Roop C. Verma
Roop C. Verma
  • January 6, 1931 - March 11, 2017
  • Oneonta, New York

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ONEONTA - Renowned sitarist Roop Verma passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family, friends and students, on March 11, 2017, at the age of 86. He and his family were residents of Oneonta for nearly 30 years.

Roop Verma was an internationally respected performer, composer, recording artist, and accomplished teacher of Indian classical music. He trained with two of the greatest masters of Indian classical music: Maestros Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan.

Roop was born Jan. 6, 1931 in Ambala, India to Yashodha Devi (mother) and Devi Dayal Verma (father). He received his master's degree in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya University, in Pune (India).

For over 40 years, Roop performed in concert halls of Europe, North and South America, Africa and India, and taught and lectured at major universities on three continents. He was the featured artist and composer for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in 1995. He was an honored guest of the Government of Belgium at the Anderlecht Cultural Center and the concert at Place des Art in Brussels.

His memorable 1997 concert at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, Sweden was produced by Swedish National Radio and Television, and is one of many recordings of his music which include traditional North Indian music and contemporary creative works. He composed original music for the documentary film, Dalai Lama Renaissance which received 12 international awards and was released on DVD and CD.

His Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra was received with warm appreciation at its premiere, Merkin Hall in New York in 2006. For its European premiere, the Concerto was performed by the Linkoping Symphony Orchestra of Sweden in 2007. A career highlight during his 41st year of European tours was performing for the 500th birthday of Saint Theresa in Avila, Spain, September 2015.

A resident and visiting professor at The Eastman School of Music and The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Roop Verma was also the recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Award for 2006 as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hartwick College. As director of The East-West School of Music in Monroe, New York, for 39 years, he taught courses on principles of Indian classical music and their application to Western instruments and voice.

Roop was also a pioneer in combining guided meditation with music, presenting experiential retreats around the world leading people on a journey exploring consciousness through sound.

He made his profession personal, taking the time to cultivate deep and meaningful friendships with people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.

He profoundly influenced the lives of his students with his love and care, guiding them not only musically but personally.

As a mentor and friend to many around the world, people naturally gravitated towards his warm and welcoming presence and his loving heart.

Roop is survived by his wife of 33 years, Tracy, son Arjun Verma (also a professional sitarist), and daughter Uma Verma.

Memorial services will be held May 6, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, 12 Ford Avenue, Oneonta, and May 27, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at Ananda Ashram, 13 Sapphire Road, Monroe, NY

Nonprofit donations in Roop's honor may be made either to his music school: make check out to ISEWU and write "School of Music" in the check memo and send to ISEWU, 13 Sapphire Road, Monroe, NY 10950, or to his teacher's music school, the Ali Akbar College of Music, 215 West End Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901. Online donation links for both schools are at

Condolences to the family may be left online at,

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of Oneonta.