Sandeep Bhagwati

(b. 1963, Mumbai).

German composer, born in India, of mostly stage, chamber and multimedia works that have been performed in Asia, Europe and North America; he is also active as a writer.

Mr. Bhagwati studied composition with Edison Denisov and Bogusław Schaeffer and conducting with Kurt Prestel at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg from 1984–87 and composition with Wilhelm Killmayer at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich from 1987–90, where he graduated with distinction. He also attended the Cursus Annuel de Composition et Informatique Musicale at IRCAM in Paris in 1995–96, on a scholarship.

Among his honours are the Europäischer Kompositionspreis from the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (1991, for Variations) and the Förderpreis der Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung in Munich (1992, 2003, each time for festivals that he founded). He has served as a fellow at IRCAM (1997–98) and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe (1998–99) and has served as composer-in-residence at the Fondation Royaumont (1997), the Abbaye de La Prée (1997), the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt (2003), the Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg (2004–05), the Biennale Heidelberg (2006), and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Santa Clarita (2007). His installation–performances have been performed in Austria, Canada, France, and Germany.

As a writer, he has contributed articles to publications in Europe and India, many of which appear in the collection Komponieren im 21. Jahrhundert (1998, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz). He is also a regular contributor of music programmes to radio stations in Germany.

He is also active in other positions. He has directed several music and theatre productions, mainly of his own works, in Canada, France and Germany. He served as artistic director of the concert series KammerMusikUtopien in Munich in 1989–90. He co-founded with Moritz Eggert the biannual festival for contemporary music A•DEvantgarde in Munich in 1991 and served as its artistic director from 1991–95. He also assisted Hans Werner Henze and Gerd Kühr with workshops at the Münchener Biennale from 1992–94 and served as composer-in-residence to the Beethoven Orchester Bonn in 1999–2000. He has served as curator of contemporaryXchange since 2001 and founded the festival KlAngRiffe – Festival for Risky Music in Karlsruhe in 2003. In addition, he served as curator of the festival Rasalîla – Spiel der Gefühle in Berlin in 2003 and directed a project for children with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2005.

He taught as a visiting professor of electronic music at the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz in 1998 and as Professor für Komposition und Multimedia at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe from 2000–03. He has served as Canada Research Chair for Inter-X Art at Concordia University in Montréal since 2006.

A resident of Europe since 1968, he now divides his time between Canada, Germany, India, and Switzerland.


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QuênâhSzenen einer Katastrophe (music-theatre work, text by the composer, after interviews with refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elias Canetti, Franz Kafka, Michel Butor, Heiner Müller, Gabrielle Adler, Henry Miller), 7 mixed voices, 1995

Macht Masse Mensch (music-theatre work, text by Gunna Wendt, the composer, after Elias Canetti), baritone, 3 actors, 5 mixed voices, small orchestra (16 players), 1995

chants translucent ephemeral (music-theatre work/performance, text by the composer), any 1–36 voices, computer ad libitum, 1996

Three Women Trois Femmes Drei Frauen (music-theatre work/installation, text by the composer; cellist must be female), female voice, female actor, cello, computer, 1996–97

Ramanujan (opera in 5 acts, libretto by the composer), 10 soloists, violin, small orchestra (20 players), computer, 1997

Die Jungfrau von Orleans (incidental music, play by Friedrich von Schiller), violin, viola, cello, live electronics, 1998

The Bacchæ (incidental music, play by Euripides; female actors also sing, make sounds), 5 female actors, 1998

Prinzessin Süssüsan (children's opera in 3 acts, libretto by Peter Truschner, the composer), any 7 children's voices, any 4 voices, voice–mime, 3 children's choruses, small orchestra (30 players), 2004–07

stroboscopic arias (abstract-movement scenes, text by the composer), voice, female dancer, double bass, 2000– (ongoing work; may be performed by one player)


TagSinfonia sacra (text by Novalis), boy soprano, soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, large orchestra, 1993

Ritual Virility Machine, large orchestra, 1998

Entrances, large orchestra, 2000

l'essence de l'insensible, small orchestra (12 players) (around hall, without conductor), click track, 2000

Wörterbuch der Winde (texts by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Saint-John Perse, the composer), Eastern ensemble (traditional male operatic voice, sheng [mouth organ from China], liuqin [mandolin from China], pipa [lute from China], yangqin [hammered dulcimer from China], zheng [zither from China], percussion), Western ensemble (soprano, flute, clarinet, viola, cello, double bass, percussion) (with 2 conductors), 2002

Sangit SambhavOrigin of Music, small orchestra (13 players), 2003 (collaboration with Ashok Ranade)

inside. a native land (concerto), trombone, orchestra in 8 groups (17 total players) (without conductor), live electronics, 2002–04

