Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Ananda Gopal Bandopadhayay
Shankar Prasad Chowdhury
Girija Devi is one of the outstanding living legend in Indian classical vocal music . Girija Devi is not only one of the leading vocalists in the dominant classical genre known as Khyal, but also in the lighter forms of the North Indian classical Music including thumri, tappa, tap-khyal, holi, chaiti, kajri and dadra. In fact, Girija Devi is one of the last surviving thumri experts of this century.
Born in Benaras in 1929, Girija Devi started music lessons at the age of 5 with the well known singer-sarangi player Pandit Sarju Prasad Misra, and later continued her music training with Pandit Chandra Misra.
She is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan, an honor bestowed by the President of India on the nation's most accomplished citizens. Along with many honors and awards, she has also received prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy award. She has a large number of recordings and regularly broadcasts on television and radio. These compositions were recorded in a studio in New York during her recent visit.
Born in the illustrious family of Kathak dancers of Lucknow Gharana, Birju Maharaj was initially trained by his father Guru Achhan Maharaj and later by his Uncle Guru Shambhu Maharaj. His dancing admirably blends the best of the three greats. He is also deeply grateful to his mother whose loving care, encouragement, and guidance are responsible for the blossoming of his talents. Birju Maharaj is also a highly gifted Guru having already groomed a whole galaxy of young Kathak dancers, As a creative choreographer he has given the Kathak dance a new dimension through his fascinating group compositions.
He is a versatile artist and is at once a vocalist, a percussionist, a music composer, a poet and a painter.He has received many prestigious awards including the Padma Vibhushan, Kalidas Samman, Soviet Land Nehru Award, SNA Award, Hon. Doctorate degrees.
Pandit Vishnu Govind Jog, whose name is almost synonymous with the violin in Hindustani classical music ,has the unique distinction of having occupied the top rungs of classical music hierarchy with three consecutive generation of performers. His career as a highly active and successful performer has spanned almost 5 decades. Born in Bombay in 1922, he received his early training from S.C.Athavale and the late Ganpat Rao Purohit. Subsequently he had his training from Viswesar Shastry, the renowned musician and musicologist Dr. S.N.Ratanjanker, and for a short time from the celebrated Ustad Allauddin Khan.
Groomed in the Gwalior, Agra and Bakhale styles, Pandit Jog's virtuosity, mastery of ragas and uncanny realization of space and time in the construction and knowledge of rhythm are his hallmarks. At a very young age, he rubbed shoulders with all time greats at the Bhatkhande College of Music, Lucknow, in the thirties- where traditional music instruction was institutionalizing . An unassuming person of infinite charm, he is also regarded as an incomparable accompanist. His duets with Ustad Bismilla Khan have met with spectacular commercial successes in India and abroad. He is gifted with a remarkable ability to sense the pulse and mood of his audience. He has toured extensively around the World.
Pandit Jog was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1982- a coveted title conferred by the president of India on individuals for phenomenal achievements in different fields. Besides receiving innumerable awards and honors in the past, he recently received an honorary doctorate degree from the Rabindra Bharati University as well as the prestigious Ustad Hafis Ali Khan award. Presently he serves on the committee of the experts at the Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta.
Born in a famous family of traditional violinists, Sangeeta commenced playing the violin at the tender age of four. Initiated and trained by her illustrious mother Dr. N. Rajam, she quickly mastered the intricacies of playing the violin and started performing concerts when she was only thirteen. Her career in music has been outstanding, the fruit of several years of long, arduous and dedicated training.
Sangeeta has performed throughout the world and is very well know in India. Her academic distinctions are in keeping with her illustrious professional career. Besides being distinguished with twin gold medals for bachelors' and masters' degrees, Sangeeta's doctoral thesis from the Banaras Hindu University is the culmination of detailed and dedicated research on the contribution of violin and violinists to Indian music.
VISHWA MOHAN BHATT
A brilliant guitar virtuoso from Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt belongs to a family of Musicians. Trained initially under his brother Shashi Mohan Bhatt, he had the privilege to receive training from Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. An international traveled young artist, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has been lauded for his successful Indianisation of the western instrument guitar with his complete assimilation of sitar, sarod and veena techniques by adding special idioms with 14 more strings in his own manner. The result is Mohan Veena, a new instrument in the scene of Indian classical music.
Noteworthy features of his style are his sweet glides in veena style and the ability to play at an incredible speed without losing the accuracy of note. This unique style is a fine combination of " Gayaki Ang" ( vocal style ) and "Tantrakari Ang" ( Instrumental style ). Having performed all over the world to the thunderous acclaim of the people and the press alike, this modest musician has received numerous awards from various premier institutions in India and abroad.
