Upadhyaya

My mother was the first female defence lawyer of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, but had also studied piano performance. That is how I started learning to play the piano, but was a rather undisciplined pupil! Owing to circumstances, at the age of 14, I was almost compelled to take over the conducting of my school choir. This was one of the most difficult periods in my life as I had to conduct 18 year old singers in the choir too. However, this experience was very instructive.

In 1987, I moved to Austria, where I studied in Graz at the University of Music and Performing Arts. To finance my studies, I began conducting a church choir and a brass band in Eastern Styria and so had my first experiences of rural Austria. I encountered real openness and acceptance and learned to speak the Styrian dialect!

From 1997 to 2001, I worked as conductor at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome and was also involved in projects with the "Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia". From 2001 to 2005, I conducted the "European Voices Istanbul" at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Istanbul. In the spring of 2005, I headed a project of the European Union called "European Horizons" in Turkey. This project involved master classes for conducting at 8 Turkish conservatories and concerts in five countries. In 2010, I founded the "India National Youth Orchestra" which, among other projects, performed at the opening of the German year in India during the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Since 1988 I have been working as a conductor in Austria and abroad. My work has included conducting the "Graz University Choir and Orchestra," "Thirteen Strings" in Canada, "The Boston Sinfonetta" in the United States and the "Borusan Orchestra" in Turkey. From 1993 to 1995, I was a lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. In 1995, I conducted at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS). From 1994 to 1999 I was music director of St. Charles Church in Vienna. 

From 2007 to 2010 I was head of the Austro-Iranian Symphony Orchestra/Choir in Tehran. Since 2008 I have been working as an expert for the evaluation of cultural projects for the European Union. This has been instructive, as I consider and analyse major European art projects from the “other” side.

From 2009 I have been a regular guest conductor of the Chinese National Orchestra and Chorus.  I was the conductor of the Providencia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concepción Symphony Orchestra in Chile from 2010 to 2013. I have been active as a visiting professor at the conservatories in Paris, Edmonton (Canada), Tbilisi (Georgia), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Chengdu and Beijing (China), Istanbul, Trabzon and Malatya (Turkey) and in Damascus and have developed projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Singapore and East Timor.

Currently, I conduct the orchestra and choir of the Vienna University, the Vienna Schubert Orchestra and the Vienna Festival Chorus. I have also been fortunate to conduct projects with world-renowned artists such as Peter Sellars, Christoph Schlingensief, Subhash Ghai and Peng Liyuan and to work at institutions such as the Vienna State Opera the Vienna Burgtheater, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the Schauspielhaus in Hamburg

Conductor