Tejas Tope (www.tejastope.com) is 21 years old, from Long Island New York, and is a senior at NYU Stern School of Business. Tejas has been learning tabla from Pt. Samir Chatterjee for 15 years. Additionally, since 2011, Tejas has been attending classes in the Summer with Ustad Zakir Hussain. At Zakirji's invitation, Tejas performed a tabla solo at the Barsi of Ustad Alla Rakha on February 3, 2018 at Shanmukhananda Hall in Mumbai.
At the ages of 7, 12, and 14, with the blessings of his Guru, he participated in one of USA’s highly acclaimed 5th, 10th, and 14th Annual All Night Concerts (May 2004, May 2009, May 2012) held in New York City, organized by Chhandayan (www.tabla.org). In the 2004 and 2009 events he participated in the Tablaphilia ensambles. Tejas accompanied Shri. Samarth Nagarkar on tabla at the 13th All Night Concert held in New York City, organized by Chhandayan in May 2012 and shared the stage with some of the legends in Hindustani Classical music.
Tejas received First prize in the instrumental category from 2005-2011 at the annual Vedic Heritage’s Holi Youth Talent Competition held in Hempstead, Long Island, NY. In the summer of 2006, he played at the 6th Marathi European Sammelan in Almelo, Netherlands, at the 13th BMM Convention in Seattle (June 2007), and 15th BMM Convention in Chicago (July 2011). In October 2007, Tejas had his Rangamanch Pravesh and presented tabla solo as a part of Chhandayan Concert Series. Tejas received first prize in the Swardhara Competition held by Marathi Vishwa of New Jersey in 2010 and 2012. Tejas is recipient of Chhandayan’s most prestigious Jyotsna Award in the student category in 2011.
At the age of 11, he recorded his compositions in a CD album entitled “Guru-Arpita – A Dedication to Pt. Samir Chatterjee” as a token of his affection, respect, and gratitude to his Guru. The CD album contains fifty-six compositions presented in structured tabla solo format in six taals. A booklet of his compositions accompanies the CD album.
In 2011, Tejas was invited to play tabla solo for the fall concert series at the Rocky Point Schools. From the sale of his CDs, he raised and donated over $500 to the Rocky Point Friends of Music. Tejas serves as a volunteer at the All Night Concerts held in NYC each year and has raised funds over $500 from the sale of his CD for Chhandayan.
At the annual Crescendo competition held in Atlanta, GA in September 2012 , Tejas won the 1st Prize in the under 15 tabla category. He also won the Mega Finals Round (shared this award with Nisha Kulkarni of Phoenix AZ) at the same competition. Recording and release of a complete CD album by Swarganga was the prize. The album has been recorded in Atlanta, GA, with blessings of Shri Chaitanya Kunte accompanying him on harmonium.
In addition to playing tabla solo in various venues in USA and abroad, Tejas has accompanied his Guru Pt. Samir Chatterjee (tabla solo), Pt. Ramesh Mishra (sarangi), Pt. Steve Gorn (flute), Samarth Nagarkar (vocal), Kunal Gunjal (santoor), Qais Essar (rabab), Padmashree Pt. Satish Vyas (santoor), Padmashree Pta. Rita Ganuli (vocal), Shakir Khan (sitar), Kedar Naphade (harmonium solo), Pta. Lalita Dantale-Kurulkar (vocal), Chaitanya Kunte (harmonium), Manoj Govindraj (vocal), Rucha Muley-Jambhekar (vocal), Paromita Das (vocal), and his sister, Priyanka Topé (vocal, www.priyankatope.com), and several other musicians over the past several years. Tejas attended 2 workshops conducted by Ud. Shahid Parvez in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 and 2013, he was invited by Phoenix Gharana and Swarganga to play tabla solo and accompany all participants in vocal and instrumental categories of all ages in their respective prestigious annual competitions. In 2013 Tejas accompanied students of Shri Manoj Govindraj at Guru Pournima held by AIM School of Music, Edison NJ, and kathak dance students of Guru Archana Joglekar at their rangamancha-pradarshan. Tejas also regularly accompanies accomplished singers in semi-classical and folk vocal and instrumental art forms, such as bhajans, ghazals, thumris, chaitis, laavnis, bhavgeets, natyasangeet, etc.
As a part of his self-study, during 2012 and 2013, he has learned several compositions published by Pt. Arvind Mulgoankar in his books, CDs, and DVDs, over 2 year of self-study he has compiled about 1-hour solo using the traditional format of tabla solo, and has recorded it his new album Space Within Beats.
Tejas has received training in Pakhawaj from Pt. Mohan Shyam Sharma Shri. Pratap Awad, and Pt. Manik Munde.
With blessings of Pt. Ramesh Mishra accompanying him on Sarangi, during the summer of 2013, Tejas recorded 2 tabla and pakhawaj solo albums entitled Inner Rhythm and Space Within Beats. He has also recorded a self-composed 10.5-matra taal which he has named “Ardhadhik Dashanan” (half plus 10-headed Ravana). Tejas accompanied Shri Manoj Govindraj in album entitled Swar-Ras (classical vocal), and Baad-E-Naubahaar (Ghazals). He also accompanied Smt. Rucha Muley Jambhekar in album entitled Bhav-Rang.