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Bismillah Khan
Born on 21 March 1913 AD Died at the age of 93 years. Died on 21 August 2006 AD
Ustad Bismillah Khan was a great Shehnai player from India. His name was and will forever be associated with shehnai, the musical instrument that he made famous with his talent and deliberation in the post independent India. Khan belonged to a family of traditional musicians of Bihar who used to play in the courts of the princely states, which is why playing shehnai came very natural to him. He was brilliant at what he did - the reason why he had always played at the important national events for national audience like the first Indian Independence Day and first Republic Day. Khan with his simplicity, love for music and straightforwardness did not only become a national favorite but also gained a lot of popularity and love from the west. For his creativity and mastery in his art, Khan was bestowed with the title of ‘Ustad’ and earned many accolades like the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, honorary doctorates from Banaras Hindu University and Viswa Bharati University.

Ravi Shankar
Born on 07 April 1920 AD Died at the age of 07 April 1920 years. Died on 11 December 2012 AD
Often hailed as the godfather of world music and ambassador of Indian music all across the globe, Pandit Ravi Shankar is one of the most prolific and influential music maestros of the 20th century. Bestowed with innumerable awards and honors, he served as the sole stream conjoining eastern and western musical styles all through his life. A boy from the banks of Ganges, he was heralded as a musical enchanter who enthralled his audience through the sheer brilliance of his unique style and compositions. It was divine providence that drew him to the world of music and he went on to receive extensive training from some of the finest music masters of his era which polished his prodigious endowments. He, a magnificent performer, a devoted teacher and a majestic composer, was, beyond the whiff of dubiety, the most influential messenger of Indian music all around the world. Pandit Shankar was revered for his musical acumen and is credited with fusing elements of western and Indian classical euphony, thus promulgating a new era in the world of music. The recipient of the highest civilian award in India, Bharat Ratna, his life has always been an immense source of inspiration for budding musicians throughout the world. Scroll down and acquaint yourself with all the aspects of Pt. Ravi Shankar’s illustrious life.

'Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra' was one of his most brilliant works which he composed in 1970 after being invited by the London Symphony Orchestra. In this concert conducted by André Previn, Ravi Shankar played the sitar.

He composed music for the 1982 Hollywood movie ‘Gandhi’, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Apart from the above mentioned works, ‘Concert for Bangladesh’, ‘West Meets East’, ‘Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000’ are three of his most acclaimed albums.

Hariprasad Chaurasia
Born on 01 July 1938 AD
Hariprasad Chaurasia is an eminent Indian flautist who is best known for popularizing Indian Classical Music all over the world. A living legend, he is counted among the greatest masters of the North Indian Bamboo flute. Acclaimed not just in his native country but also in the Western world, he has also worked as a music director for many films and was even featured in one of the English rock band, The Beatles’ singles. Unlike many other musicians who hail from a musically inclined family, he came from a family with no interest in music whatsoever. The son of a wrestler, he was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. But the young Hariprasad had other plans for himself. Rebelling against his father who did not want his son to become a musician, he started learning classical vocal technique. However, he switched to flute after meeting a renowned flautist—a decision that would ultimately lead him to his true calling. His early life as a musician was full of struggles but once he gained a foothold in the world of Indian classical music, there was no stopping him. He has been honored with many prestigious awards including the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to the world of arts.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
Born on 13 January 1938 AD
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an Indian classical musician and a renowned ‘Santoor’ player; santoor is an Indian folk instrument. Born to a trained vocalist and tabla player, he was destined to become a classical musician from an early age. His father recognized potential in a folk instrument ‘Santoor’ and encouraged him to learn playing it. Shivkumar Sharma became famous because of his improvisations with santoor and he revolutionized it as one of the most riveting classical instruments. He is single-handedly responsible for making the santoor a popular classical instrument. He introduced the new chromatic arrangement of notes and increased the range to cover full three octaves. He also improvised a new technique of playing with which he could sustain notes and maintain sound continuity. He is the sole musician to have brought santoor at par with other classical instruments and established it across the globe with his sheer brilliance and conviction. He is among those rare classical musicians who have been able to achieve success in the world of film music as well. His compositions for blockbusters such as ‘Silsila’ and ‘Chandni’ are a manifestation of his musical brilliance. With his creative genius, he has created a new genre of instrumental music. Through his performances over a period of more than half a century, he has created millions of new listeners and ardent fans of Indian classical music.

His most significant contribution to music has been towards the popularization of the folk classical instrument ‘santoor’. He carried out experiments with santoor for many years to make it more suitable for his classical technique. The modified santoor which is played in present days has got 31 bridges with a total of 91 strings. It has got a range of three octaves with a chromatic tuning. He is also known for creating a technique for smoother gliding between music notes in order to imitate human voice quality.

Ali Akbar Khan
Born on 4 April 1922 AD Died at the age of 87 years. Died on 18 June 2009 AD
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was one of the most renowned sarod maestros. He was born into the family of musicians and was trained under the supervision and guidance of his father who himself was a renowned percussionist of his era. He started learning to play instruments since the age of three and by the age of 13 his father thought him capable and ready enough to play in front of public. After serving as a court musician for one of the Maharaja’s of Rajasthan, Khan became a full time music composer for All India Radio, Lucknow. He later tried his hand in the Indian film industry as he started creating music for big directors like Satyajit Ray. Khan wanted to dedicate his life in spreading the essence of Indian traditional music all over the world which is why he founded Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta as well as in the United States and Switzerland. He is known for his epic jugalbandis (musical pairings) with prestigious performers like, Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee and violinist L. Subramaniam.

Khan had dedicated a good part of his life in promoting and preserving Indian traditional music and founded Ali Akbar College of Music not only in Calcutta but took it to the west as well. It was his efforts to get Indian traditional music the kind of recognition it deserves from the whole world.

Bhupen Hazarika
Born on 08 September 1926 AD Died at the age of 85 years. Died on 05 November 2011 AD
Bhupen Hazarika was a multifaceted Indian artist, famously referred to as the uncrowned king of North-Eastern India's cultural world. He is best described as an extraordinarily talented person who was a poet, music composer, singer, actor, journalist, author and a renowned film-maker of the very highest repute. He was a child prodigy who was discovered by his mentors at a young age which helped him to excel at his abilities. He has rendered music, written lyrics, and sung for numerous Assamese, Bengali and Hindi films which created an everlasting impression on both Assamese and Indian cinema, literature, and music. Most of his songs are marked by themes of humanity and universal brotherhood and have been translated to, and sung in many languages, most notably in Bengali and Hindi. Other than being a musician and playback singer, he was an immensely talented filmmaker who created some of the most memorable national award winning Assamese films. He is also acknowledged to have introduced the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Hindi cinema at the national level. Winner of several prestigious awards, he was truly one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.

Bhupen Hazarika composed some of the most famous Assamese songs including ‘Bistirno Parore’, ‘Moi Eti Jajabor’, ‘Ganga Mor Maa’, ‘Bimurto Mur Nixati Jen’, ‘Manuhe Manuhor Babey’ and ‘Buku Hom Hom Kore’.
One of his major contributions to Hindi cinema was being the music director of outstanding films such as 'Arop', 'Ek Pal', and 'Rudaali'. He also won the ‘Best Music Director National Award’ for ‘Rudaali’ in 1993.

 
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