Rajrupa Chowdhury is one of the top-notch sarod players today. Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, the sarod legend, in 2009 publicly proclaimed Rajrupa as the best among the woman sarod players that he had the opportunity to listen to. It was after her performance at the Calcutta School of Music. Rajrupa received the prestigious HC Kapasi Saptak Award in 2018 in recognition of her dedicated pursuit of Indian Classical Music. Rajrupa presented sarod recitals in many important music programs in Asian countries and Europe. Some of these concerts were:
ITC SRA Classical Music Festival, Kolkata [India] – 2014
Bengal Classical Music Festival, Dhaka [Bangladesh] – 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Saaj-E-Bahar festival of Instrumental Music at the NCPA, Mumbai [India] – 2015
Pt. Bhimsen Joshi National Festival of Music and Dance, Hyderabad [India] – 2016
In March 2019 on the Common Wealth Day she performed at Marlborough House, London in the august presence of The Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall and distinguished guests.
Rajrupa is an A-Grade artist of All India Radio. She has been traditionally trained by Siddhartha Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata. Since 2006 she has been pursuing advanced music learning under the guidance of the eminent sitar maestro and Guru the Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay.
Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, the renowned sitar player, is the Chair Professor, Ustad Allauddin Khan Chair of Instrumental Music at the RabindraBharati University, Kolkata [India]. He is also the Director of S.M. Tagore Center for Documentation & Research in Languishing & Obsolescent Musical Instruments [SMTC-DRLOMI]. Recently he has taken up an added responsibility as the Chief-Coordinator of a research project on ‘Indian Classical Music Mapping of Kolkata’ sponsored by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi under the SAP-DRS.
After his initial training from his father Shri Peeyush Prasanna Bandopadhyay Professor Bandopadhyay had training under the guidance of the doyens of music like Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra and Pt. Bimalendu Mukherjee. He also had training from Pt. Manas Chakravarty, Pt. Ajay Sinha Roy and Dr. M.R. Gautam. He also had the opportunity to receive brief guidance from the famous Pt. Gajananrao Joshi.
Sanjoy is a Top Grade artist of All India Radio, and has several CDs to his credit. The CDs were published by the well-known companies like RPG-HMV, India; India Archive Music Limited, New York, USA and others. He has performed in many major music festivals in India, USA, Canada, European countries and South Africa. His sitar recitals featured several times in the National Program of All India Radio [India’s National Radio Channel] and Doordarshan [India’s National Television Channel].
Sanjoy also produced a number of highly reputed and internationally acclaimed musicians. Most prominent names among his students is Sri Kushal Das [sitar]. Other notable names are Rajrupa Chowdhury, the brilliant sarod player, the 14 year old sitar-magic Sri Ayush Ghosh, the brilliant rising star Sri Kalyanjit Das [sitar], the notable lady young sarod artist Ms. Troilee Dutta [sarod] and others.
Professor Bandopadhyay served many prestigious academic assignments internationally. These include his visits at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign [USA] as ‘George A. Miller Visiting Professor’, at the University of Alberta [Canada] as ‘Distinguished India Focus Visitor’ or ‘Artist in Residence’ in several universities including the University of Chicago [USA] and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs [USA]. He has featured in Plenary Sessions in global conferences like the UNESCO Conference in Finland and the International Conference arranged by the German Musicological Society, also in another International Conference organized by the University of Amsterdam. He participated in Indo-Canada bi-lateral conference, ‘Emerging India’, arranged by the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He is serving as expert member and member of advisory bodies for several universities in India. He also served as an external expert for some projects of the University of Chicago [USA] and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin [Germany].
Here is a video by Jon Barlow. In this video, Professor Sanjoy Bandopadhyay talked about his grooming in music.
Rakhi Banerjee sang her first full song when she was a baby of 30 months… the music just came out of her, as a pure natural phenomenon.
Today, you can hear her singing any variety of song, starting from a classical Malkauns-bandish “Aaja more ghar–” , to neo-classical and modern songs.
She was born in Kolkata [India] on October 10 1955. She received her MA [Hindustani Vocal Music] in 1986, from Khairagarh University. Rakhi was awarded Senior Fellowship by the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, for her research project on Hindustani neo-classical vocal styles.
She obtained training in Hindustani Music [khyal], in traditional system under the guidance of Late Sukhendu Goswami. Rakhi had the opportunity to learn Dhrupad under the guidance of Pt. Abhay Narayan Mallick [Darbhanga school] and thumri from Pt. Govardhan Mishra [Gaya], during her long Khairagarh stay. Later after her return to her home-city Kolkata in 2001 she took the opportunity to learn with the legendary thumri singer Vidushi Purnima Chaudhury.
Smt. Purabi Dutta affectionately trained her in Nazrulgeeti [a variety of Bengali song] and her maternal aunt, Jayanti Roy, taught her Bengali Folk song. She also delineates Rabindrasangeet and modern songs with ease, because of her exceptional natural aptitude.
Rakhi served as a Guest Faculty member, teaching Graduate courses in Vocal Music during 1995 and 1996, at the Indira Kala Sangit Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh, India… the only university in India devoted to the exclusive teaching of Music Performing and Visual Arts. Currently, Rakhi is staying in Kolkata and is busy with different art activities.
She has started teaching Hindustani vocal music, directly on the Internet.