Here we are going to talk about Indian Classical Music Maestros, with their ultimate work and the fame landed for their profession!
‘Rhythm and Harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul’ – Plato
For ages, the Indian Classical Instruments exemplifies the above quote perfectly. Just like an architect can use his/her wisdom and knowledge to create a masterpiece, a musician (Indian Classical Music Maestros) optimally utilizes the instrument and creates such music that leaves everlasting mark on their fan’s heart.
Indian Classical Musicians have built an aura, enlightened the world of music, and provided tranquillity to the hearts through their mesmerizing music. They have created an indelible mark on the music lover’s hearts who have only felt the music connecting with them with their eyes closed.
Indian Classical Music Maestros
Here is a list of some Legendary Indian Classical Music Maestros whose names can never be forgotten even as they became a synonym to the Musical Instrument that they played and immortalized.
1 Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was born on 13 January 1938. A music composer, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is a master and accomplished Santoor player from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. He is credited with making the santoor, a folk instrument, a popular classical instrument.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma began learning Tabla and vocals at home from his father at a very early age of just five. Santoor was introduced to him at the age of thirteen and there was no looking back thereafter. He gave his first public performance in Mumbai in the year 1975 when he was mere seventeen years old.
Soon he came up with his first solo album in the year 1960. In 1967, a concept album, Call of the Valley was launched by Pt. Sharma along with flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra. The album turned out to be one of Indian classical music’s greatest hits.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma also worked as a Music Composer in Bollywood along with Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. They composed Music for several Bollywood superhit movies including Silsila, Faasle, Chandni, Lamhe & Darr. The duo was nick-named as Shiv-Hari in the industry.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was awarded with Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Vibhushan in 2001 for his exemplary contribution to Indian Classical Music.
2 Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia
Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia of the famous Shiv-Hari duo of Bollywood was born on 1 July 1938 in Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. He is a famous Indian music director, globally renowned for his mesmerising bansuri-play, an Indian bamboo flute in the Hindustani Classical tradition.
Interestingly, Hari Prasad’s father wanted him to become a wrestler and not a flautist. He started learning vocal music at his friend’s place without father’s knowledge while continuing his wrestling training.
In his own words,
“I was not any good at wrestling. I went there only to please my father. But maybe because of the strength and stamina I built up then, I’m able to play the bansuri even to this day.”
– Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia
Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia switched to playing the flute under the guidance of Bholanath Prasanna for eight years and later joined All India Radio, Cuttack, Odisha in 1957 as a composer and performer. While working, he came in contact with the reclusive Annapurna Devi who mentored him the advance nuances of flute-playing.
Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia collaborated with another musician, Bhubaneshwar Mishra, and composed music in Odia Movie Industry as well along with his Bollywood projects and International assignments including working as an art director for World Music Department in the Rotterdam Music Conservatory of Netherlands.
He has also worked with many talented and well-known western musicians including John McLaughlin and Ken Lauber. He has also played on The Beatles 1968 The Inner Light.
Harprasad Chaurasia runs couple of learning schools that teaches bansuri in guru-shishya tradition. For his immense contribution the industry, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia was awarded with Padma Bhushan in 1992 and Padma Vibhushan in 2000.
3 Ustad Zakir Hussain
Renowned Tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain was born in Mahim, Mumbai on 9 March 1951. Presently he is settled in San Francisco, United States of America.
A composer, a percussionist, music producer, film actor and Indian tabla virtuoso, Ustad Zakir Hussain is the eldest son of Ustad Allah Rakha.
Hussain was a child prodigy as he learned Pakhawaj from his father from the age of three and gave his first concert performance at the age of seven. Hussain started touring at the age of eleven and went to the United States in 1970 to perform with the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Hussain joined Ali Akbar Khan as a Table player and started his international career, including over 150 concert dates a year.
Ustad Zakir Hussain has worked with several eminent Indian & International legends with a long list that includes – Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj to name the few.
Zakir Hussain and his father Ustad Allah Rakha popularized tabla playing at the global arena. Their performances raised the exposure of tabla players who previously did not received as much appreciation. With his unique flamboyant hand gesture and hair-style, he became the source of inspiration to a whole generation of young table players all over the world.
Zakir’s fame reached international diaspora following his many tour performances in the US and Europe. He worked with many musicians from all over India and the world. He formed a fusion group Shakti in association with legendary performers – L. Shankar, John McLaughlin, Ramnad Raghavan and Vikku Vinayakram that performed world over and became a renowned band. Zakir Hussain created another group about twenty later named Remember Shakti that included performers like U. Srinivas, Zakir Hussain, TV Selvaganesh, and Shankar Mahadevan.
He has been awarded with many prestigious titles that includes Padma Shri in 1988. He became he youngest percussionist to receive the Padma Vibhushan in 2002. He also won Grammy Awards in 2009 for his collaborative album Global Drum Project in the Contemporary World Music Category. In 2017, Hussain was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by San Francisco Jazz Centre for his exceptional contribution.
4 Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Bangash
Ustad Amzad Ali Khan Bangash was born on 8 October 1945 in the historical city of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. His family is a part of Bangash lineage and he is in the sixth generation. The family is acclaimed to have invented the Indian Classical Musical Instrument, Sarod and Ustad Amzad Ali Khan has taken the performing art to the international diaspora.
He began to tour for International Concert in the year 1963 and continued into 2000s along with his son. He is one of the finest International performers and is best known for his clear & fast ekhara taans.
Khan has worked as a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico and has also played with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014, he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert with his two sons.
A documentary has been made by notable Bollywood filmmaker and poet, Gulzar, that won the Filmfare Award in 1990.
Ustad Amzad Ali Khan Bangash has been the recipient of several honorary awards including Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 1991 and India’s second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
5 Ustad Bismillah Khan
Ustad Bismillah Khan was born on 21 March 1916 into a traditional Muslim family. His father was a court musician employed in Dumraon Estate, now a part of Eastern Bihar. Ustad was an Indian Musician who is credited for popularizing Shehnai not only as a folk instrument but at the concert level and that too globally.
There are many biographies and a monograph based on him and his journey in the world of Indian Classical Music which captivates his followers and readers even today after he has gone to the heavenly abode.
On his 102nd birthday, Google dedicated a customised doodle to honour the legendary maestro for his indelible contribution.
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