Shashank Subramanyam is a Carnatic classical flautist of India. Shashank, born on October 14, 1978, was barely nine months old when he was initiated to south Indian classical music, even before he started speaking his mother tongue.
As advised by flute maestro T R Mahalingam, he learnt only vocal music from veteran musicians including Palghat K V Narayanaswamy. At six, Shashank picked his father’s flute and stunned onlookers by playing, spontaneously, to signal his entry into the flute world. His maiden flute concert was at Adelaide, Australia, in September 1990 when he was 11, followed by his debut in India on December 20, 1990.
He became the youngest musician of the century to have been invited to play the prestigious ‘sadas’ concert on January 1, 1991, at the Music Academy, Madras. Since then, has been a celebrity flautist world over and performs in the company of top-ranking artistes in India and abroad.
Some landmark concerts of his have been Rashtrapathi Bhavan (The President’s Palace at New Delhi), Kennedy Center – Washington D.C., J. Paul Getty Hall – Hollywood, National Academy of Sciences – Washington D.C., Xebec Hall – Kobe, Japan, and Across Fukuoka – Fukuoka, Japan, India Music Group at St Xaviers College – Bombay, UNESCO – Paris, Tropical Institute – Amsterdam, Modigliani Hall-Padova, Italy, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, Seoul Plaza, Seoul, Korea.
Shashank’s introduction of multi-flute transposed fingering technique to merge flutes of different frequencies/lengths to the tonic note (the adhara shadja) – producing deep bass to the shrill sounds gave flute an enviable position in Indian music and has been acclaimed world over by music lovers as his significant contribution.
Shashank has enthralled audiences in India, the US, Canada, the UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Norway, South Africa, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea.
Shashank’s performances feature an extraordinary range of musical expression – from the deepest meditations to youthful fun and astonishing virtuosity. Audiences respond enthusiastically to his flair and unpretentious style. His percussionists add pizzazz to the performances with rhythmic texture that range from colourful, sparse punctuation to driving motives that swell to exhilarating levels during solo passages. He has 29 CD albums to his credit apart from two DVDs of his live concerts.
Shashank Subramanyam was born in a Sankethi family in Rudrapatna in the Hassan district of Karnataka, India to Hemalatha and Subramnayam. He was trained by his father and by the singers R.K. Srikantan, Palghat K.V. Narayanaswami, Sandyavandanam Srinivasa Rao and Pandit Jasraj. Shashank is married to Shirisha, a Bharatanatyam dancer. Shashank and Shirisha have a daughter “Swara” and live in Chennai, India.
Awards & Titles
• Shashank was awarded a direct A” Grade ranking in the All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV) in 1993 at his age of 13.
• The National Integration Award ( Spirit of Unity series) – 1991.
• Rotary awards of excellence 1995 and 1997.
• Empaneled artist of the ICCR under Outstanding and senior category since 1995.
• A recipient of the prestigious state award / title of Kalaimamani from the Tamil Nadu Government in the year 2000.
• Shashank is one of the youngest recipients of the A Top ranking in the All India Radio and Doordarshan (TV).
• Kuzhal Arasar by Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago.
• Grammy Nomination for the album Floating Point with John McLaughlin – 2009