"I am sustained by these beautiful, inspiring recordings of her work. The depth of her scholarship, so carefully revealed in her book, transposes into her singing, as well. It is rare to experience such a great confluence of study and art."
Organ artiste, Boston, Masachusettes
Dr Subhadra Desai is a professional Vocalist of Hindustani Classical genre, and an academic engaged in Music education and Research. Her music is characterized by a graceful voice and meditative timbre, recognized by both music connoisseurs as well as a broad spectrum of listeners. She believes in purity in Form and Purpose and wholeheartedly pursues her Art.
Subhadra has been performing at music festivals and other forums in India and abroad for the past twenty years. She is an empanelled artist with Indian Council for Cultural Relations since 2000, and an accredited A grade artist at All India Radio and Television in the Devotional Music genre.
A senior disciple of Pt. Madhup Mudgal, Subhadra continues to receive his guidance to achieve greater rigor and artistic insight in her music. Her initial training was under Padmashri Pandit Vinay Chandra Maudgalya and Smt Padma Devi at Gandharva
Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi. She has also had the privilege of learning from Vidushi Malini Rajurkar and Pandit Dinkar Kaikini as part of the Mani Mann National Fellowship at the aegis of Sanskriti Pratishthan, New Delhi.
In the past few years, Subhadra has toured and given successful solo performances in Korea, Germany, Bangladesh and Washington DC, New Jersey, Boston, Lexington, Providence (Rhode Island), Massachusetts in the United States of America; and London, Liverpool and Manchester in the UK.
Subhadra’s important classical vocal performances in India include Pt. Vishnu Digambar Jayanti, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Swaralaya, Jaidev Utsav, Swathi Thirunal Festival in Delhi, Uttaradhikar in Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, Music Conferences in Kolkata, Varanasi, World Music Festival in Udaipur, Nalanda,
Motihari, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and others.
In 2001 and 2016, Subhadra had the honor of presenting solo performances for Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Concert and Indira Gandhi Memorial Concert respectively, before the President and Vice President of India and many other dignitaries.
Subhadra also had the privilege of performing solo at the sacred Tirupati temple in 2012 and at Dwarkanath temple in 2014.
Her recent major performances include the Bhakti Utsav Jaipur , Udaipur World Music Festival, Milapfest at Liverpool and Manchester, Nehru Center and Vedanta Center in London, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi, Pandit Atul Desai Foundation Music Festival, Ahmedabad, Rasaja Foundation, Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Concert, Delhi, National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA) and Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, Ramakrishna Math, Rajkot and Almora.
In addition to her performance engagements, Subhadra presents lecture-demonstrations and workshops on Indian Music at various Academic and Cultural Institutions, namely Centre for Cultural Resources & Training (CCRT), India Habitat Centre as part of Master Class, India International Centre and others. She has been a Jury member at the CCRT for National Scholarships and has been on the National Selection Committee for Republic Day Parade under the aegis of Ministry of Defence for the past two years .
Subhadra has been a Jury member on the board of Fulbright Fellowship in 2016.
Subhadra draws close to the wellsprings of Indian tradition. This invests her rendering of Devotional music with a tangible intensity that moves her listeners. She has composed and presented ancient texts in Sanskrit and Pali in classical Ragas. Some of her theme-based recitals have been on:
Advaita (the Indian philosophy of non- dualism or oneness of God and Creation) (Released as CD by Smt Shiela Dikshit, Chief Minister, Delhi in the presence of rev. Swami Gokulananda ji, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi. 2007.)
Ashtapadis from Gita Govindam (Habitat World, Delhi.)
Sanatana Vivaha mantra (sacred hymns on Hindu marriage from the Rigveda and Yajurveda)
Buddhist texts from Dhammapada and Sutta Nipata such as Maha Mangala Sutta, Ratana Sutta and others, presented at Nalanda Mahotsav at Nalanda, Rajgir and International Buddhist Conclaves held in Delhi and Bodhgaya. She has had the privilege of presenting these for Tibet House, New Delhi, where she received the sacred blessings of HH Dalai Lama.
In addition to being an accomplished classical vocalist, Subhadra is also a keen researcher on Indian Culture and has a Doctoral degree in Sanskrit from University of Delhi. Her academic works include two published books and several research papers on Indian Culture and Music, published in leading academic and cultural journals in India such as Kriti Rakshana, Prabuddha Bharat and others.
Music in Valmiki’s Ramayana (pub. Shubhi Publications, 2008) has received wide recognition across the globe. It is housed in several important libraries including the Loeb Library at Harvard University.
Indian Women Seers and their Songs: The Unfettered Note was jointly published by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Aryan Publications, 2017.
Subhadra has investigated Samavedic traditions of Vedic chanting, the outcome of which is published as part of her research with IGNCA.
She has also recorded and taught Rigvedic chanting at various Institutions.
Subhadra has taught at the following Institutions:
Ashoka University, Sonepat, as Visiting Faculty of Performing Arts and Sanskrit (2015-2017)
Lady Sriram College, New Delhi, as Assistant Professor of Sanskrit (2010)
Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi, as honorary faculty of Vocal Music to post-graduate students of Hindustani Music (1991-till date)
Her contribution to Music and Indian Culture has been recognised by:
Sanskriti Pratishthan, New Delhi, 2005.
Sahitya Kala Parishad, 1991-92.
Korea Spring Festival, Gold medal, 1999.
Bhagirathi Award, Delhi, 2010.
Woman of the Year Award, Delhi Gynaecological Forum, Delhi, 2011.