At the tender age of four, Birsa began studying the tabla (Indian classical hand drums) with Pandit Samir Chatterjee. He would continue his tutelage all throughout his youth by learning traditional rhythmic compositions, different time signatures (known as tala), and accompaniment. In middle school, Birsa discovered Jazz music and was in his school’s top band. From there, he began studying with his teacher and mentor Bruce Williams, one of the world’s finest saxophonists.
Birsa continued his studies in American music at the highly acclaimed Jazz education programs, Jazz House Kids and Jazz at Lincoln Center throughout high school where he received mentorship from Wynton Marsalis, George Coleman, Christian McBride, Vincent Gardner, Billy Hart and Bruce Williams.
After high school, Chatterjee would earn his bachelor’s degree from the oldest music conservatory in America, The Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he was taught by saxophone master Gary Bartz and vocalist Latanya Hall for four years. In Oberlin, Birsa would get to work with amazing musicians such as Terence Blanchard, Eddie Henderson, Maria Schneider, Fabian Almazan, and Linda Oh, to name a few.
Right after his studies at Oberlin, Chatterjee went on to get a master’s degree from The Juilliard School based in the heart of New York City. He was a soloist for the annual New Dances performance where the Jazz students collaborate with the dance division to put together a joint performance. He studied with renowned saxophonist Ron Blake and drum master Kenny Washington until he graduated in the summer of 2021.
Most recently, Chatterjee has been forging new ground as a composer blending together authentic elements of Indian Classical music, Rabindranath Tagore’s music, Indian folk music, and Jazz. Birsa has scored and composed the music for many theater productions at the South Asian Theater Festival that has hosted events in New Jersey, Ohio, Nepal, and India. The Birsa Chatterjee Quartet debuted a performance at the Silvereye International Film Festival virtually in October 2020 that had viewers from all around the globe. The group has continued on to perform at numerous other venues and will be recording some of the original works in 2022. Birsa has been commissioned by the New Jersey association, Ananda Mandir, to arrange and perform the works of Rabindranath Tagore. He has been a guest soloist with the Dominick Farinacci Big Band and performed alongside Terrance Blanchard at the Tri-C Jazz Festival.