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Sandeep Bhagwati

Professor, Music
director, matralab - lab for research-creation in the performing arts
matrabox EV 4.502 matraoffice FB 630.23/25, Fine Arts

Canada Research Chair for Inter-X Art (2006-2016)

Sandeep Bhagwati
photo by Robert Del Tredici


Professor Sandeep Bhagwati is a multiple award-winning composer, theatre director and media artist. His compositions and comprovisations in all genres (including six operas) have been performed by leading performers at leading venues and festivals worldwide. He has directed international music festivals and intercultural exchange projects with Indian and Chinese musicians and leading new music ensembles. He was Professor of Composition at Karlsruhe Music University and Composer-in-Residence at the IRCAM Paris, ZKM Karlsruhe, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, IEM Graz, CalArts Los Angeles, Heidelberg University and Tchaikovsky Conservatory Moscow.

As Canada Research Chair for Inter-X Arts at Concordia University from 2006-2016, Professor Bhagwati founded and currently directs matralab, a research/creation center for intercultural and interdisciplinary arts. His current work centers on comprovisation, inter-traditional aesthetics, the aesthetics of interdisciplinarity, gestural theatre, sonic theatre and interactive visual and non-visual scores, interdisciplinary 'comprovisation,' live-dramaturgy, and experimental performance topologies.

He has founded and is the musical director of three ensembles of trans-traditional experimental music in Montréal ("Ecstasies of Influence"), Berlin ("Extrakte") and Pune ("Sangeet Prayog"). He has worked with many of the leading musicians of our time, including Wu Wei, Catherine Milliken, Shubha Mudgal, Simon Rattle, Dhruba Ghosh, Dave Taylor, Uday Bhawalkar, Gebrüder Teichmann, Kiya Tabassian, Mark Applebaum, Aiyun Huang, Nicholas Isherwood, David Rosenboom, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, China Found Music Workshop, Ensemble Modern, Lori Freedman, Klangforum Wien, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Jieun Kang, Jocelyn Clarke, Marie Annick Beliveau, Lorraine Vaillancourt, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Ruzicka, Lau Bonitz, Moritz Ernst, Arraymusic, Bozzini Quartet, Sonar Quartett, Berner Streichquartett, etc. and with many artists in fields other than music.

Awards & Grants

1991 European Composition Prize (Academy of Arts Berlin)
1992 Ernst-von-Siemens Prize (for the A*devantgarde Festival)
1995 Cité des Arts Paris Bursary
1997 Residency at Fondation Royaumont (France)
1997 Residency at Abbaye de la Prée (France)
1998 Fellowship at ZKM Center for Arts and Media Karlsruhe (Germany)
1999 Composer-in-Residence at Institute for Electronic Music Graz (Austria)
2000 Composer-in-Residence at Beethoven Orchestra Bonn (Germany)
2003 Composer-in-Residence at Darmstadt Spring Festival (Germany)
2003 Ernst-von-Siemens Prize (for the KlAngRiffe Festival)
2004 Composer-in-Residence at Villa Concordia Bamberg (Germany)
2006 Canada Research Chair Award
2006 Composer-in-Residence at "links - biennial for contemporary music" Heidelberg (Germany)
2007 Composer-in-Residence at California Institute for the Arts Los Angeles (USA)
2009 Guest Professor at the Centre for Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg (Germany)
2013/14 Guest Professor at the University of Arts UdK Berlin
2014 Composer-in-Residence, Time of Music Festival Viitasaari Finland
2015 Hind Rattan Award (Jewel of India Award)

