TED Fellows » TED Fellows Network » Andrew Mendelson

Andrew Mendelson

Sitar player + filmmaker

Fellows Class:
Andrew Mendelson

Professional Role

Current Titles:

Sitar player, filmmaker

Current Organizations:

TED, Brooklyn Raga Massive, Ragamala Productions


A Cricket in the Court of Akbar - Trailer

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Raag Yaman, Andrew Mendelson, Sitar - Sameer Gupta, Tabla

This is a recording from a recent concert at Haverford College, just outside Philadelphia from October, 2010. The performance was part of a benefit for the flood victims in Pakistan. This is the conclusion of the drut gat (fast composition), with a jhalla and ending with a short Sawal Jawab (question and answer). Enjoy! Andrew Mendelson - Sitar Sameer Gupta - Tabla

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A Cricket in the Court of Akbar
12/26/2005 – 2/10/2009
A documentary film: An American student of Indian classical music travels to India to compete in the largest music competition in the state of Rajasthan. Sitar in hand, he attempts to navigate the complex rules of this ancient tradition only to find that his western culture clash might be insurmountable. Will he find acceptance before facing India’s newest generation of master musicians?
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Andrew Mendelson is a musician and filmmaker hailing from New York City. He is a devout student of Indian classical music and over the past 20 years has performed at venues throughout the United States and India. In 2005, Andrew won the Gold Medal at the Darshak Music competition in Jaipur, India--the largest music competition of it's kind in the state of Rajasthan. At that time, he was the first Westerner to ever compete for this prestigious prize. He has since produced and directed a feature length documentary, 'A Cricket in the Court of Akbar,' which chronicles this competition and tackles critical issues facing traditional Indian music in a modern, global economy.

As a recording artist, Andrew can be heard in various productions of TV and film, including the score for the recent Mike Myers film, 'The Love Guru,' for which he composed the opening credit theme. He is a disciple of renowned sitarist Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt.

Andrew has been working in television production and post-production in New York City for over 14 years. As an editor he has crafted shows for national broadcast on PBS, The Discover Channel, Comedy Central, MTV, Bravo, E! Entertainment Television, and many others. In 2012, Andrew won his third Emmy Award for his editing work on 'The Electric Company' for PBS. The critically acclaimed show has won 11 additional Emmys during its years in production, including three for Best Children's Show.

In the realm of film, in addition to his work on 'A Cricket in the Court of Akbar,' Andrew also produced and edited an independent documentary feature entitled 'Nerdcore Rising,' a film about the rise of Nerdcore Hip Hop, a genre of music featuring nerds rapping about nerdy things. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2008. He also edited 'My Pantanal,' a short film about wild Jaguar conservation in Brazil. His latest film is 'The Muslims are Coming!,' a feature documentary following a group of Middle-eastern American Comedians on a cross-country tour to combat Islamophobia, which he edited and co-produced. It was released in September, 2013.

Fun facts

Favorite meal:
My family's annual Thanksgiving feast: Turkey with stuffing, spinach casserole, sweet potato casserole (I know, so many casseroles), followed by =four kinds of pies, Mom's famous Apple, pumpkin, chocolate chip pecan, and the latest edition, chess pie (or as we call it, crack in a pie crust)

Vital Stats

Fellows Class
Living in
Brooklyn, United States
Working in
New York, United States
Born in



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