Jasdeep Singh Degun


Composer, arranger and improviser; consummate soloist and generous collaborator; custodian of tradition and restless innovator, multi-award winning sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun is an anomaly indeed. Unconstrained by genre, the Leeds-born virtuoso’s extraordinary skill and creativity are reshaping the musical landscape for his peers, and for generations to come.

Amid artist residencies and fellowships, an international concert schedule, royal command performances and the well-deserved laurels of recent years, Jasdeep’s lifelong training in gayaki ang – a lyrical approach to the sitar that mimics the human voice – has remained his anchor and his passion. “In our tradition, you're always a student”, he explains. “My teacher, Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE, shows me how big the music is, and how much we still have to explore.” 

Following his triumphant sitar concerto Arya, premiered with the Orchestra of Opera North in 2020, Jasdeep’s debut album was released in 2021 on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. Recorded with the legendary Nitin Sawhney and the support of a Sky Academy Scholarship, Anomaly ranges from high-wire sitar solos to lush, string-laden cinematic excursions. It places the sitar in exhilarating contemporary settings, yet its roots remain in the melodic and rhythmic frameworks of Indian classical music. 

As Artist in Residence at Opera North in 2022, Jasdeep continued in pursuit of his vision to combine the scale of orchestral music with the spontaneity of Indian classical improvisation. The brilliance – and the integrity – of the tapestry of Indian and European music that he wove as composer and co-music director on a new staging of Monteverdi’s opera Orpheus thrilled audiences and critics alike. His groundbreaking work was recognised with awards including Outstanding Achievement in Opera at both the Critics’ Circle and the UK Theatre Awards, and Best Stage Production at the Asian Media Awards. He closed an unforgettable 2023 by taking home the Asian Achievers’ Art and Culture Award, and Best Newcomer at the Songlines Awards. 

On the operatic stage, in the studio and on the concert platform in venues from Westminster Abbey to the Ampitheatre in Doha, Jasdeep is forging powerful new musical forms. “It’s really not a matter of different worlds meeting”, he reflects. “It’s just me: as much as I’m immersed in Indian classical music, I’m a product of this country; I’m a British composer”. Whether completing his sitar concerto during a residency at Benjamin Britten’s home in Aldeburgh, working simultaneously in raag and western counterpoint in the Orpheus rehearsal room, or trading quicksilver improvisations in the moment with an Indian classical percussionist, his approach to music-making is always instinctive, organic, unprejudiced. 

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