We’re delighted to announced the composer and sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun as our Artist in Residence.
Opera North’s new 18-month programme for a lead artist from a non-Western tradition is part of its ongoing commitment to embed diversity at the heart of its artistic decision-making. The scheme will create new musical encounters and bring unique ideas and perspectives to the full range of the Company’s work, to ensure that its stages reflect the many and diverse communities it reaches.
Born and raised in Leeds, Jasdeep began his productive relationship with Opera North as music director for the first of our Resonance workshops in 2017. Part of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partnership network supported by PPL, the ongoing annual residency programme in support of global majority artists launched with Partition, a collaboration with South Asian Arts-uk in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the division of India and Pakistan.
Jasdeep went on to compose the sitar concerto, Arya, for the Orchestra of Opera North, performing as soloist in its premiere at Huddersfield Town Hall and touring to Durham and Manchester just before lockdown in 2020.
He is currently working closely with baroque specialist Laurence Cummings as joint musical director, composer, arranger and performer on Orpheus, Opera North and South Asian Arts-uk’s ambitious new reimagining of Monteverdi’s baroque masterpiece that brings together South Asian and western classical traditions. Earlier this month, Real World Records released Jasdeep’s long-awaited debut album Anomaly, produced under the mentorship of Nitin Sawhney and featuring collaborations with artists from both western and Indian classical backgrounds, to critical acclaim.
The residency will give Jasdeep presence and influence across our diverse platforms and stages – including digital work and engagement with new and existing artists and audiences, children and young people, students and the wider community.
His year-and-a-half tenure will allow him to develop meaningful conversations and fully realised programmes with Opera North, at the same time as pursing his own freelance projects and touring. He will attend meetings of the Planning and Senior Management Teams, and collaborate with our main producing areas including Orchestra and Chorus, the Howard Assembly Room, and Education.
The initiative celebrates and reinforces his long collaborative relationship with the Company, and will open up new creative ground for both Jasdeep and Opera North.
Richard Mantle, Opera North’s General Director, comments:
“I am delighted that we have restored the role of Artist in Residence, which will bring a fresh and fruitful dimension to our work. We very much welcome Jasdeep to the Opera North team at such an exciting time for us, as we continue to embed diversity at the heart of the company”.
Jasdeep Singh Degun, Artist in Residence at Opera North, comments:
“I’m very grateful to Opera North for appointing me as Artist in Residence. Enabled by our mutual trust and willingness to venture outside of our respective musical worlds, it has been an honour to work with the Company over the last five years. As part of the closely-knit creative team for Orpheus, I’m excited to be further exploring the territory between my own tradition and western classical music, and I’m very much looking forward to being even more closely involved in Opera North’s work over the next 18 months!”
Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North, comments:
“We’ve enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Jasdeep over the last five years; getting ever closer in exploring the ways that western and Indian classical music can share and learn from one another. To take this to the next level we wanted to move from a ‘project’ format to one of continued and sustained interaction. Over the coming 18 months we’ll work together to find the myriad ways this unique artistic relationship can grow and flourish, and we’re excited to see what new and as yet undreamt-of musical encounters will come out it.”
Jasdeep’s residency at Opera North will run until October 2023. Opera North and SAA-uk’s Orpheus, with musical direction, arranging and performance from Jasdeep, opens at Leeds Grand Theatre on 14 October and tours to Theatre Royal Newcastle, Theatre Royal Nottingham and the Lowry, Salford Keys.