David Balaban has been playing stringed instruments since he was 8 years old.  He took guitar lessons at the Toronto Guitar Institute for 10 years, learning Blues, Rock and Jazz.  His interest in world music began at the age of 15 when he was introduced to Reggae music, African rhythms, and “World Fusion” musicians such as John MacLauchlan of “Shakti” and Jeff Martin of “The Tea Party“.  Both of these musicians introduced David to Eastern tunings and melodies in a unique “east meets west” fusion.  Having set eyes and ears upon the sitar, David was immediately fascinated and acquired a student model sitar from a local store in Toronto.

Formal Training

David commenced serious study of the sitar in 2002 when he met James Hamilton in Vancouver.  James Hamilton studied privately with renowned musicians and musicologists including Radhika Mohan Maitra and Ms Kalyani Roy. In 1979, he completed a Master's Degree in Instrumental Music (sitar) from Rabindra Bharati University in Calcutta. 

After three years of studying with James, David was encouraged to take the next step in his sitar studies and learn directly from world renowned Professor Sanjoy Bandopadhyay.  Professor Bandopadhyay is the Ustad Allauddin Khan Professor, Department of Instrumental Music, at the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata; and Director, S.M. Tagore Center for Documentation & Research in Languishing & Obsolescent Musical Instruments.  He is a reputed academician, an outstanding sitar player and an exceptional teacher.  Professor Bandopadhyay is the guru of Kushal Das, one of the more famous sitar players in Calcutta.

In 2005 David spent six months in Calcutta India studying with Sanjoy Bandopadhyay. He acquired a professional sitar at Hiren Roy & Sons, Calcutta.   Following this intensive study period in India, David continued studying online with his guru for two years.  In 2007 Professor Bandopadyay described David as an advanced student.

In 2010 David commenced studying online with the highly talented multi-award winning and acclaimed Calcutta-based sitar player Sugato Nag.  Sugato plays sitar in the style of the Etawah and Senia-Shahjahanpore Gharanas.  He has learned with many masters such as Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta, Anil Roy Chowdhury & Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra.  In 2011,2012 & 2015, David had extended visits with Sugato in Kolkata, learning everyday with sitar and taking tabla lessons as well.  David hopes to visit Sugato-da once a year in Kolkata, in addition to learning with him regularly online.

In 2009 David moved to Melbourne, Australia. Since then David has been performing regularly at private parties, house concerts, festivals, and various live music venues across the city and surrounding suburbs/towns. Some of the festivals and special events David has performed at are:

  • "The Kingfisher Festival" at CERES in Brunswick,VIC.
  • Sam Evans "Melbourne Tabla School" recital at the Boite, Fitzroy, VIC.
  • "Melbourne Meditation Conference" at RMIT University, Melbourne.
  • "Warburton Harmony Festival" at the Upper Yarra Arts Centre.
  • Ashok Chavali "School of Taal" Silver Jubilee Concert at Wyndham Cultural Centre, Werribee, VIC.
  • Guest Artist at "Sur Sanjh Australia" The Grange P-12 College in Werribee, VIC.
  • Guest Artist at "Ayina Inc" Vasantotsava Concert at the Kundrattu Kumaran Temple, Rockbank, VIC.
  • "Kindred Spirit Festival" at Kindred Studios, Yarraville, VIC.
  • "Chant Fest" at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram, Rocklyn, VIC.
  • Supporting Artist for "Kaisha Ahsiak" at the 86 Bar, Fitzroy, VIC.
  • "Simply Silence" with Paul Majewski at Northcote Town Hall, Northcote, VIC.
  • "Yoga Flow" with Geoff Brooks at Ananta Yoga, Byron Bay, NSW.
  • Guest Artisit at "Ashtanga Yoga Center of Melbourne, Fitzroy, VIC.
  • Guest Artist at "Australia India Business Council" conference at Park Hyatt Hotel, Melbourne, VIC.
  • Christmas concert for "The Victorian Refugee Network" at foundation house, Brunswick, VIC.
  • Darebin Music Festival "Taste of India" at Darebin Arts & Entertainment Center.
  • "Shabd Kosh" at The Moroccan Bar, Richmond, VIC.
  • "Holi Festival of Colors" at Darebin Intercultural Center.
  • "Relics" Malcolm Berry art exhibition at the Collingwood Gallery, Collingwood, VIC.
  • "Jala" music, theater and art show at The Mission to Seafarers, Docklands, VIC.