Winner of the Lifetime Achievement of the Tibetan Music Awards 2011, Kundeling Thupten, was recruited to start an opera (Lhamo) group in Lhasa when he was 17, and performed in many opera shows there. He was among the top opera singers in Lhasa, and people have told of getting goose bumps when he sings. His groups have performed the operas Pema Woebar, Sukyi Nyima, and Dowa Sangmo.
Ache Lhamo is what Tibetans call the Tibetan opera. It is believed that Lhamo was created in the 14th century by the great saint Thangtong Gyalpo. There are about ten stories in the Lhamo repertoire which are based on Buddhist tales from India and religious events in Tibetan history.
Along with friends, Thupten formed a Lhamo group after coming into exile in India in 1959. They were based in Misamari in Assam, and then the following year they performed Suki Nyima for the Dalai Lama in Dalhousie.
Thupten was also one of the people who started the Lhamo Association in Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement in South India.
He has taught in Tibetan Homes School in Mussoorie for six years, and Tibetan Children's Village in Dharamshala for two years.
At age 78, he continues to be an active member of Bylakuppe Lhamo Association, and performs regularly.