Arjun Verma …
…has spent his entire life steeped in the tradition of North Indian Classical Music. The son of internationally performing sitarist Roop Verma, a disciple of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, Arjun began learning sitar from his father at age five.
As a teenager, Arjun was deeply inspired by the preeminent sarode maestro, Ali Akbar Khan, and he ultimately moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to study directly with Ali Akbar Khan for eight years. In 2007, Arjun was awarded a Shenson Fellowship by the San Francisco Foundation to support his continued study at the Ali Akbar College of Music. Since the Maestro’s passing in 2009, Arjun has continued his training under the able guidance of Ali Akbar Khan’s son, Alam Khan. Arjun has also received guidance from Smt. Annapurna Devi.
Arjun’s playing is based on the musical approach of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. He has developed innovative sitar techniques inspired by the Maestro’s style, and is also influenced by sitarist Nikhil Banerjee. Arjun’s playing also incorporates musical elements drawn from his long apprenticeship with his father, Roop Verma. The combination of these influences results in a style encompassing the deeply contemplative as well as the exhilarating elements of Indian Music.
With 25 years of performance experience at venues such as Prague Castle, Pattee Arena, the Fillmore, Fox Theater, the New School, and the United Nations in Geneva, Arjun has emerged with a unique voice on the sitar—both within the tradition of North Indian Classical Music, and through his innovative cross-genre collaborations with Celtic, Jazz, and Western Classical musicians.
…has spent his entire life immersed in the tradition of Indian Classical Percussion. The son of Maestro Swapan Chaudhuri and a disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Nilan received his first Tabla lesson from his father at the age of five.
Drawing inspiration from his father’s innovative and revolutionary approach to classical Tabla solo, Nilan was determined from a young age to be proficient as a soloist. He presented his first public Tabla solo at the age of eleven, at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael in the presence of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. Within months of his first recital, sensing his passion and devotion to the art form, Nilan was accepted as a ganda bandan disciple of Khansahib’s and underwent the sacred ceremony in which the Guru ties a thread around the disciple’s hand, initiating a life long bond and blessing. Over the course of the next decade, Nilan would go on to lead the AACM youth Tabla Ensemble, performing various arrangements of his father’s compositions in ensemble format throughout the United States and India. It was during these formative years that Nilan was introduced to the world of Tabla accompaniment by Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, providing rhythmic support for his vocal and instrumental classes at the College.