About the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)

Inaugurated in 1969, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, is India's premier cultural institution. The first multi-­venue, multi-genre cultural centre to be built in South Asia, it has been committed since its inception to preserving and promoting the country's rich and vibrant artistic heritage in the fields of music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography, as well as presenting new and innovative work by Indian and international artists from a diverse range of genres including drama, contemporary dance, orchestral concerts, opera, jazz and chamber music. Today, the NCPA presents more than 600 events each year, making it India’s largest and most holistic performing arts centre.


The NCPA campus boasts five theatres (including the innovative Tata Theatre, designed by postmodernist American architect, Philip Johnson), two galleries, libraries, and numerous reception spaces. Boasting the best-appointed auditoriums in India in terms of equipment and expertise, the NCPA frequently attracts major events from overseas and is ideally suited to host large productions, including fully stages operas and ballets.

As India’s role on the international stage expands, the NCPA has been investing in the country’s cultural future. The Centre regularly presents performances and workshops given by leading artists from around the country. Recurring series include the Mudra Dance Festival, Bandish: festival of legendary Indian composers, Centrestage Theatre Festival, Nave Valan Marathi film festival, Summer Fiesta for children, Sama’a Sufi music festival, Arties Chamber Music festival, Vasant Gujarati theatre festival, Ananda Hindi theatre festival, Contemporary Dance Festival, Nakshatra Dance Festival and Pratibimb Marathi theatre festival. As the national performing arts centre, the NCPA must also have an eye towards the international arts. The NCPA presents several international groups and continues to collaborate with arts organizations and theatres around the globe including the Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, National Theatre, Edinburgh Festival and the Metropolitan Opera (New York). The NCPA regularly presents some of the leading orchestras from around the world, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Bavarian State Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and London Symphony Orchestra.

In 2006, the NCPA established the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI), the country’s first and only professional orchestra. Founded by NCPA Chairman Khushroo Suntook and violin virtuoso Marat Bisengaliev, who serves as the Music Director, the Orchestra performs a series of concerts at the NCPA over the course of two seasons each year. Resident at the NCPA, the SOI has also performed in other venues in India and abroad, and the musicians give regular chamber music concerts throughout the year. The Orchestra has worked with such internationally renowned conductors as Charles Dutoit, Augustin Dumay, Lior Shambadal, Mischa Damev, Rafael Payare, Karl Jenkins, Adrian Leaper, Johannes Wildner, Alexander Anissimov, and Christoph Poppen, amongst others, and soloists including Maria João Pires, Alina Ibragimova, Cédric Tiberghien, Barry Douglas, Michael Collins, Stephen Kovacevich, Tamas Vásáry, and Lena Neudauer. The SOI also serves as the pit orchestra for the NCPA’s opera and ballet productions.

The NCPA places great emphasis on education across genres and is developing a reputation as a major centre for training and education, building on an already well-established programme of workshops, seminars and special events for families and children. Educational programmes include the NCPA Junior Strings programme for beginners and the NCPA Special Music Training Programme, which offers advanced musical training to talented young musicians by members of the Symphony Orchestra of India.

The NCPA Library is the only specialist performing arts library in the city of Mumbai, and as part of its mission to preserve India’s cultural heritage, the NCPA has built up extensive archives of more than 6,000 hours of music and film recorded at the NCPA since its inception. In 2011, the NCPA partnered with Sony Music to release the first set of eleven original recordings of renowned Indian Music artists from the NCPA Archives. Masterworks from the NCPA Archives included performances by Pt. Jasraj, Bismillah Khan, Rashid Khan, Nikhil Banerjee, Kumar Gandharva, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, M. L. Vasanthakumari, M. S. Gopalakrishnan and Dr. Balamuralikrishna. The NCPA libraries also hold more than 20,000 books about the performing arts and other cultural spheres including film, painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, television and fashion. The addition of the Stuart-Liff Collection in 2010, gave the NCPA a treasure trove of sought-after books, recordings and musical scores that is truly unique in the world of Western vocal and operatic music.

Now approaching the fiftieth year of its existence, with an ever-expanding list of performances, educational projects, exhibitions, and much more, the NCPA continues to build on its reputation as India’s premiere arts centre, and one of the leading arts centres in Asia.