Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar is a singular figure in the Indian classical and progressive world music scenes. Her dynamic and spiritual musicality has garnered several prestigious accolades, including five Grammy® Award nominations, recognition as the youngest – and first female – recipient of a British House of Commons Shield, credit as an Asian Hero by TIME Magazine, and a Songlines Best Artist Award. Most recently, she became one of the first five female composers to have been added to the UK A-level music syllabus.
Deeply rooted in the Indian Classical music tradition, Anoushka studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar, and made her professional debut as a classical sitarist at the age of thirteen. By the age of 20, she had made three classical recordings for EMI/Angel and received her first Grammy® nomination, thereby becoming the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category. In 2005, Anoushka released her self-produced breakthrough album Rise, which earned her a second Grammy® nomination. Following this nomination Anoushka became the first Indian artist to perform at the Grammy® Awards.
As an international solo artist, Anoushka has performed in a range of distinguished venues such as Carnegie Hall, Barbican Centre, Sydney Opera House, Vienna Konzerthaus, Salle Pleyel, Royal Festival Hall, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Palais des Beaux-Arts and the KKL Luzern. Her event appearances include the Verbier Festival, the Prague Spring Festival, Boom Festival and the London Proms.
Anoushka has championed her father’s four sitar Concertos with the world’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Lucerne Symphony and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, under the leadership of esteemed conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kristjan Järvi and Jakob Hrusa.
In 2011 Anoushka signed to Deutsche Grammophon, heralding a fertile creative period which was rewarded with three further consecutive Grammy® nominations. Traveller(produced by Javier Limon), was a critically-hailed exploration of Indian Classical music and Spanish flamenco. This was followed by Traces of You (produced by Nitin Sawhney and featuring Anoushka’s half-sister Norah Jones on vocals), and Home, a purely Indian Classical album where she returned to the Ragas her father had taught her.
Through her bold and collaborative approach as a composer, Anoushka has encouraged cross-cultural dialogue whilst demonstrating the versatility of the sitar across musical genres. As a result, Anoushka has created a vital body of work with a prominent roster of artists such as Sting, M.I.A, Herbie Hancock, Pepe Habichuela, Karsh Kale, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Joshua Bell.
Recent highlights include curating a Tagore Festival at The Globe Theatre in London, dedicated to the legendary Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore, and a large-scale Zeitinsel at Dortmund Konzerthaus where she was given a carte-blanche to present four full-length programmes reflecting different aspects of her artistic life.