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Jasdeep Singh Degun becomes first sitar player to win Royal Philharmonic Society Award

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Leeds-born sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun has become the first sitar player to win a Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Award, winning in the Instrumentalist category.

The award ceremony took place yesterday evening at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music.

Billed as ‘the biggest night in UK classical music’, the RPS Awards shine a light on brilliant musical individuals, groups and initiatives inspiring communities across the UK.

Shortlisted for the Instrumentalist Award alongside cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson and pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, on winning, Jasdeep has also become the first Indian Classical musician to receive this award.

RPS Awards Judges said: Rainbows of sound burst from his instrument in the dazzling collaborations of his debut album and glorious re-telling of Orpheus with Opera North. He excels on so many remarkable levels.

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As composer, co-music director, and soloist, Jasdeep’s highly acclaimed opera Orpheus, commissioned by Opera North in partnership with South Asian Arts-UK, was also nominated for the Large-Scale Composition Award.

Jasdeep said: I’m thrilled to win the RPS Instrumentalist Award. I see all of these awards as a spotlight on the wonderful Indian classical musicians in this country. I am very thankful to my teacher Ustad Dharambir Singh and the numerous individuals and organisations that have supported me over the years.

The RPS Awards began in 1989. Previous recipients of the Instrumentalist Award include percussionist Evelyn Glennie, pianist Steven Osbourne, and violinist Nicola Benedetti.

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