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La Jolla Music Society

Zakir Hussain

Masters of Percussion

Winner of the 2022 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy

Every other year for the past thirty years, Zakir Hussain has served as curator, conductor, and producer for his series, Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, which brings the very cream of Indian music and world percussion to tour America and Europe
Growing out of his renowned international tabla duet tours with his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, Masters of Percussion began as a platform for both popular and rarely heard rhythm traditions from India. While performing and collaborating in India for a few months every year, Zakir has sought and unearthed lesser-known folk and classical traditions which feed into the greater stream of Indian music, playing an educational role in affording them greater visibility, as well as introducing them to audiences in the West. Over time, the constantly changing ensemble has expanded to include great drummers and percussionists from many world traditions, including jazz and Latin music.

All of it creates a truly beautiful field from which he can bring Masters of Percussion to the West. The 2023 version will be no exception, presenting American audiences with extraordinary, exciting, and spontaneous combinations of percussive as well as melodic performances.

Past years have included master drummers from Central Asia, India, and the US, virtuosi like Abbos Kosimov, a master of the Uzbek frame drum known as the doyra; Marcus Gilmore, the most talked-about young jazz drummer of our time; Eric Harland of Sangam; and Niladri Kumar, the great young sitarist.
They play individually and together, and the results are unforgettable; 2023 will be no exception. It will feature Zakir Hussain, Sabir Khan, Tupac Mantilla, Melissa Hié, and Navin Sharma.

Zakir Hussain

The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, whose mastery of his percussion instrument has taken it to a new level transcending cultures and national borders. Along with his legendary father and teacher, Ustad Allarakha, he has elevated the status of the tabla both in India and around the world.

A child prodigy touring in India from the tender age of twelve, Zakir quickly became a favorite accompanist for India’s greatest musicians and dancers. He began his international touring career by the age of eighteen, and has been at the helm of many genre-defying collaborations including Shakti, Remember Shakti, Masters of Percussion, the Diga Rhythm Band, Planet Drum, Tabla Beat Science, and Sangam. His first solo album, Making Music, was released in 1987, acclaimed as “one of the most inspired East-West fusion albums ever recorded.” In 1991, Planet Drum, an album co-created and produced with Mickey Hart, became the first recording to win a GRAMMY in the Best World Music category and the Downbeat Critics’ Poll for Best World Beat Album.

Zakir’s music and extraordinary contribution to the music world were honored in April, 2009, with four widely-heralded and sold-out concerts for Carnegie Hall’s Artist Perspective series. He is the 2022 Kyoto Prize Laureate in Arts and Philosophy and is the recipient of countless awards, including two GRAMMYs, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Officier in France’s Order of Arts and Letters, the 2022 Aga Khan Music Award, and the 1999 National Heritage Fellowship, the USA’s highest honor for a master of traditional arts. Voted “Best Percussionist” by both the Downbeat Critics’ Poll and Modern Drummer’s Reader’s Poll over several years, including 2020, Zakir was honored with SFJazz’s Lifetime Achievement Award at their 2017 Gala for his “unparalleled contribution to the world of music.”

As a composer, he has scored music for numerous feature films, and has composed three concertos, the most recent enjoying the distinction as first-ever for tabla and orchestra. In 2009, Triple Concerto for Banjo, Bass and Tabla and new works composed by Zakir, Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck, were released as the GRAMMY-nominated The Melody of Rhythm. Zakir’s second concerto, Ameen, Amen, Shanti – Concerto for Four Soloists, a special commission for the National Symphony Orchestra, premiered at Kennedy Center in March 2011, and his third concerto, Concerto for Tabla and Orchestra, was premiered in September, 2015, by the Symphony Orchestra of India, subsequently enjoying international premieres.

Zakir’s career as an educator is no less impressive, having led workshops and master classes all over the world over the course of his career. He has been a professor at Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Washington, and at UC Berkeley in the prestigious post of Regents Lecturer. Zakir’s yearly tabla workshop in Marin County, California, draws hundreds of serious students and performers. In 2019, he was selected as a Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow and awarded honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music, Boston, from Indira Kala Sangeet University, Khairagarh, and, in 2022, from Mumbai University.

Zakir is the founder and president of Moment Records, an independent record label presenting rare live concert recordings of Indian classical music and world music.

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Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion brings together a truly international group of musicians, performing together for the first time on this tour:

Zakir Hussain, tabla

Sabir Khan, sarangi

Tupac Mantilla, percussion

Melissa Hié, djembe

Navin Sharma, dholak


Military and Student discounts available! Call the Box Office at 858-459-3728 to learn more.

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