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 Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud. Vilayat Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, Pt. V.G. Jog, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Ud. Amjad Ali Khan, Ud. Salamat Ali Khan, Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, Pt. Manilal Nag, Ud. Ali Ahmed Hussain, Ud. Aashis Khan, Dr. L. Subramanium, U Srinivas, Ud. Naseeruddin Sami, Smt. Veena Sahashrabuddhe, Ud. Shujat Khan, Ud. Saheed Parvez, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Nishat Khan, Ud. Rashid Khan, Pt. Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, Smt. Arti Anklekar, Smt. Kaushiki Chakraborty, 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 others as well. He performs with Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Joshua Bell, Yoko Ono Lenon, Dave Douglas, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Boby Sanabria, 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 together with 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, Chhand-Anand - a world percussion ensemble, RabiThakur – a ballet on the life of Tagore, Meghadootam – a feature program of music and dance on an ancient Indian poem, and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond – 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.
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, a guide book to Indian music titled Music of India and Those Forty Days, a journal of an austere practice regimen. He is on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh and New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He also taught at the Yale University, Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University, among many other major institutions in the USA, Europe and India. 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 started working relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. He made several trips to the country working with different levels of the society and administration and within a very short period of time was able to make a remarkable difference in the cultural life of the country. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Sunshine Award, Jadu Bhatta Award and Acharya Varistha Award.
In the Press
This was almost painfully reflective music, ending, finally, in an exuberant improvisatory interchange with Samir Chatterjee, whose Tabla playing also seemed less percussive than vocal. – The New York Times, 11/10/94.
The superb tabla player Samir Chatterjee joined the conversation in the second movement, pulsing tribute to the legendary Indian violinist L. Subramanium, and the music kicked into high gear, Kurkowicz’s scurrying violin riding Chatterjee’s intricate drumming over Technicolor splashes from the orchestra. Chatterjee’s solo legerdemain foreshadowed a violin cadenza, improvised by Kurkowicz in a slightly disparate Romantic style; an extended give-and-take between the two enthused soloists anchored the finale, framed by a torrential, exuberant tune up by the entire band, propelled by Chatterjee’s rhythmic authority and Kurkowicz’s energy. – Boston Globe (Matthew Guerrieri), October 22nd, 2007 about Swara Yantra of Shirish Korde performed with Boston Philharmonic
Tabla player Pandit Samir Chatterjee is a walking history book when it comes to Indian music. – WNYC (NPR).
This (‘Phoolan Devi Songs’ with Da Capo Chamber Orchestra at Markin Concert Hall) is a colorful, attractive piece, set on a lush, gaudy bed of amplification, aiming at an entertaining stylistic fusion; ….The highlight was the tabla playing of Samir Chatterjee in the final scene, which stood out from the other instruments with the kind of vivid, exciting performance that draws Western composers to a non-western music in the first place. - Anne Midgette, The New York Times, June 8th, 2006