Roopa Panesar

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Roopa Panesar remains firmly within the Hindustani classical idiom, but brings a distinctive style to sitar performance. Born in Leicester, she is considered one of the finest sitar players to emerge on the Indian classical music scene from the UK. 

She is a disciple of the renowned educationist and leading musician of the UK, Ustad Dharambir Singh ji MBE (a disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan). She began her training at the age of seven, under her Guru, until the present day.  She also learnt from the senior most disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Arvind Parikh ji. Her musical vision has been enriched while receiving guidance from other outstanding musicians visiting the UK including Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt Buddhaditya Mukherjee and Ustad Bahauddin Dagar.

Aside from touring Europe and the US, she has made numerous BBC appearances, collaborated with Mercury Prize winner Talvin Singh and the Belgian Symphony Orchestra, and recorded on the soundtrack of the film West is West. She has performed at multiple festivals and prestigious venues. She released her debut album, Khoj  (‘discovery’) in 2011, and her promising career continues on an upward trajectory. 

Roopa also played at the VJ75 memorial, in the presence of HRH Prince Charles, which was broadcast on BBC 1 and performed with Sir Simon Rattle for the CBSO 100 programme. Also qualified as a Chemical Engineer, Roopa made her choice to follow her musical passion and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional Sitarist. She is among a very small number of Indian females, worldwide, who have launched their careers as full-time touring sitar players.


"I was a chemical engineer and went to Aston University, and didn't think I would take up music professionally until about six years ago. I worked...for about two years, but then I decided to to take music up full time. I just didn't feel fulfilled in my job."



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