Swapan Chaudhuri, faculty in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, is among the 10 recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honor conferred upon performing arts practitioners by Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama in New Delhi.
Chaudhuri and his fellow recipients were selected by the academy’s general council and awarded in a special investiture ceremony by Indian President Droupadi Murmu. The fellowships were issued alongside Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards, which were bestowed upon 128 artists in total (clearing a backlog from 2019, 2020, and 2021). More about the awards from the press release:
The Fellows and Awardees so selected represent the nation as a whole, and belong to different States and Union Territories. Besides, these eminent artists cover the entire gamut of the performing arts such as vocal music, both Hindustani and Carnatic; instrumental music, both Hindustani and Carnatic including Flute, Sitar and Mridangam; Sugam Sangeet as well as Harikatha; the major forms of Indian dance such as Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Sattriya, Mohiniattam as well as Contemporary Dance; the different specializations of theatre such as playwriting, direction, acting, make-up, lighting, stage design; the other major traditions of theatre like Isai Natakam; the folk and tribal arts as well as the arts of puppetry and instrument making.
Since 1952, the fellowship has been awarded to performing artists who symbolize not only outstanding achievement and creative excellence, but “sustained individual work and contribution,” and is restricted to 40 individuals at any given time. Chaudhuri shares the distinction with Saroja Vaidyanathan, Sadanam Krishnan Kutty, Darshana Jhaveri, Chhannu Lal Mishra, A K C Natarajan, Malini Rajurkar, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Teejan Bai, and Bharat Gupt, each of whom will receive a prize of ₹3,00,000 (three lakh rupees).
Chaudhuri joined other fellowship and award recipients at the academy’s Festival of Performing Arts, which ran from Feb. 23 to March 5.
Chaudhuri is an internationally renowned tabla player and Indian classical music phenom. Among his various accolades are the prestigious Padma Shree Award, the Excellence in Performing Arts Award from the Global Indian Congress in San Francisco, and two Grammy Award nominations. Since 1991, Chaudhuri has served as director of the Institute’s North Indian Percussion Studies Program, as well as department chairperson emeritus for the World Music Department. Throughout his career he has traveled the globe extensively as a soloist and accompanist, and has been commissioned to compose for the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, Hands On’semble, Tabla Rasa, and the San Francisco World Music Festival.