Artistic performances

Selected compositions


- Quênâh - Szenen einer Katastrophe (music theatre, text by the composer, after interviews with Bosnian refugees, Elias Canetti, Franz Kafka, Michel Butor, Heiner Müller, Gabrielle Adler, Henry Miller), 7 mixed voices a capella, 1995;
- Macht Masse Mensch (music theatre, text by Gunna Wendt & the composer, after Elias Canetti), baritone, 3 actors, 5 mixed voices, small orchestra (16 players), 1995;
- Three Women Trois Femmes Drei Frauen (music theatre work/installation, text by the composer), female voice, actress, female cellist, computer, 1996-97;
- Ramanujan (5 act opera, libretto by the composer), 10 soloists, violin, small orchestra (20 players), live computer, 1997;
- stroboscopic arias (abstract-movement scenes, text by the composer), voice, female dancer, double bass, 2000- (ongoing work; may be performed by one performer);
- Prinzessin Süssüsan (Princess Süssüsan) (opera for children, libretto: Peter Truschner & the composer), 4 adult singers/mimes, 7 child soloists, 3 children choirs, medium-sized orchestra (30 players), 2004-2007


- Tag - Sinfonia sacra (text by Novalis), boy soprano, soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, large orchestra, 1993;
- Ritual Virility Machine, for large orchestra, 1998;
- Entrances, for large orchestra, 2000;
- l'essence de l'insensible, small orchestra (12 players) (around hall, without conductor), click track, 2000;
- Wörterbuch der Winde (texts by Percy Bysshe Shelley, St.-John Perse, the composer), Chinese ensemble (male voice [Chinese opera tradition], sheng, gu zheng, pipa, liuqin, yangqin, percussion), Western ensemble (soprano, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, double bass, percussion) (2 conductors), 2002;
- Sangit Sambhav (Origin of Music) (with Ashok Ranade) small orchestra (13 players), 2003;
- inside a native land (concerto), trombone, 8 groups (16 players) (without conductor), live electronics, 2002-04;
- RASAS - Ritual and Sophisticated Areas of Sound, for small orchestra (16 players), 2000- (ongoing conceptual work);
- Samagam (Together) (with Shubha Mudgal & Aneesh Pradhan), Khayal singer, Drupad singer, Tabla, Sarangi, Tanpura, 18 musicians, 2006;
- Vineland Stelae (concerto), trombone, 8 soloists (sarod, shakuhachi, tabla, gamelan ensemble, ewe drums, saxophone, jazz trumpet, marimba), 16 musicians, live-electronics and video projections, 2007
- Racines Ephémères, concert-installation for 8 wandering musicians and obbligato conductor, 2008
- Stele III for James Tenney, version for string orchestra, 2009

Chamber music

- Sonata, cello, piano, 1990;
- Variations (string quartet no. 1), 1991;
- Agni or 45 Modes of Easy Listening, two pianos, 1993;
- Dornenstück, piano 4 hands, 1994;
- alam al-mithal (string quartet no. 2), 1995;
- why sing why cry, violin, cello, 2000;
- a whirl of perspectives, violin, 2000;
- PindarExzisen (texts by Pindar, Friedrich Hölderlin), untrained female voice,
- speaker, shaman, dulcimer, zither, viola, 2002;
- awkwardly skirting disaster, cello, 2001-03;
- MORA, bass clarinet, trombone, cello, obbligato conductor, 2004;
- Petits Traités, 2 electric guitars, 2004;
- STELE I, prepared piano, 2004;
- Illusies van Harder en Zacht (Illusions of Noise and of Silence), for sheng, guzheng, viola, violoncello (other versions exist) 2004-2006 (ongoing work);
- STELE II for Wolfgang Stryi, for violin, cello, bass clarinet and gong, 2005;
- Traces and Shadows, sheng, 2006;
- STELE III for James Tenney, version for string quartet, 2006;
- Scardanelli Sonate, piano, 2007;
- Transience for 1-3 aerophones and 1-3 chordophones, from different traditions, 2008
- Souvenir de Wien, string quartet, 2009


