The Kennedy Center

Rahul Sharma


Rahul Sharma has carved a niche for himself in the world of Indian classical and world fusion music, with more than 60 released albums spanning a career of 15 years. This young artist has experimented with his music and taken the 100-stringed santoor into various genres, from classical to new age and world fusion/electronica.

Having released more than 60 live and studio recordings, some of his milestone albums are Music of The Himalayas which he has recorded for Peter Gabriel’s label called Real World Records, primarily based on folk music from the region of the Himalayas. Sharma’s new age album called Zen received the best instrumental album awarded by MTV IMMIES India.

In 2002 Sharma was the first Indian musician to record with the French pianist Richard Clayderman and composed two albums with Clayderman called Confluence. Some of Sharma’s recent work includes his live recording with the tabla percussion wizard Zakir Hussain. In 2011 Sharma released one of India’s best-selling albums called Namaste India, with Grammy winner and world renowned saxophonist Kenny G and featuring the voice of India’s leading actor Amitabh Bachchan. All compositions were done by Sharma and Kenny G plays live with Sharma in the album. He also released Rebel, a santoor rock album; Kashmir, with folk musicians from Kashmir; and Call of the Valley, where he revisited the form of a thematic instrumental album. In 2012 he released Deep India, a collaboration with Grammy-winning musician Eric Mouquet of the tribal-electronica group Deep Forest. All the above albums have been best sellers.

Sharma was taught the santoor by his father and Guru Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, who is a music legend in India and throughout the world. Sharma’s father Shivkumar Sharma was instrumental in bringing this little known instrument, the santoor, out from the valleys of Kashmir and introducing it to the Indian classical music world. Today, Sharma not only performs worldwide, whether it’s the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) or Edinburgh Festivals, or performing at The Esplanade in Singapore or the Royal Festival hall in London. He has also, successfully composed music for Bollywood films with leading film stars. In 2002 he was one of the youngest music directors for whom the nightingale of India Lata mangeshkar sang all the songs for Yash Chopra’s Mujhse Dosti karoge, starring Hritik Roshan-Kareena Kapoor. However his interest primarily stays with Indian classical, fusion, and experimental music. He is expected to release major collaborations in the near future and be a fine torchbearer to his father’s legacy.