Interview - Purbayan Chatterjee - The young Sitar maestro and founder of Shastriya Syndicate


Purbayan ChatterjeeMar 24, 2010, by Subhomoy Mukherjee, Washington Bangla Radio:

Purbayan Chatterjee is a highly acclaimed world-class contemporary North Indian Classical Instrumental Sitar player and founder of the modern Indian Classical band Shastriya Syndicate with Veenai Jayanthi (Veena), Subhankar Banerjee (Tabla), Rakesh Chaurasia (Bamboo Flute), Murad Ali (Sarangi), Pramath Kiran (Percussion) and Satish Patri (Mridangam). Subhomoy Mukherjee of WBRi talks to Purbayan in an informal and intimate interview.

At the age of 5, Purbayan Chatterjee gave his first sensational performance at the India Festival in Basel in 1982. Accepted as the most gifted torch-bearer of the Senia-Maihar Gharana (school) of Baba Alauddin Khan, he has become a powerful force in the Indian Classical Music scenario. At the very age of 3, he surprised his family and family friends with his extraordinary capacity of annotating every single song that he heard at that tender age. He was initiated to Sitar at 4 by his father Shri Parthapratim Chatterjee, a disciple of Pt. Nikhil Bannerjee and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and a distinguished sitar player in his own right, having established himself as a highly respected teacher and performer in Europe, USA as well as in India. Purbayan now takes lessons with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Purbayan ChatterjeeSince teenage, Purbayan had already begun to display an uncanny skill for all the virtuous and artistic dimensions of the Sitar. He plays the aesthetically satisfying style of Pt. Nikhil Bannerjee, whom he considers his God. Although a Sitar-player by profession, he still remains to this day, a brilliant vocalist with a God-gifted voice that has been acknowledged by the top-most maestros in India.
Along with the rigorous honing of his talent by his father, Purbayan remained a topper throughout his academic career in prestigious Calcutta Boys School and the Presidency College, Kolkata. But his decision to take up Indian Classical Music as a profession became firm at the age of 14, when he received the most coveted honour, the President of India Award, for being the best instrumentalist of the country. At 1st year of his college, he decided to become Sitarist.

The festivals enlightened with tune of Purbayan’s Sitar are:

1. Bath International Music Festival, UK
2. Brighton Festival, UK
3. WOMAD in the UK
4. International Music Symposium, Germany
5. Millenium Festival WDR Koln in Germany
6. The Port Fairy Folk Festival in Australia
7. The North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape town
8. World Music Festival, Chicago
9. Al-Bustan Festival in Lebanon

He has performed in following venues across the continents where everybody wants to perform in dream:
1. The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
2. Sydney Opera House, Sydney,
3. Theatre de la Ville, Paris
4. World Music Institute, NY
5. The Ted Baxter Hall, Cape town
6. Palais de Beaux Arts, Belgium

In India, he has participated all the prestigious Classical Music Conferences including;-

1. Dover-Lane, Kolkata
2. Sawai Gandharva, Pune
3. Tansen Samaroh, Gwalior
4. Pt. Motiram Pt. Maniram Conference, Hyderabad
5. ITC Sangeet Sammelans in the major cities in India
6. Madras Music Academy, Chennai
7. Shankarlal Festival, Delhi
8. Saptak, Ahmedabad
9. Sankat Mochan, Benares
10. Ganga Mahotsav, Benares
11. Bhatkhande Mahotsav, Lucknow
12. Pt.Vishnu Digambar Jayanti, Delhi.
13. Alvas, Virasat etc.

Purbayan has represented India in all the major India Festivals organized by the Government of India and other organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, United States, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia, Malta, Seychelles, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Dubai, Singapore, Belgium etc.

He is a regular lec-demonstrator at the Summer Schools of the Asian Music Circuit in London, the University of Wallonia, Neaufchateau, Belgium and also a visiting scholar at the Dept. of Ethnomusicology, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

We are proud to present his interview just before commencing of his 2010 US tour from 27th March and we wish him every success in life.

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