- Hölderlin Chöre (text by Friedrich Hölderlin), mixed choir a capella, 1986 ;
- Exterritorial III, 'Finisterre' (text by Fernando Pessoa), 12 mixed voices, organ, 1993;
- chants translucent ephemeral (text by the composer), any 1-36 voices, computer ad libitum, 1996;
- Atish-e-Zaban (Fires of the Tongue) (Text by Faiz Ahmad Faiz), 6 solo singers (SMATBarB) a capella, 2006


- Exterritorial II, 'Still allein' (text by Ernst Herbeck), baritone, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion, 1993;
- Raggerlieder (5 songs, text by Bernhard Ragger), soprano, piano, 1994;
- Katarakt Meer Katarakt (text by Dylan Thomas), soprano, string quartet, 2 percussion, 1995;
- Tre Canti di Sigismondo d'India, mezzo-soprano, string quartet, 1995;
- Grünbein Lieder (4 songs, text by Durs Grünbein), mezzo-soprano, string quartet, 2000;
- songs on nothing (4 songs, text by Dilip Chitre), mezzo-soprano, violin, 2002;
- Lieder des Lichts (4 songs, text by Raoul Schrott), mezzo-soprano, cello, 2003;
- To those born far away from home (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, violin, cello, 2003


- no body no cry, 21 min, CD (radio art), 1998;
- neither here nor there, 240 min, 4 channel live installation, 2000;
- 4'33" absolute zero remix, 5 min, CD (radio art), 2001;
- Die Gesänge der Ghat Biwa, 49', CD (radio art), 2002;
- Bombay Echo Chamber, 60 min, 4 channel installation, 2003;
- Cliff! (on a poem by Ulrike Draesner), 27 min, CD (radio art), 2004;
- all over again (on a poem by Philip Larkin),1 min, CD (radio art), 2004


- Cantus ad ventum (site-specific performance/open-air event, text by the composer), 5 early music voices, 3 mixed choruses, 4 hot-air balloons, 1995;
- Mind the Gaps (performance, text by the composer), female voice, speaker, 12 objects (in vitrines), light/room installation, live electronics,
- 1995;
- Schnee Schrift Sprache Schweben (performance, text by the composer), 2 folk voices, speaker, Alphorn, dulcimer, zither, film, 1995;
- Zukunftsmusik (performance, all players also roar, speak, whisper), soprano, English horn, trumpet, violin, double bass, 1999;
- making music (site-/date-specific light/audio/object installations, audience-participation/text performances, text by the composer), voice, dancer, small orchestra (14 players), 2000;
- neither here nor there (site-/performer-specific light/audio/film installations, text performances, text by the composer), butoh dancer, kathak dancer, performer (with interactive body suit), carillon, percussion, live-electronics, live-video, 2000;
- urban.dis.urban (multimedia-concert installation), film (by Yvette Mattern), 2001 (includes compositions, remixes by 10 composers); >>forwardI20.02.2002Irewind<< (site-/date-specific performance/palindromic music), 2002 (a compilation of many works by various composers using palindromes)
- PerSonAlia (collective creation with the performers) (theatre/performance), 12 performers/dancers/musicians, 2007;

Selected world premieres and other performances since 2006

(unless indicated otherwise, all performances are full evening length performances)

- Atish-e-Zaban for 6 voices a cappella, World New Music Festival Stuttgart, July 2006
- The Rasalila Project, Ensemble Modern, Venice Biennale, October 2006
- The Rasalila Project, Ensemble Modern, Alte Oper Frankfurt, November 2006
- Stele III for James Tenney, Bozzini Quartet, Montreal 2007 (15')
- Vineland Stelae for trombone and 40 musicians, REDCAT Theatre, Los Angeles November 2007
- Prinzessin Süssusan, opera for and with children, Bonn State Opera, February-April 2008
- Racines Ephemeres for 8 wandering musicians and obbligato conductor, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Vienna Modern Festival, 2008
- The Rasalila Project, Ensemble Modern, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, November 2008
- Transience, Ensemble Fiolutroniq, Montreal, May 2009 (12')

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