Jasdeep Singh Degun

Leeds-born sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun has made classical music history, becoming the first sitarist to win a Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Award. Jasdeep has also become the first Indian Classical musician to receive this award. 

DesiYUP and de Doelen collaborated last year to bring Jasdeep over in 2023, May. His concert ANOMALY was a great success, especially the younger generation of Indian classical listeners were positively impacted by the concert. 

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.

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.

Billed by The Sunday Times 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. The annual ceremony took place on 5 March in Manchester. 

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.  

Jasdeep’s unique energy and vision to both Indian classical and contemporary music has seen him receive a number of awards and accolades since his Sky Academy Scholarship in 2016 including: the Songlines Best Newcomer Award, a Critics’ Circle Music Award and UK Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, an Asian Achievers Award, an Asian Media Award, and a nomination for Best Stage Work at last year’s Ivor Novello Classical Awards.

Jasdeep’s musical journey is a testament to his unwavering dedication, relentless pursuit of musical knowledge, and the melding of diverse influences that define his artistry. Having worked with Nitin Sawhney and Cerys Matthews, and performed for the Royal Family and at the BBC Proms, Jasdeep is passionate about redefining and exposing music, and musicians, from his heritage to new audiences. 

Jasdeep closed the awards ceremony with a beautiful performance of his debut solo single on Real World Records, Veer; an original composition based on a traditional folk melody from the Indian state of Punjab. Joining Jasdeep on stage were Aestus Quartet from RNCM, and Harkiret Bahra on tabla.

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