Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri is a phenomenon in the arena of Indian Classical Music. Musicians honor him as one of the most highly respected Tabla players, worthy of highest regard all over the world. He is a recipient of the prestigious SangeetNatak Academy Award from the Government of India, and the American Academy of Artists Award, both of which are reserved only for those artists who have attained the highest level of artistry. He has received the Excellence in Performing Arts Award from the Global Indian Congress in San Francisco, and has been nominated to the esteemed International Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame. It was Swapan’s beloved parents, through their own passion for music, who initiated his formal musical training and inspired him in the field of Tabla, paving the path that would eventually lead him to virtuosity.
Swapan started learning Tabla at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive training he received from his Guru, the late Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. He holds a Master’s degree in music and has been conferred honors for his distinguished contributions in the field of Tabla by various academic and musical institutions. He also holds a Degree in Economics from Jadhavpur University, Calcutta.
Swapan’s music is the spontaneous expression of his powerful emotions and his deep knowledge of Tabla. His ingenuity has ushered in a purely new style of Tabla playing. It is undoubtedly through his clarity and elegance of performance, both as an accompanist and as a soloist, that he has achieved such notoriety throughout the world as a true master of Tabla. As a soloist and accompanist Swapan has traveled throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia accompanying Maestros such as Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, the late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Dr. Balmurli Krishna, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Dr. L. Subramanium, and Pandit V.G. Jog as well as other eminent artists. In addition, he has produced numerous recordings, including his own Tabla solos and videotapes, and has appeared extensively on television and radio. Two records, Legacy (1997) and Passing on the Tradition (1998), were nominated for Grammy awards, on which Swapan collaborated with Asha Bhosle and Ali Akbar Khan.
Swapan’s music reaches beyond the scope of Classical music to include performances and recordings with musicians such as Stevie Wonder, L. Shankar, Mark O’Connor, John Handy, Larry Coryell, John Santos, the reputed Persian musicians Alizade and KayhanKalhor, the African drum master, Malenga, and the renowned guitarists, VlatkoStefanovski and Miroslav Tadic. He has participated in many International Music Festivals such as Bath, Perth, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, San Francisco, Kuala Lampur, Stuttgart and Berlin. He has composed for several percussion ensembles that have received tremendous appreciation from Western as well as Indian audiences. He is associated with various American and European Universities as a visiting professor. Swapan Chaudhuri has held the position as Director of Percussion at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California and in Basil, Switzerland, where students from all over the world receive intensive training in Tabla. He is also the Department Chairperson for the World Music Department at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, California. In addition, Swapan maintains a rigorous touring and recording schedule throughout the year.