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Nitin Sawhney

ArtForm: Workshop Panellist, CityShowcase Act/Composer

"It would be easier to jot down what this man can't do than what he can."  -The Guardian, London, England

There's no disputing the fact that Nitin Sawhney is widely regarded as one of the most influential and versatile creative talents alive today.  Firmly established as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer, and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, dance, theatre, and film. 

To date, Sawhney has scored over thirty films from his London-based Spirit Dance studios, as well as having scored TV ads for the likes of Nike and Sephora.  His music for Channel Four's Second Generation saw him nominated for the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for Film and TV Composition (2004), and his scores have accompanied everything from dark, high-tension drama to light-hearted animatronics.  Known for his incredible degree of versatility and exceptional standards of excellence, Sawhney has established himself as one of the world's leading scorers for film and television. He recently scored Oscar-nominated director Mira Nair's adaptation of author Jhumpa Lahiri's, "The Namesake" for Fox Searchlight, as well as Natural World Symphony, a one hour natural history special, for BBC Worldwide.  Creative Artists Agency (CAA) represents Sawhney for North American film and TV productions and he recently judged the Best Film & TV Score categories at the 2005 BAFTAS,  Sawhney is currently working on a major video game due for release in 2007.

Sawhney's musical ability to transcend cultural barriers has gained him much recognition within the "classical" community. This year Sawhney composed a 1hr 20-minute piece for the London Symphony Orchestra to accompany a 1929 silent film, A Throw of Dice, which premiered at the Barbican Theatre, London in April 2006.  He has also recently worked with the BBC Concert Orchestra on Natural World Symphony, and the Philharmonia Orchestra on The Namesake. In 2004, Sawhney was commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia to compose several new performance works.  Past commissions include 2000's Urban Prophecies for The Proms, as well as 2001's Neural Circuits for the Britten Sinfonia and leading British pianist, Joanna MacGregor. Just recently, London's Royal National Theatre invited him to write and score his own work.

An acclaimed flamenco guitarist and classical/jazz pianist, Sawhney entered the professional world of recorded music approximately ten years ago, and has since released 7 studio albums - each one garnering critical acclaim. London's Outcaste Records released the breakthrough Beyond Skin in '99, which took a prestigious Technics Mercury Music Prize nomination and won Sawhney the coveted South Bank Show Award.  Subsequently, Richard Branson's V2 Records signed Sawhney to a six-album deal, and released the millennial epic Prophesy in 2001 (winning a MOBO Award as well as the BBC Radio 3 Music Award).  Clubland saw a welcomed return by Sawhney in 2004, with the release of All Mixed Up – the definitive Nitin Sawhney remix collection (including mixes of Sawhney's seminal works by MJ Cole, Bugz in the Attic, Nasha, Rishi Rich, Joe Clausell, London Elektricity, KV5, Fink, Ojos de Brujo, and Sei-ji) and FabricLive – Nitin Sawhney, released worldwide by London superclub Fabric. Sawhney's seventh studio album, Philtre, was released in May 2005.  He has toured each of his albums extensively around the world (single-handedly selling out London's Royal Albert Hall a month in advance, as well as selling out the Royal Festival Hall with the Britten Sinfonia), with major DJ performances being at the Lincoln Center Festival (NYC), the 9:30 Club (D.C.), Fabric (London) and the Hollywood Bowl (LA) in 2004.

Sawhney has either written, remixed, played, or produced for a host of world-class artists, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sting, Sinead O'Connor, A R Rahman, Jeff Beck, and Will Young.

Sawhney's skills as producer and composer were called upon in 2000 when Cirque du Soleil approached him to produce the studio album of Varekai, which brought his unique sound to an even-wider audience. In 2002 he worked with Akram Khan and Anish Kapoor, scoring the music to Khan's critically acclaimed choreographed work Kaash, which toured worldwide between 2002 – 2003.  Sawhney has since been commissioned to score the forthcoming (2007) Mahabharata adaptation by Olivier-award winning writer Stephen Clarke, as well as Khan's new piece, Zero Degrees, which premiered to rave reviews at Sadler's Wells Theatre in July 2005 and was recently nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award (contemporary dance).

Much of Sawhney's attention remains focused on the areas of education and community building, accepting the role of Artist in Residence for no less than 5 separate performing arts organisations across Great Britain and Asia.  This year Sawhney joined Sir George Martin as a patron for the British Government's Access-to-Music program (which brings non-traditional music education programs to inner-city kids), and is also patron of the Raindance East Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards.  Sawhney also appears regularly as an arts and current affairs commentator on topical discussion and news programs such as the BBC's Newsnight, Newsnight Review, and HardTalk.  He has also written for UK national broadsheets: The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, and The Observer.
Nitin Sawhney – PHILTRE (V2 Records)
(featuring Jacob Golden, Tina Grace, Fink, Vikter Duplaix, Ojos de Brujo, Reena Bhardwaj, Jayanta Bose, Taio, and Sharon Duncan)

'His most free-flowing, natural and effortlessly impressive album to date!'   THE TIMES
'Ambitious and accessible, Philtre rocks all the boats and ticks all the boxes!'  THE SUN
"Philtre is amazing!" DAILY STAR
'A record that recognises no boundaries.' -  SONGLINES
'His most assured, relaxed and successful work yet.' - THE GUARDIAN
'Big, bold and beautiful' DAILY EXPRESS
'Philtre is FULL of surprises.' - TIME OUT LONDON
'Sawhney has produced a beautifully balmy album.' - DAILY TELEGRAPH
'Playful and upbeat.' - OBSERVER MUSIC MONTHLY
'Bewitching & vivid' - Q MAGAZINE
'Well worth the wait!' MUSIC WEEK

Biog as provided for City Showcase 2006. 


Featuring In:

Nitin Sawhney at City Showcase: Session 28/2/2009
Saturday 28.02.2009
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