet Mahasabha in India are some of the prestigious places he has
Distinguished as a composer of great merit, Shubhendra, often with his wife Cellist Saskia Rao has composed for various projects like dance, short films and ensembles. New York Times described their work, Yathra as “movingly meditative”. Their recent composition for Dr.Sonal Mansingh production, “When Gods meet” drew great praise. As an enthusiastic collaborator, Shubhendra has worked with musicians across cultures. Jazz guitarists Freddie Bryant and Nguyen Le, Chinese
Pipa master, Gao Hong, legendary Japanese singer Ryoko Moriyama, and Jazz flautist James Newton are some of the musicians he has composed for and worked with.
Today, critics and connoisseurs have hailed Pandit Shubhendra Rao as
a worthy successor to his illustrious Guru’s tradition.