Basant Madhur Ensemble


the Musical Journey of North Indian Classical Music: From Ancient Vedic Chants to Contemporary Raga Sangeet with Basant Madur Ensemble


North Indian Classical Music originated with the chanting of Vedic scriptures centuries ago. Since then it has developed into a highly sophisticated musical form known as ’raga sangeet’. During the Moghul Empire period in the 13th and 14th century, the sitar and tabla were developed and after some more modifications has become music popularized in the West by Ravi Shankar, and more recently his daughter Anoushka Shankar. Nowadays it is primarily presented as a concert performance art form encompassing a variety of styles from very traditional to more contemporary, while still retaining its close connection to the vocal style it originated from. 

Basant Madhur Ensemble consists of Lester Silver (sitar), Basant Madhur  Akhil Madhur (tabla), Sargam Madhur(Sitar), and Purnima Garg(Kathak) These musicians have all been trained in the traditional form of this music and have been playing and performing both individually and together for many years. Together they present a unique musical experience for audiences in New Zealand opening a window to this intriguing atmospheric music. Individually and collectively the artists have received many positive reviews and comments from audiences both here and overseas for their high-quality, informative, and entertaining music. 

Our Team

Basant Madhur

Basant Madhur is a rare gem who was born with music. Born into a family of musicians, he took early training from his elder brother Deepak Madhur and received expert guidance from Punjab Gharana tabla maestro, Late Pt. Pawan Kumar Verma. Apart from being a star tabla player, his innate talent for music makes him a great composer. Basant is a widely acknowledged tabla player and a much-respected artiste in the arena of Indian Classical Music. On account of his versatility and pleasing disposition, he is the most sought & creative artist in the realm of Indian classical music in New Zealand and Australasia as a whole.

During his college period, he received numerous awards at state, zonal & national level youth festivals. At the same time, All India Radio & Television approved him as a performing artist at AIR & television in Shimla. Madhur moved to New Zealand in 2002 and established the

“Sargam School of Indian Music.” By 2006, he had trained more than 300 students- some of which at a very high level. In 2008 he received the Award of Appreciation for his contribution to the field of music by GOPIO (Global organization of People of Indian Origin New Zealand). Basant has had the honor of accompanying some of the stalwarts of Indian Classical Music such as Grammy winner Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in New Zealand and USA, Pt. Ronu Majumdar in New Zealand & Australia, Pt. Rakesh Chaurasia, saxophone genius Dr. Kadri Gopalnath and mridangam player Patri Satish Kumar to name a few. He has also collaborated with several western musicians such as John Ellis, Luke Hurley, Murray McNabb, Frank Gibson Jr., Jon sanders, Krissy Jackson, Nigel Gavin and Prosad Freeman in fusion music. Other then being a regular feature in many music festivals in New Zealand, Basant is known to perform in India, Australia, Fiji and USA on other occasions

Basant knows the art of connecting with the audiences. He is a master showman and unique creator that has a style of it’s own. Nothing can capture the essence melody and uniqueness of his style. His cute smile is another thing which the audience can’t help but notice.

Lester Silver

The sitar is the most known and listened to Indian Classical instrument in the West. It’s beautiful tone and shimmering notes have enchanted listeners ever since Ravi Shankar brought it out of India more than half a century ago. Once introduced to this music over thirty years ago, Lester has never lost his passion to study and learn about this soul touching music. There have been many teachers and influences in this quest, with most of his formal training being under the guidance of sitarist Prof. Prasanta K. Bhanja of Santiniketan. After much personal practice and effort,

Lester is now considered to be one of New Zealand’s leading exponents. His dedication to the purity and traditional structure of this music, known as ‘raga sangeet’, is noteworthy. Lester is a well respected and acclaimed musician in this field of Indian art music and is a regular performer in Auckland’s classical music concerts as well as regional arts festivals around New Zealand

Purnima Garg

Purnima is a young and upcoming Kathak dancer with a vibrant and energetic stage presence that leaves a striking impression on audiences. She has trained in Kathak since an early age under the tutelage of renowned Kathak exponents Smt. Malti Shyam, Smt. Nandini Singh, Smt. Sanjukta Sinha and Pandit Divyang Vakil.

Purnima attained a senior diploma from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and passed four Kathak examinations with distinction for four consecutive years. She also passed six Kathak examinations in first division. Purnima has been performing as a lead dancer and has travelled and performed extensively at various festivals/concerts. Some of her performances include:

Various performances in New Delhi under Guru Nandini Singh at Kamani Auditorium, FICCI K.K. Birla Auditorium.

Performed at Commonwealth Games in New Delhi at Kathak Kendra.

Various performances in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Akhil Madhur

Akhilesh Madhur is a widely acknowledged Tabla player and a much-respected artist in the arena of contemporary Hindustani Classical Music. He has learned Tabla from Avirbhav Verma, son of Late Pt. Pawan Kumar Verma. He has also learned from his dad Deepak Madhur and uncle Basant Madhur who are disciples of Pandit-ji. Alongside he has had the honour to take lessons from Ustad Fazal Qureshi. Currently, he is taking online lessons from Pt. Satyajit Talwalkar. He represents the Punjab Gharana of Tabla. On account of his versatility and pleasing disposition, he is one of the most sought-after creative artists in the realm of Indian classical music in New Zealand.

He has had the honour to accompany some of the stalwarts of Indian Classical Music such as:

  • Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
  • Pt. Harvinder Sharma
  • Dhruv Bedi
  • Avirbhav Verma
  • Pt. Rakesh Chaurasia
  • Anupama Bhagwat
  • Nandini Shankar
  • Pranshu Chatur Lal
  • Pt. Salil Bhatt
  • Prof. S.D. Madhur
  • Sangeet Mishra

As a regular performer with local and international musicians, Akhilesh has performed in the Auckland Festival of Music, Titirangi Festival of Music, NZ Spirit Festival, Kumeu Folk Festival, Auckland Council Diwali Festival, Prana Festival of Music, and several other festivals. He is also associated with several western musicians such as Jon Sanders, Krissy Jackson, Swap Gomez, Hanna Griffiths, and Chinamay Dunster. He has also performed at numerous schools around Jaipur and Madhya Pradesh for SPIC MACAY.

Sargam Madhur

Sargam Madhur is an upcoming Sitar player from Auckland, who started learning Sitar, a traditional Indian music instrument under the guidance of her grandfather Prof. Shukdev Madhur.Sargam has performed in many prestigious festivals in New Zealand such as the Auckland Arts Festival, Tauranga Arts Festival, International Yoga Festival of NZ 2019, and Spirits Festival to name a few. Her performances at the ‘Tribute concert for Pt. Ravi Shankar – 2020″ and performance with Tristan Carter at “An evening of world music” in Auckland were highly appreciated