Pandit Shantilal Shah
My Mission as a musician, performer, and teacher is to impart my knowledge to the next generation in a pure and undiluted form, as imparted to me by my Gurus.
Shantilal Shah was born and raised in the culturally and artistically vibrant city of Banaras, India. His basic taalim was under Pandit Mahadev Prasad Mishra of the Banaras Gharana. He is a worthy disciple of Taal-Yogi Pandit Suresh Talwalkar.
Shantilal Shah has been studying and performing Indian Classical Music with intense passion for the last 40 years. In him lies a unique blend of Tabla repertoire and style as well as a deep understanding of the subtleties of Raga. Known for his highly musical playing, Shantilal Shah is equally comfortable with each of the three main and quite contrasting forms in this performing arena, Hindustani Classical Vocal, Instrumental, and Dance music. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to share the stage with some of the greatest names in Indian Classical Music, such as Sangeet Martand Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Pts. Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Smt. Padma Talwalkar and others.
He has also brought his unique sound and style to the world of Western Music. His initial foray was as a performer in the 2004 Hollywood film “Dancing in Twilight”, which received a Gold Medal of Excellence for a feature film score from the Park City Music Festival. In March, 2014, he performed to high acclaim with the Houston Grand Opera in their unique presentation, “River of Light”. This extremely successful and one of a kind program exposed Tabla in a new artistic medium, blending Indian Classical Music with Western Opera. Through his keen understanding of Indian music, Shantilal Shah has laid inroads to melodious combinations of East and West, drawing diverse crowds and rave reviews at such performances.
Shantilal Shah possesses a rare combination as a top-class musical performer as well as thinker/teacher for any level of student and has proven himself to be one of the most successful Tabla-Gurus of the present generation. He began teaching in Pune in the early 1980s under the banner of Nad-Roop, one of the leading performing art organizations of the city. Later, he moved to Tampa, Florida, USA, to join the faculty of the Pandit Jasraj School of Music as resident Tabla Guru. In 2003, Shantilal Shah moved to Houston, TX to join Samskriti, and in 2010 joined the faculty of Swaralayam Arts Forum. Since August of 2015, he has served as Tabla Guru for the Indian Music Society of Houston.
Innumerable disciples have received in-depth Taalim under his direct supervision, and all of his students have in common a rich understanding and enjoyment for music. This passion and appreciation for music and art continues to help them throughout their career and life as well. Two of his senior students, Ajinkya Joshi and Nilesh Ranadive, have gone on to become successful full time musicians and have performed across India and in the USA.
Blessings from the Greats
Smt. Padma Talwalkar
Shantilal’s devotion and zest to acquire knowledge and hard work has made him what he is today. With all his experience as a student, he himself has evolved into a great teacher. Because of Shantilal’s guidance and training, many of his students have taken music as their profession and not just as a hobby.”
Pt. Kishan Maharaj
In him, I see the ideal combination talent, knowledge, determination and worldly vision – a quality that has made him successful not only as a performer in India, but also as a performer – cum – teacher of this art in the western countries.”
Pts. Rajan & Sajan Misra
Today he is not only a performing artist but has evolved into a great teacher.”
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia