Toronto-based Arnab Chakrabarty (b. 1980) spends his time exploring, creating and teaching classical North Indian Music on the sarod. Barely 40, he is one of the most sought after sarod musicians in the world today. As a propounder of the idea of ‘controlled virtuosity’, Chakrabarty has earned critical and popular acclaim as a thinking musician.
Trained in the traditional Lucknow and Shahjahanpur gharānās, Chakrabarty has had the good fortune to study with some of the most erudite luminaries of the sarod, like Dr Kalyan Mukherjea, Ustad Irfan Muhammad Khan and Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta. His music displays a wonderfully subtle amalgamation of his gurus, catalysed by his own unceasing quest for blending skill with emotion, virtuosity with affect.
Arnab has been performing all over the world since 1998. He has toured nearly 35 countries and given more than 850 professional concerts. He has performed at some of the most coveted international concert halls and festivals like: The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), National Centre for the Performing Arts (Mumbai), Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Silk Road Festival (Damascus), Trafó Theatre (Budapest), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Saptak Festival (Ahmedabad).
He has also delivered invited talks at various esteemed institutions including Leeds University, Syracuse University, College of William & Mary, University of Texas (Arlington), California State University (SLO) and Bard College.
Instrument Design, teaching and writing
In collaboration with celebrated luthiers Naba Kumar Kanji and Ed Powell, Chakrabarty has experimented with sarod design and materials with the aim to optimise tonal quality and ergonomics of playing. With Naba, Arnab has managed to greatly refine the ergonomics and tonal quality of the sarod. He has brought changes and additions to structural elements, radiator shape, neck design, action and tuning mechanisms. Many young sarod players have embraced these changes, often unaware of their origin in Arnab’s enterprising experiments. Do get in touch for a customised sarod, bespoke designed by Chakrabarty and built by Naba according to your needs.
As a teacher, Chakrabarty has mentored some of his students to a high professional standard of rāgadāri and musicianship. His teaching methods are calibrated in accordance with the level and the needs of each student and aim to optimise efficiency of playing and clarity of tone. Chakrabarty remains a highly effective and coveted teacher, both online and in person.
Chakrabarty has also earned great repute for his occasional but highly articulate and forthright writings on various topics concerning music. He has interviewed leading musicians like Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee, pursuing a serious and sustained line of enquiry. His writings on Hindustani music for the e-media portal Scroll continue to be extremely popular with general readers, musicians and scholars alike.