39-year-old Sujeet Desai is an accomplished musician who happens to have Down syndrome. He has mastered seven instruments, including Bb and bass clarinet, alto saxophone, violin, trumpet, piano and drums. In 1998, when Sujeet started to share his musical talents with his friends, family and community, the overwhelming positive response from his audience led to his decision to make music his career. He has worked very hard over last 20 years trying to become the finest musician he can be, and with his musical versatility, Sujeet has become a role model and inspiration to individuals who are differently-abled, their families, and the whole Down syndrome community.
Sujeet graduated from high school with honors in 2001, and in 2003, he graduated from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in Massachusetts after a two-year residential post-secondary study in Music and Human Services. After graduation, he worked as a teacher’s aide in an elementary school music department. He also taught music and basic computer skills to adults in day habilitation programs in Buffalo, New York. Currently, he plays his music in community churches, nursing homes, senior centers, and hospitals to bring joy to those who are away from their homes and families. He is also a member of a couple community bands.
Sujeet has received numerous awards for his musical accomplishments. In 2015, he became the first person with Down syndrome to perform at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, where he received a standing ovation. He has received a President’s Award in Singapore, Dubai and Trinidad and has performed for audiences in 40 states and 15 countries, including at a film shoot in London with many other exceptional international musicians. In 2011, Sujeet received Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s most prestigious honor, the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award, for his incredible talents and for being an inspirational role model.
Besides music, Sujeet has a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and is currently training towards 4th Dan. He enjoys independent living with some support in his own home in New York. Sujeet travels the world offering inspirational solo music performances and self-advocacy workshops.