Nilan Chaudhuri is a Bay Area-based percussionist, educator, and performer. Initiated into the tradition of Indian Classical Music at the age of five by his father, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Nilan has been performing as a tabla soloist and accompanist for nearly two decades. Prior to beginning his formal training with his father in 2000, Nilan studied tabla with Brad Van Cleve, Tim Witter, and Uttam Chakraborty, all of whom are senior disciples of his father.
Nilan presented his first public tabla recital at the age of eleven, at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, in the presence of Maestro Ali Akbar Khansahib. It was during these formative years that Nilan was introduced to the world of tabla accompaniment by Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, providing rhythmic support for his vocal and instrumental classes at the college.
In 2003, Nilan began learning the drum set with Sly Randolph, of Richmond, California. Today, Nilan experiments regularly with bridging the two styles of Indian and American drumming—playing a hybrid kit that fuses together the tabla and drum set and incorporates electronic percussion instruments, such as the Roland HandSonic and Ableton Push. Since 2007, Nilan has had the incredible opportunity to attend tabla-centric rhythm workshops conducted by Ustad Zakir Hussain. He has also attended South Indian percussion classes taught by ghatam Vidwan Subhash Chandran, kanjira Vidwan Ganesh Kumar, and Jim Santi Owen.
Since his debut performance in concert with his father in Queens, NY, in 2005, Nilan has had the privilege of sharing the stage with some of Hindustani Classical Music’s most celebrated artists, such as: Ustad Amjad Ali Khansahib, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pt. Ramesh Misra, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, and Alam Khan. He has performed in venues such as: Carnegie Hall, The Fillmore, The Monterey Pop Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival, Fox Theater, The San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, and The Kennedy Center. His genre-bending collaborations include performances, projects, and recordings with the likes of conductor Michael Morgan and the Fremont Symphony, Beck, sitarist Arjun Verma, sarodist Manik Khan, violinist Raaginder Singh Momi, The Toronto Tabla Ensemble, George Brooks, Dennis Chambers, Miles Schon, and DJ Teeko.
In addition to maintaining a rigorous performing schedule, Nilan teaches Tabla throughout the Bay Area as a faculty member at the Ali Akbar College of Music, in San Rafael, and as the Director of Percussion at Chitresh Das Institute, in San Mateo.