Abhay Rustum Sopori

Santoor Maestro, Music Composer & Music Conductor

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Abhay Rustum Sopori
Versatile is the one word that describes Abhay Rustum Sopori. 
He is the youngest Santoor maestro and the youngest classical musician to compose and conduct orchestras and folk ensembles. 
Abhay has the honour of being the only contemporary composer of India whose composition “Haftrang”, a tribute to his home state of Kashmir, has been conducted by the legendary music maestro Mr. Zubin Mehta and performed by the Bavarian State Orchestra (Munich, Germany) along with Abhay’s ensemble of Kashmiri musicians.
This performance also gave Abhay the rare distinction of being the first composer and conductor to share the stage with and conduct along with Mr. Zubin Mehta. His other international collaborations include presentations with the world renowned Vienna Boys Choir, Moroccan Lute maestro Haj Younis, Iranian Santurist Dr. Darius Saghafi , American Dulcimer player Malcom Dalgish and others.  
This performance also gave Abhay the rare distinction of being the first composer and conductor to share the stage with and conduct along with Mr. Zubin Mehta. 
His other international collaborations include presentations with the world renowned Vienna Boys Choir, Moroccan Lute maestro Haj Younis, Iranian Santurist Dr. Darius Saghafi , American Dulcimer player Malcom Dalgish and others. 
He has participated in various prestigious festivals across the world and served as the youngest Visiting Faculty at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst, USA). 
Abhay has also composed music for films, documentaries, serials, etc. and has more than 30 notable albums and releases to his credit. 
This includes music for ‘Mahatma’, a film by Government of India on Mahatma Gandhi, presented at the United Nations (U.N.) marking the first International Non-violence Day in 2007 and the international award-winning film, ‘Ziyarat’. 
Abhay also happens to be the fi rst Indian Classical musician to be invited at the prestigious International conference TEDx.  
Abhay learnt music under the traditional Guru-Shishya Parampara from his grandfather Pandit Shamboo Nath Sopori, hailed as the ‘Father ofMusic’ in Jammu and Kashmir, and from his father Pandit Bhajan Sopori. 
A gifted and prodigious musician, Abhay continues to innovate and experiment with the Santoor further extending its dimension. Abhay’sperformances prominently feature the ‘Gayan-Vadan Baaj’ of the Indian classical system, wherein he sings the composition along with its instrumental rendering, thus reviving the traditional Santoor playing of yore.
He has also introduced the ‘Open String Concept’ on the Santoor together with the ‘Enhanced Sustain Technique’. 
At the same time Abhay has revived many of the old Sufiana Tarana compositions of his predecessors and adopted them in the Indian Classical scenario and also composed and introduced new Khayal compositions based on Sufi Saints of Kashmir. 
Some of hallmarks of Abhay’s performances are mellifluous playing, lightning tempo, clarity and accuracy of Raag exposition and adoption of the Sopori Baaj (style), the unique format of Santoor playing created by Pandit Bhajan Sopori. 
He has also invented, designed and introduced a new 30-stringed instrument ‘Sur Santoor’ and is the creator of a new Raag called ‘Nirmalkauns’. 
Abhay is today carrying forward the weighty legacy of the Sufiana Gharana of Kashmir and has established himself as a preeminent musician of the present generation.

 

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With musical legend and father, Pandit Bhajan Sopori 

 

Through his many efforts and initiatives, he has the credit for creating a new generation of music connoisseurs and bringing about a greater appreciation for various performing and fine arts. 
He organizes an annual series of lecture-demonstrations, called Alaap, across schools and colleges in Jammu and Kashmir that has led to the revival of interest in Indian Classical music. The lecture demonstrations provide not only an interactive medium for school children and the youth to experience the subtleties of Indian Classical music, but also an engaging platform for young and upcoming artists to showcase their talent. 
Additionally, Abhay has helped raise funds and mobilize resources at the time of the Kashmir earthquake (over INR 10 million) and floods (over INR 8 million). Abhay’s name regularly features in various Biographical-note Volumes like “Famous India’s Who’s Who”, “Asian American Who’s Who”, “Asia Pacific Who’s Who”, “Asian Admirable Achievers”, etc.
He is youngest recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s first ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar’ (2006) and the ‘J&K State Award’ (2011), the highest civilian award of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, in recognition of his outstanding contribution and achievements in the field of music. 

 

Additionally, he is also the recipient of various other awards and honours including: 
• Pride of India Award
• Sangeet Gaurav Award
• Sangeet Mani Award
• Sabzaar Award of Excellence
• Kashmir Kirti Samman • KECSS Award
• Glory of India Award
• Best Citizens of India Award
• Sangeet Shree Award
• Bharat Shiromani Award
• Ma Sharika Samman
• National Dogri Award
• Sangeet Bhushan Award
• Excellence Award
• Young India Award
• Juenjo Korean International Heritage Award
• Kalawant Samman

Sachin Sharma 

Tabla Player

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 Sachin Sharma
 Sachin Sharma is a brilliant young Tabla player of India. Hailing from Jhansi (Madhya Pradesh), he had his training in Tabla from Sh. Krishan Kant Jha. 
He has done his Masters in Music from Prayag Sangeet Samiti (Allahabad) besides having a Bachelors Degree in Arts and Music. 
He has been honoured with the “Tabla Shree Award” for his exceptional talent.
His style is characterized by liveliness, excellent control over Laya (rhythm) and keen sense of balance and modulation of sounds on the Tabla. He has performed in various prestigious music festivals of India.
Besides his performances both as a Soloist and an accompanist, Sachin is also teaching the art of playing Tabla to a number of students in a music school in Delhi. 
Sachin talent was recognized by the Great Music Legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori who patronized Sachin in reached new heights. He has been accompanying Pandit Bhajan Sopori and Music Maestro Abhay Rustum Sopori for over 5 years now.  

 

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Musical legend Pt.Bhajan Sopori with Sachin Sharma, Delhi, 2015