Photo : Dibyarka Chatterjee
Samir Chatterjee is a virtuoso Tabla player from India. He travels widely across the world throughout the year performing in numerous festivals as a soloist or with other outstanding musicians from both Indian and non-Indian musical traditions. Samir performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway in 2007. He also performed a few times at the United Nations General Assembly. His compositions are widely acclaimed as well as his writings. Samir is a firm believer in the transforming effect of music on the society and all aspects of his work reflects this conviction.
Chatterjee began his studies early with Pandit Bankim Ghosh, Pt. Balaram Mukherjee, Pt. Rathin Dhar and Mohammad Salim. His later formation as a musician occurred under the guidance of Pt. Amalesh Chatterjee (since 1966) and Pt. Shyamal Bose (since 1984). All of Samir's teachers have been from the Farrukhabad Gharana (school) of Tabla-playing, which he now represents.
Samir is rated ‘A’ as an artiste of Indian national radio and television. He can be heard on numerous recordings featuring as soloist, accompanying many of India's greatest musicians and in collaboration with western musicians of outstanding caliber. In concert Samir has accompanied many of India's greatest musicians including Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Jasraj, Nikhil Banerjee, V.G. Jog, Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ramnarayan, Sultan Khan, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Amjad Ali Khan, Salamat Ali Khan, Lakshmi Shankar, Aashis Khan, L. Subramanium, Vijay Raghav Rao, Umashankar Mishra, Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Ramesh Misra, Shujat Khan, Ajoy Chakraborty, Rashid Khan, U. Srinivas, Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Debashish Bhattacharya, Shujat Khan, Shahid Parvez, Kala Ramnath, Anouska Shankar, to name only a few.
Samir Chatterjee lives in the New York-New Jersey area, and has been a catalyst in the fusion of Indian and Non-Indian music, in his own creations and those of others. He performs with Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Dave Douglas, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Yale Strom, Boby Sanabria, Ben Verdery, Mark Dresser, DJ Logic, Min Xao-Fen, Jin Hi Kim, Dance Theater of Harlem, Boston Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Ethos Percussion group, Da Capo Chamber Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva and other jazz, classical and avant guard musicians and ensembles. He is member of jazz trio SYNC with Ned Rothenberg and Jerome Harris and quintet Inner Diaspora including Mark Feldman and Eric Friedlander. He also collaborates with Sufi-Rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon from Pakistan. He is the composer and director of Indo-Flame - a blend of Indian and Flamenco dance and music, Tablaphilia - a tabla symphony on the four stages of human life, RabiThaku - a ballet on the emotional life of Tagore, Meghadutam - a musical including dance on an ancient Sanskrit poem with the same name, Chhand-Anand - a world percussion ensemble and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond – a musical expression on the effect of music on humans and nature. He performs with Sanjay Mishra on his CD "Blue Incantation" featuring Jerry Garcia as guest artist. He is also featured in recordings with Peter Gabriel, Joshua Bell, Melissa Etheridge, Keller Wiiliams and shared the stage with Sting, Elton John, James Taylor, Alicia Keys, Earth Wind and Fire, Annie Lennox, among many others
Samir Chatterjee has been teaching for the last 35 years and many of his students are established performers. He is the Founder-Director of CHHANDAYAN, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Indian music and culture. He has authored a comprehensive 654-page book entitled ‘A Study of Tabla’ and a guide book to Indian music titled ‘Music of India’. He is on the faculty at Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh, New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and University of Bridgeport in CT. He also contributes to several newspapers and periodicals. He won gold medal for his proficiency in a musical examination and has two master degrees, in English and History.
Since June, 2008 Samir has been working relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. He has made several trips to the country working with different levels of the society and administration and within a very short period of time he has been able to make a remarkable difference in the cultural life of the country.