Vikram Sampath

Biography

He is an Engineer in Electronics and a Mathematician from India’s prestigious institution for higher education, BITS – Pilani (Rajasthan) and subsequently did an M.B.A. in Finance from S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. He has worked in many leading multinational firms like GE Money and Citibank and currently works as a Team Leader in a leading software company in Bangalore. Despite a regular day job, Vikram manages to find time to seamlessly combine his corporate career with his passion for the arts, music and literature.

Vikram Sampath is the author of three acclaimed narrative non-fiction books. His first book, ‘Splendours of Royal Mysore: the untold story of the Wodeyars’(Rupa & Co, 2008) has been widely acclaimed across India. The book traces the 600 year long history of Mysore, its royal family and culture. It has been termed as one of the most definitive accounts on the Mysore royal family in recent times. His second book ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan! the life and times of a musician’ (Rupa & Co, 2010) is the biography of Gauhar Jaan, India’s first classical musician to record on the gramophone. The book has won great appreciation across India and abroad by eminent personalities including Vice President of India Mr. Hamid Ansari, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Shyam Benegal, Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and other musicians, musicologists and aficionados of music.In fact Smt Sonia Gandhi even invited him for a personal meeting to 10 Janpath after being fascinated by the book. The book has gone into several re-prints and has also been translated into Bengali and Marathi. In 2011 the book won the prestigious ARSC International Award for Excellence in Historical Research in Music, 2011 by the Association of Recorded Sound Companies (ARSC), Los Angeles as the first Indian book to make it. In February 2012, the highest literary body of the country and the National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi, awarded its first Yuva Puraskarin the English Literature category to Vikram for ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan!’

His third book ‘Voice of the Veena: S. Balachander, a biography’ traces the life of the Veena maestro and Carnatic musician Dr. S. Balachander. The book has been translated into Tamil. Vikram has also written a much-appreciated essay on legendary singer K L Saigal in Penguin’s anthology titled ‘Bollywood Top 20’ (2012).

Vikram has been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, Germany (for 2010-11) where he studied the early gramophone recordings of Indian music by visiting Sound Archives all over Europe. He is also a visiting faculty of music at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. The Society Magazine listed Vikram among 50 Top Young Achievers of the country in its annual edition in 2012 alongside the likes of Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Siddharth Mallya and Ranbir Kapoor. Vikram was the Brand Ambassador of Titan’s “Be More” Campaign in 2008.

He has established an (AIM) – the country’s first Digital Sound Archive that digitizes and preserves old gramophone recordings of India and makes them readily available to people through an online portal.Vikram has been appointed by the Government of India on two Committees the Prasar Bharti Archives Committee and the Dr. Sam Pitroda Committee on National Archives.

Vikram is also one of the Founder Directors of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) which had its first edition from 7th to 9th December 2012 at Jayamahal Palace, with several literary minds of the likes of Gulzar, Pavan Varma, Sir Mark Tully, Tavleen Singh, Shobhaa De, Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, U R Ananthamurthy, Shashi Deshpande, Mahesh Dattani and others participating.

He also publishes regularly in leading Indian dailies and magazines on a wide array of topics. In addition, Vikram is also a serious student of Carnatic Classical Vocal music and has been training under various eminent practitioners of the art form like Vidwan D.V. Nagaraj, Dr. Bombay Jayashri Ramnath and Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh. Subjects related to history, music, art and culture are close to his heart.