In March 1994, he won the coveted Grammy Award along with Ry Cooder under the world music category. A fine performer and a dedicated teacher, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is a living example of a master musician. He has also been nominated for Grammy Award for the second time in 1996 for his album "Tabula Rasa" in world music category.
Born in 1939 in the Bankura district of West Bengal,Manilal Nag is recognized in serious music circles as one of the world's most talented and serious exponent of classical sitar. He comes from a family of musicians who have evolved the Bishnupur Gharana, a style of music that originated nearly 300 years ago. His grandfather, Gokul Nag, and his great grandfather, Baurinda Nag, were both distinguished artists in their times. At the age of four, Monilal was initiated in the art of Sitar playing by his father, the famous master Sri Gokul Nag. After 10 years of strict musical studies and practice sessions, Manilal made his stage debut in the " All-India Music Conference", accompanied by tabalist Pandit Shamta Prasad. Since then he has become one of India's most popular and sought-after concert sitarists, performing regularly in music conferences held throughout his home country.
Manilal's style retains the depth, resonance and sensitivity of the Sur-Bahar in the Alap as well as laying stress on the subtle and lilting phrasing of the Jhala. Through this combination, he brings to perfection the delicacy and sentimental mood of every Raga. He is a master of improvisation and possesses the rare ability to breathe life and originality into a classical theme, thereby molding it into a living and captivating form. He has performed several times on the "National Program of Music" broadcast by All-India Radio, and has appeared on a special "External Services" television special. In 1973, he performed in UK and Europe and since performed in the USA, Canada, Bangladesh and Nepal.
A glaring example of total dedication, depth and maturity, Pandit Ramesh Mishra is a phenomenon in the field of Indian classical Music. Mastering over one of the most difficult unique string instruments Sarangi, Ramesh Mishra is today acclaimed as an outstanding artist of India. Son of great sarangi maestro Pt. Ramnath Mishra, Ramesh started his initial intensive training at very tender age from his father and acquired further knowledge and training from finest musicians of Benaras Gharana Pandit Hanuman Prasad Mishra and late Pandit Gopal Mishra. Presently Ramesh is under the tutelage of the legendary maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Rameshs high aesthetic sense, and artistic sensibilities along with his inner soft nature gave recognition both in home and aboard as an eminent soloist as well as an adept accompanist. His perfect restrained tuneful music enthralled the global audience. Besides a recipient of Indias most prestigious Sangeet Natak Award, Pt. Ramesh Mishra has also been honored with Geetanjali, Uttam, Dishari Awards from different musical organizations.
In 1959 Ramesh was sent as a cultural delegate to Pakistan by late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. Both as soloist and accompanist, Pandit Ramesh Mishra traveled all over the world accompanying internationally reputed artists. In addition he has produced numerous recordings including his own solo records and earned a niche in the hearts of millions of music lovers.Pandit Ramesh Mishra is among very few high ranking and gifted artists of India whose music takes the audience to a divine world, a world of pure music.
Ronu Majumdar was initiated in the art of flute playing by his father Dr. Bhanu Majumdar and later by Laxman prasad Jaipurwale in vocal style. He came under the guidance of eminent flutist Pandit Vijayaraghava Rao who trained him in the intricacies of the flute. He also had the privilege of taking lessons from sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. Ronu Majumdar stood first in the All India Radio competition in 1981. Apart from his concerts all over India in different music festivals, he also participated in the Festival of India in Moscow and Asiad '82 in New Delhi. He has toured extensively in Europe, the USA , Canada, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, and the Middle East.
The outstanding qualities of Ronu's performances are his maturity, incredibly sweet and melodious presentation of his instrument, and his imaginative development in the true form of Manihar Gharana. Ronu Majumdar has had several recordings to his credit.
Swapan Chaudhuri is a phenomenon in the arena of Indian classical music . It was his beloved parents, through their own passion for music, who initiated his formal musical training and inspired him in the field of tabla, paving the path that would eventually lead him to virtuosity. Swapan Chaudhuri started tabla learning at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive training he received from his Guru, Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Calcutta, the eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. He holds a master's degree in music and has been conferred honors for his distinguished contributions in the field tabla by the government of India and different musical institutions. He also holds a degree in economics from Jadhavpur University, Calcutta.
