Sukanya: Meet the musicians

For the world premiere production of Ravi Shankar’s Sukanya, we’re delighted to be collaborating not only with an international cast of singers, but also four acclaimed Indian classical musicians, two of whom are joining us from India especially for these performances.

M. Balachander (Mridangam & Konnokol)

M. Balachandar was born into a musical family, and started learning the mridangam at the age of 9. Gifted with an analytical mind and artistic sensitivity, he is at ease with many different genres of dance and music, including Carnatic classical music, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Hindustani classical music, Jazz, Fusion and many others. ‘Bala’, as he is fondly known in the music fraternity, has performed across the globe in many prestigious festivals and has appeared on international TV and radio with many of the greatest names in the field of Indian music and dance. Bala has been the resident mridangam teacher at London’s Bhavan Centre – the UK’s foremost hub of Indian music and dance – since 1995, and has trained many students to a professional level. Bala is the recipient of many awards and titles and was awarded the Fellowship of Trinity College of Music, London in 2005.

Pandit Rajkumar Misra (Tabla)

Pandit Rajkumar Misra is one of the most renowned tabla players of Indian classical music. Having trained with his father, he has performed with leading artists in India as well as in international engagements, including concerts with the British Philharmonic Orchestra and a performance for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Rajkumar is a fellow of Trinity College London and the resident Guru at The Bhavan.

Parimal Sadaphal (Sitar)

A senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, Parimal Sadaphal started playing sitar at the age of 7 and trained with Shankar for over 25 years. As well as travelling and performing extensively both in an individual capacity and with Ravi Shankar’s touring group, Parimal is also an established senior consultant working international development organisations including The World Bank and United Nations Development Programme, and holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering.
Generously supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Ashwani Shankar (Shehnai)

Born into a family of musicians, Ashwani Shankar had his initial training with his father and grandfather (both also professional shehnai players), as well as learning with Pandit Ravi Shankar. With his brother Sanjeev he has gone on to perform at numerous music festivals across India, as well as internationally.
Generously supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Pirashanna Thevarajah (Ghatam, Morsing, Mridangam and Konnokol)

Pirashanna Thevarajah is a senior disciple of M. Balachandar, and one of the few percussionists of his generation to have a command of a variety of Indian percussion instruments, including the mridangam, kanjira, ghatam and morsing, as well as being proficient in the art of konnakol (Indian spoken rhythm). He has collaborated with many of the world’s foremost Indian classical and contemporary musicians, including Pandit Ravi Shanka, and performed at venues and festivals across Europe, India, the USA and Canada. Pirashanna has also featured on many albums and movie soundtracks, including Anoushka Shankar’s Grammy-nominated albums Traveller, Traces of You and Land of Gold.

We're enormously excited about being the first to perform Sukanya next month. We'll be giving the world premiere at Curve Leicester, followed by performances at The Lowry, Salford QuaysBirmingham Symphony Hall, and Royal Festival Hall in London.


Sukanya is a co-production between The Royal Opera, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Curve.
19 May performance in association with Southbank Centre.
Sukanya score completed by Ravi Shankar’s long-time collaborator David Murphy.
Generous philanthropic support from Arts Council England and the Bagri Foundation.