Star of the sitar

By Our Reporter
Subrata De

Instrumentalist, teacher, mentor Subrata De will perform in Sydney on 22 May 

Founder of Swaranjali, Subrata De is perhaps one of the more experienced names in sitar today. A sitarist from Bishnupur Gharana, Mr De has not only earned his reputation as a performer, but as a cultural ambassador of India, propagating Indian culture across the world through his music. He also works for cultural exchanges between India and other countries through concerts, lecture demonstrations and exchange programmes. He also mentors young artists.

The sitar maestro will be performing an Indian classical dance and music concert on 22 May in Sydney, organised by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre and the Consulate General of India, Sydney.

Born in Jamshedpur (Jharkhand, India), Mr De was initiated into the art of playing sitar at the age of seven under the guidance of Amarjeet Singh of Jamshedpur. Later, he trained under late Suramani Bauri Bandhu Sethi of Bhubaneswar where he imbibed the essential elements of sitar. After 10 years of practice, he placed himself in the hands of sitar maestro Pandit Manilal Nag of Bishnupur Gharana. Under a routine that demanded strict discipline and sincerity, he learnt the depths of Dhrupad and Gayeki style, Tankari, Alapang, Gatkari and other styles of Bishnupur Gharana.

Mr De is now involved in steering various institutions of Hindustani classical music in the roles of educator and facilitator. “I derive inspiration from my father, Bhutnath De, an exponent vocalist cum scholar of Indian classical music,” says De, who has been awarded the Sangeet Praveen by Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and Sangeet Bhaskar by Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh.

He has also received the National Scholarship from the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. He has also been selected on the panel of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) as a musician and teacher. Further he has been associated with the All India Radio as a graded artist since 1990.

He has also released audio cassettes and CDs including Meditation de la India, from Peru, In Search (by Swaranjali), Water in Fury (by Shruti), Five Elements, Sarang (by Bihaan Music), Ganga—journey called life (by HMV-SAREGAMA) and many more. His music is also available online on Saavn, Twaang, and Hungama.

Mr De is a sought after artist globally. He has given performances in various national and international festivals. He has travelled widely and performed in numerous cities spanning over 35 countries across the world including: Switzerland, Finland, Cuba, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

As a solo artist and accompanist, he has dedicated himself to create and extend an environment of Indian classical music in rural areas of India as well as abroad by collaborating with leading organisations and eminent dancers, both on a national and international level. More recently, he has been involved in multiple projects like “Flamenco India” with famous filmmaker Carlo Saura of Spain, a musical collaboration with Martinique Jazz musicians, World aquatics fusion group project and others.

Mr De founded Swaranjali in India to promote not only sitar, but all the genres of Hindustani classical music in India and abroad. Registered under the Society Act, 1861 in December 2003, the organisation is a platform for students and enthusiasts of Indian classical music. “We want to nurture talent by giving young artists a performance space,” he says.

To revive Indian classical music within the country, Swaranjali provides music appreciation and learning courses. “Indian music has an unbroken musical tradition in the world. Indian music, also known as “Sangeet” consists of vocal music, instrumental music and dance. “Raag” and “Taal” define the present day Indian music streams of Hindustani Sangeet and Carnatic Sangeet. There are many musical instruments that are peculiar to India and many others without due recognition. We want to change that,” he says.

Event details
  • Pt Subrata De
  • Indian Classical Dance and Music Concert
  • May 22, from 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm
  • At Level 2, 265 Castlereagh Street Sydney NSW 2000
  • Organised by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre and Consulate General of India, Sydney


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