Berklee College of Music Announces Three Berklee A.R. Rahman Scholarship Recipients

The three scholars, all hailing from India, will be announced at a celebratory concert

with special guest appearances by A.R. Rahman, Vijay Prakash, Clinton Cerejo, and Gino Banks

 Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA, USA), along with A.R. Rahman, will announce the first recipients of the Berklee A.R. Rahman Scholarship at a star-studded celebratory concert on May 19. Each born and raised in India, the three scholarship recipients will be presented full tuition scholarships to Berklee and will begin school with the fall 2016 entering class. The combined total value of the Berklee A.R. Rahman Scholarships is $516,000 (USD).


The scholarship recipients are:


Aman Sagar – Guitar

Hometown: Mukhani, Haldwani Uttarakhand

Aman Sagar is a 22-year-old songwriter and guitarist. His music, an amalgamation of a diverse range of influences acquired over the years, complements the popular music framework. Before his acceptance to Berklee, Sagar studied English literature.


Ronojit Chahila – Piano

Hometown: Guwahati, Assam

Pianist Ronojit Chahila, a.k.a. Ron Cha, began training in Western classical piano and crossed over to jazz and improvised music. Chahila has performed in many venues across Asia and Europe, including the Caux Theater (Switzerland) and the Forties Jazz Bar (Indonesia), and has performed and recorded alongside renowned artists like Ferenc Németh, Floyd Fernandes, and others. Chahila recently released his piano trio album, featuring Sheldon D’Silva on bass, Loy Mendonsa on second bass, and Gino Banks on drums. The album was recorded live at St. Anthony’s Auditorium and live at Yash Raj Film Studios by Santanu Hudikar.

A R Rahman and Roger Brown.jpg

Sarthak Mudgal – Percussion

New Delhi, Delhi

World music composer and hand percussionist Sarthak Mudgal performs Indian tabla techniques on the guitar to create a one-of-a-kind sound. Using the moniker “Madari Mudgal,” Mudgal has reached 300,000 people on YouTube.


The celebratory concert to be held at St. Andrew’s Auditorium in Mumbai will feature a program by a Berklee student and faculty band as well as special guest appearances by A.R. Rahman, Vijay Prakash, Clinton Cerejo, and Gino Banks. The Berklee band, with members hailing from India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Sweden, and the United States, will present world music, gospel, jazz, and Indian music with pieces sung in many languages, including English and Hindi.


A.R. Rahman received an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee in October 2014. At a sold-out concert celebrating his career at Boston’s famed Symphony Hall, faculty members, alumni, and more than 60 students teamed up to perform songs from Rahman’s expansive catalogue. In addition to the performance, Rahman conducted a master class and Q&A, open to all students, at the Berklee Performance Center. In honor of Rahman’s relationship with Berklee, the college established the Berklee A.R. Rahman Scholarship to help bring students from India to the college.


About the Berklee India Exchange

Launched in 2013, the Berklee India Exchange is a campus initiative establishing a platform for cultural conversation about Indian music through artist residencies, musical collaborations, and performances. It is an axis point for Indian artists and students to share their music and experience the music of Berklee musicians hailing from more than 100 countries, and vice versa. Through the exploration of indigenous Indian instruments, and the infusion of Indian folk and classical traditions into Berklee’s classrooms, a new, vibrant and dynamic sound is emerging, as we nurture the next generation of composers, songwriters and performers.

Through the Berklee India Exchange, the college is harnessing the global power of the Indian music industry to foster a richer learning environment for all of its students.


About Berklee College of Music

Berklee was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. In December 2015, the Berklee Board of Trustees voted to merge with The Boston Conservatory, creating the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions.

With a focus on global learning, the Berklee campus in Valencia, Spain, offers graduate programs and study abroad opportunity, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in 46 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing more than 100 countries, abundant  international undergraduate and graduate student populations (33 and 53 percent respectively), and alumni and faculty who have won more than 300 Grammy and Latin Grammy awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow.

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