Saskia Rao-de Haas
Saskia Rao-de Haas is a world-renowned virtuoso cellist, composer, and educationalist from the Netherlands. She was trained as a Western cellist from a young age onwards, but changed direction when she came in touch with Indian music in 1993. She is known as a master performer of Indian classical music and is hailed as the creator of a new instrument: the Indian cello. Flute Maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia speaks of his disciple Saskia as “someone who has been taught by God.” According to him, “everybody should listen to her music”. Critics and audiences alike have praised her for artistic depth and technical virtuosity. Saskia has performed at all the most prestigious festivals for Indian classical music. She is the first female non-Indian artist to have performed at the prestigious Dover Lane Music conference in Kolkata. She has toured extensively through North America, Europe and Asia, performing at the world’s leading concert halls and festivals, be it Kennedy Center, the Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, the New Directions Cello Festival in the US, Europelia in Brussels, Musee Guimet in Paris, Singapore, or the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London. As a composer, she is eminent at bridging the Western and Indian classical-music traditions. She co-founded the Shubhendra and Saskia Rao foundation to promote the joy and benefits that Indian classical music can bring to children. She created the first complete music curriculum for Indian music for young children based on 6 storybooks that she penned. Over 30,000 children and 100 music teachers have already benefitted from the ‘Sangeet4All’ music curriculum. Saskia lives in New Delhi with her life partner and partner on stage, Pandit Shubhendra Rao and their 15-year-old gifted pianist son Ishaan.