Shubhendra Rao


A protege of Ravi Shankar, he is acknowledged by critics and connoisseurs alike as a worthy successor to his teacher's tradition. He is a classical musician, as well as a collaborator, working with musicians from different genres across the world. He has performed at prestigious venues and festivals like the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Broadway, the Sydney Opera House, the National Arts Festival, the Theatre de la Ville, Dover Lane Music Conference, and St. Xavier's college Ahmedabad to name a few. An important part of his learning was assisting his teacher in solo concerts and orchestras. As an 18-year-old in 1983, he performed on stage for the first time with his Guru in Uday Utsav in New Delhi. In 1988, he assisted and performed in the orchestra Live in Kremlin in Russia that has been released as a CD. In 1989 and 1990, he toured with the production Ghanashyam in the UK and India. His first concert assisting his Shankar in his solo concert was in February 1985 in New Delhi. Between 1985 and 1995, he performed with his Shankar at numerous concerts all over the world, continuing to assist him in all his creative productions. In 1987 Shubhendra gave his first solo concert in Bangalore, and since then has gone on to establish himself as one of the distinguished instrumentalists of his generation. Shubhendra has performed at some of the most prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall and on Broadway in New York, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC, Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, Des Moines Arts Center, Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Hawaii, Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Edinburgh Festivals in Scotland, at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, WOMAD festival in Guernsey England, National Arts Festival in South Africa, Fajr International Music Festival in Tehran, Esplanadein Singapore among others. In India, Shubhendra has performed at major music festivals including Dover Lane Music Conference, the ITC Music Conference in Kolkata, Baba Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha in Jullundhar, Shankarlal Festival and Gunidas Sammelan in New Delhi, SAPTAK Festival in Ahmedabad, and Vasantahabba Festival in Bangalore. A regular performer on Radio and the National Television, he holds a Grade A status on the All India Radio roster. He is impaneled by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) both as a performer as well as a Guru. He has also been invited as a guest teacher to give 'lecture-demonstrations' about Indian music by leading universities all over the world. Some universities include Peabody Conservatory of Music, Duke University, Yale University, University of Sacramento, Lewis and Clark College, University of Minneapolis, Winona State University, University of Nebraska. In November 2007, he was awarded the "Youth Icon for Classical Music" by India's popular Zee Television Network. Shubhendra Rao & Saskia Rao were also honoured with the "Delhi Ratna" award by the Art and Cultural Trust of India in December 2014. An ardent and enthusiastic collaborator, Shubhendra has worked with musicians across genres. Some of the wonderful musicians he has composed for and collaborated with include Pipa Master, Ms. Gao Hong, Jazz Guitarist Nguyen Le from Paris, Jazz guitarist, Freddie Bryant from New York, legendary singer Ryoko Moriyama from Japan, Jazz flautist James Newton. He has also worked with Iranian musicians, Ciavash Borhani on Taar and Samer Habibi on Kamancha. The press has hailed his collaborative work with his Dutch Cellist wife, Saskia Rao-de Haas as taking Indian music into a brave, new era.