AN UNAPOLOGETIC CLASSICIST


In a world that is increasingly hostage to diminishing attention spans thanks to insta-everything, Toronto-based musician Arnab Chakrabarty (b. 1980) chooses to spend his life exploring Raga Music in the immersive detail it demands. Barely 40, he is one of the top ranking sarod players in the world today.

Trained in the orthodox Lucknow and Shahjahanpur stylistic idioms, Arnab has studied with such luminaries as Dr Kalyan Mukherjea, Ustad Irfan Muhammad Khan and Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta.

Since 1998, Arnab has performed all over the world in a touring career spanning 35 countries and over 850 professional concerts.

Arnab Chakrabarty in concert

CAREER PROFILE


Chakrabarty’s performances, academic engagements and musical achievements have taken him to leading concert halls and festivals across the globe. Some of these include –

  • Concerts at Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), National Centre for the Performing Arts (Mumbai), Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Silk Road Festival (Damascus), Trafรณ Theatre (Budapest), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and Saptak Festival (Ahmedabad) among scores more.
  • Talks on Hindustani Music at Leeds University, Syracuse University, College of William & Mary, University of Texas (Arlington), California State University (SLO), Bard College and several other institutions.
  • Internalisation of two traditional streams of sarod playing and their embodied repertoire of raga alaap and more than 500 gat compositions in all.

Instrument Design, teaching and writing


Some of Arnab’s additional activities include –

  • Designing instruments, sarods and derivative instruments in collaboration with luthiers Naba Kumar Kanji and Ed Powell. In a close partnership with Naba Kanji, Arnab has done more than any other individual in the past half century to refine the ergonomics and tonal quality of the sarod. These include changes and additions to structural elements, radiator shape, neck design, action and tuning mechanisms. Most of today’s younger sarod players have embraced these changes, whether or not they accept it publicly. You can have a sarod designed to your custom specifications by Arnab and built by Naba. Please get in touch for more information.
  • As a teacher, Arnab has achieved the distinction of having mentored more than one sarod player to a high professional standard of ragadari and musicianship. By virtue of this attainment, the titles of Pandit or Ustad are very much his entitlement, but he chooses not to use them in order to protest their rampant misuse. His teaching methods are as effective online as they are in person.
  • As an occasional music writer, Arnab has the rare gift of being able to interview musicians using a sensitive and subject focused line of questioning. His writings on Hindustani music for the Indian magazine, Scroll, were quite popular with readers.