Anoushka Shankar

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar is one of the leading figures in Indian classical and progressive world music today. She is deeply rooted in the Indian classical tradition having studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar. In her twenties, she began thriving as a composer exploring fertile ground in the crossover between Indian music and a variety of genres including flamenco, jazz, electronica and Western classical music. Among various accolades she has been nominated for a Grammy® award three times and was the youngest, and first female, recipient of a House of Commons Shield from the Houses of Parliament in 1999.

As a classical sitarist Anoushka Shankar made her professional debut at the age of thirteen and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall, Barbican Centre, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salle Pleyel, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Palais des Beaux-Arts, KKL Luzern and at the Verbier Festival, Prague Spring Festival and the London Proms. She has championed her father’s four Concertos with the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, London Philharmonic, Czech Radio Symphony, Bern Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Lucerne Symphony and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra under conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kristjan Jävri and Jakob Hrusa. By the age of 20, she had made three classical recordings for EMI/Angel under the guidance of her father, and received her first Grammy nomination thereby becoming the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category.

In 2011 Anoushka signed to Deutsche Grammophon and released her sixth album, Traveller, a critically-hailed exploration of Indian classical music and Spanish flamenco. This was the third in a series of breakthrough experimental albums following 2005’s self-produced and Grammy-nominated Rise. For Traveller, Anoushka created an ensemble of Flamenco and Indian musicians and toured extensively through Europe, the USA, Middle East and India giving over 90 concerts. Traveller earned her a third Grammy® nomination and a Songlines Best Artist Award (2012).

Her second CD on Deutsche Grammophon: Traces of You (produced by Nitin Sawhney) is an intimate and daring reflection cast in a progressive style with Indian classical music at its root. Traces of You toured extensively in the USA and Europe in 2013-14 including performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, KKL Luzern, Dresden Music Festival, Cologne Philharmonie, JazzTM and Boom Festivals.

Current and forthcoming engagements include a series at The Globe Theatre in London around the legendary Bengali polymath Tagore, a tour with her classical ensemble in Europe and the Middle East and Concerto performances with the Bayerische Staatsorchester and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Besides her career as a composer and performer, Anoushka has authored the book Bapi: The Love of My Life, a biographical portrait of her father, and been a regular columnist for New Delhi’s First City magazine and the Hindustan Times. She earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination from India’s National Film Awards for her role in Dance Like a Man in 2004.

Today, from her home in London where she lives with her husband and son, Anoushka’s career reflects her aim to constantly learn and grow as an artist. As Nitin Sawhney wrote, “no one embodies the spirit of innovation and experimentation more evidently than Anoushka Shankar.”

 

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