Vineland Stelæ (concerto–installation), shakuhachi (bamboo flute from Japan), contrabass flute, jazz trumpet, trombone, sarod (string instrument from India), marimba, drums of the Ewe people from western Africa, tablā, 4 gamelan players, orchestra in 8 groups, live electronics, 2005–07

Rasas, small orchestra (16 players), 2000– (ongoing work)


Sonata, cello, piano, 1990

Variations (string quartet no. 1), 1991

Exterritorial I, 'Flucht/Fremde' (players also shout text by Edmond Jabès), viola, cello, double bass, 1993

alam al-mithal (string quartet no. 2), 1995

why sing why cry, violin, cello, 2000

a whirl of perspectives, violin, 2000

PindarExzisen (texts by Pindar, Friedrich Hölderlin), untrained female voice, speaker, shaman, dulcimer, zither, viola, 2002

awkwardly skirting disaster, cello, 2001–03

MORA, conductor–shouter–Sufi dancer obbligato, bass clarinet, trombone, cello, 2004

Petits Traités, 2 electric guitars, 2004

Stele II for Wolfgang Stryi, bass clarinet, violin, cello, gong, 2005

Illusies van Harder en Zacht, sheng, zheng, viola, cello, 2004–06

Traces and Shadows, sheng, 2006

Stele III for James Tenney, string quartet, 2006

Transience, recorder, 13-string koto (zither from Japan), 2008


Hölderlin Chöre (text by Friedrich Hölderlin), mixed chorus, 1986

Exterritorial III, 'Finisterre' (text by Fernando Pessoa), 12 mixed voices, organ, 1993

Atish-e-ZabanFires of the Tongue (text by Faiz Ahmad Faiz), 6 mixed voices, 2006


Exterritorial II, 'Still allein' (text by Ernst Herbeck), baritone, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion, 1993

Raggerlieder (text by Bernhard Ragger), soprano, piano, 1994

Katarakt Meer Katarakt (text by Dylan Thomas), soprano, 2 percussion, string quartet, 1995

Tre Canti di Sigismondo d'India, mezzo-soprano, string quartet, 1995

Viel Glück (text by Hans-Ulrich Treichel), high voice, piano, 1999

Grünbein Lieder (text by Durs Grünbein), mezzo-soprano, string quartet, 2000

songs on nothing (text by Dilip Chitre), mezzo-soprano, violin, 2002

Lieder des Lichts (text by Raoul Schrott), mezzo-soprano, cello, 2003

To those born far away from home (text by the composer), mezzo-soprano, violin, cello, 2003


Agni or 45 Modes of Easy Listening, 2 pianos, 1993

Dornenstück, piano 4 hands, 1994

Stele I, prepared piano, 2004

Scardanelli Sonata, 2007


no body no cry, fixed media, 1998

no windneither here nor there, sound installation (4 tracks), 2000

4'33" absolute zero remix, fixed media, 2001

Die Gesänge der Ghat Biwa, fixed media, 2002

Bombay Echo Chamber, sound installation (4 tracks), 2003

two to two to two two, fixed media, 2003–04

Cliff! (text by Ulrike Draesner), fixed media, 2004

'all over again' (text by Philip Larkin), fixed media, 2004

Lost voices, fixed media, 2008


Cantus ad ventum (site-specific performance/open-air event, text by the composer), 5 early-music voices, 3 mixed choruses, 4 hot-air balloons, 1995

Mind the Gaps (performance, text by the composer), female voice, speaker, 12 objects (in vitrines), light–room installation, live electronics, 1995

Schnee Schrift Sprache Schweben (performance, text by the composer), 2 folk voices, speaker, alphorn, dulcimer, zither, film, 1995

Zukunftsmusik (performance; all players also roar, speak, whisper), soprano, English horn, trumpet, violin, double bass, 1999

making music (site-, date-specific light–audio–object installations, text performances with audience participation, text by the composer), voice, dancer, small orchestra (14 players), 2000

neither here nor there (site-, performer-specific light–audio–film installations, text performances, text by the composer), butoh dancer, kathak dancer, performer (with interactive body-suit), carillon, percussion, 2000

urban.dis.urban (multimedia concert-installation), film (by Yvette Mattern), 2001 (includes compositions, remixes by 10 composers)

>>forwardI20.02.2002Irewind<< (site-, date-specific performance/palindromic music), 2002 (a compilation of many works by various composers using palindromes)

PerSonAlia, 12 actors, moving audience, sound–light installations, 2007 (collaboration with students at Concordia University)