Press Release

February 24, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | [email protected] | 480-874-4626

Global legend and Grammy winner Zakir Hussain to perform at Scottsdale Arts

Zakir Hussain & Master of Percussion will perform March 23 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Photo: Jim Bennett

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A name adhered to reverence, eminence and cultural prominence that transcends geographical boundaries, Zakir Hussain brings to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts a lifetime of musical mastery and technique on March 23.

“Zakir’s contribution to the music field is immense,” said Abbey Messmer, programming director for the center. “He’s been an educator in prestigious universities around the world, founded an independent record label and received a variety of impressive accolades. It’s an honor to have Zakir on our stage in Scottsdale for the first time, and I’m fascinated to hear this tour’s unique ensemble of global percussionists and drummers from India, Burkina Faso and Colombia.”

Hussain is internationally celebrated and honored for his dexterity and unparalleled skill using the tabla: a percussion instrument with origins in India, simplistically defined as a pair of drums played using strokes solely from the fingers and hands. The tabla is historically recognized for its immense difficulty to maneuver, requiring strict precision and skill to handle with sophistication — a complex instrument to learn but even more so to master.

Hussain’s oneness with the tabla is rooted in his childhood, where decades of techniques and teachings, passed down by his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, paved the path for his young prestige. At just 12 years old, Hussain was considered a child prodigy, touring with India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers at the impressive age of 18.

While Allarakha is widely acknowledged as one of the key individuals who brought worldwide awareness to Indian classical music and the tabla, Hussain is renowned for introducing lesser-known folk and classical traditions within Indian music to the West. Dawning as a platform for admired yet rarely heard rhythm traditions from India, the “Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion” series has expanded to include seasoned drummers and percussionists from many world traditions, including jazz.

Hussain continues to elevate global perception of the tabla by creating genre-defying collaborations in the world of music with artists like George Harrison, Van Morrison and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.

In 2023, “Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion” will be no exception, presenting American audiences with extraordinary, exciting and spontaneous combinations of percussive and melodic performances. In addition to Hussain on the tabla, the ensemble for this tour includes Sabir Khan, sarangi; Tupac Mantilla, percussion; Melissa Hié, djembe; and Navin Sharma, dholak.

Hussain has won a plethora of awards for his deep cultural impact in contemporary world music. including the 2022 Kyoto Prize Laureate in Arts and Philosophy by the Inamori Foundation for contributing “significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind.” In 2019, Hussain was honored with Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow, “a rare lifetime distinction afforded to only 40 artists at a time by India’s reigning cultural institution.” And in 2009, Hussain won a Grammy in the Best Contemporary World Music category for the Global Drum Project, his group with Mickey Hart, Giovanni Hidalgo and Sikiru Adepoju.

The concert will be held in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, Arizona. Tickets are $35–$65. Visit or call Scottsdale Arts Guest Services at 480-499-TKTS (8587) for more information.

Scottsdale Arts is continually striving to increase our accessibility offerings to provide enriching arts opportunities for everyone in the community. For more information about services we offer, please visit

*News release written by Megan Moore, communications intern, Scottsdale Arts