Swapan's music is the spontaneous expression of powerful emotions and his deep knowledge of the tabla. His ingenuity has ushered in a purely new style of tabla playing. It is undoubtedly through his clarity and elegance of performance both as an accompanist and as a soloist that he has achieved such fame throughout the world as a true master of tabla. As a soloist and accompanist Swapan has traveled throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia accompanying maestros such as Pandit Ravi Shankar , Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the late Nikhil Banerjee, Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Dr. Balamurli Krishna, and other eminent artists. In addition, he has produced numeric recordings, including his own tabla solo and video tapes, and has appeared extensively on television and radio. Swapan's music reaches beyond the scope of classical music to include performances and recordings with musicians such as L. Shankar, John Handy, and the African drum master, Malenga. He has participated in many international music festivals such as Bath, Perth, Sydney, Tokyo, San Francisco, Kuala Lampur, Stuttgart, and Berlin. He has composed for several percussion ensembles which have received much appreciation from both western as well as Indian audience.
Swapan Chaudhuri is the director of percussion at the Ali Akbar School of Music in San Rafael, California and in Basle, Switzerland . He is also a member of the teaching staff at the California Institute of the Arts , Valencia, California.
ANANDA GOPAL BANDOPADHYAY
Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay belongs to a family of musicians of the famous Vishnupur Gharana of West Bengal. He had his initial training from his father, and later on became disciple of Pandit Mahadeo Prasad Mishra of the Benaras Gharana from whom he received extensive training for a number of years.
Ananda Gopal started performing on the Tabla at the young age of 18 and has also worked for a few years in the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at the Delhi University. An innate sense of rhythm, and understanding has endeared him to musicians and music lovers.
He has participated in various music festivals all over the World. He has also served as a visiting Faculty member at the Amir Khusro Society at Chicago,USA and is presently attached to the Sangeet Research Academy at Calcutta.
SUBHEN CHATTERJEE is the disciple of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and has the distinction of being one of the upcoming young tabla players in India. He has performed all over India, Europe and North America, accompanying Pandit V.G.Jog, Parween Sultana, Monilal Nag. His creation , Karma, an Indian classical orchestra, is a very popular ensemble in India.
SHANKAR PRASAD CHOWDHURY
Shankar Prasad Chowdhury, a senior disciple of tabla maestro Swapan Chaudhuri, is one of the most promising young tabla artists of India. Born in 1959, Shankar was initiated into tabla by the late Tarapada Chatterjee of Farukabad Gharana. Thereafter he has been receiving training under the guidance of Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri of Lucknow Gharana and learning intricacies of tabla playing. Besides a bachelor's degree in science from the University of Calcutta, he has also a master's degree in music from the prestigious music academy Prayag Sangit Samiti, Allahabad, India.
Shankar Chawdhury is currently a lecturer in tabla in the department of instrumental music, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta. He is also a regular broadcaster over all India Radio and Indian television.
Debabrata Biswas, a legendary name in the world of Rabindra Sangeet, remains till today, as one of the most dynamic and outstanding persons both as a performer and as a human-being.
With a remarkable career in music spanning over sixty years, Debabrata Biswas ( or George Biswas as he was endearingly called by his countless admirers and near ones) was born the second child, of a rigid Brahmo family at Mymensingh, now in Bangla Desh. His father Debendra Kishore Biswas, a strict disciplinarian was both his tutor and mentor. Every evening the family gathered together in prayer and sang. The songs sung were mostly Brahmosangeet. But his mother taught him to sing a variety of other songs too. His early childhood spent amongst the rural landscape of Mymensingh, imbibed in him a lasting attachment to the simple folk tunes sung by 'Majhis', shepherd boys and the wandering street singers. But most of all, it was his mother who initiated in him an ardent interest and love for music. Being an accomplished singer, she used to perform at Bhramo Samaj Mandir.
He is no more among us today, but his name shines on like the brightest star in the galaxy of Rabindrasangeet artists. His records and songs have proven to be all time popular.
Inheriting her musical talent from her father, Sanjukta began her vocal training at the age of nine. Raised in Jaipur, she started her public performance at the age of twelve and won several awards.After obtaining her Hindustani classical vocal music degrees from the University of Rajasthan and the University of Delhi , Sanjukta continued her intense musical training from Jogmaya Banerjee, an illustrious disciple of Tarapada Chakraborty of Kirana Gharana . Currently Sanjukta is receiving her guidance from her guru Padma Bhushan Smt Girija Devi of Benaras Gharana, who is not only one of the leading vocalist in the dominant classical genre known as Khayal, but also in the lighter forms of north Indian classical music including Thumri, Dadra, Tappa, Hori,Chaiti and Kajri.
Sanjukta has a rich voice and eloquent style of music rendering and carries with her a diverse treasure of Hindustani classical and light classical music forms. Composer, performer and teacher, Sanjukta has performed in India as well as in the USA and has also appeared in several TV and radio programs. She is a dedicated music teacher and has been teaching for more than eight years at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, USA as well as at Queens, New York. A devoted musician of high caliber, her powerful voice touches the heart of every listener.
Snehasish Mozumder is among those few established musicians in India who has mastered the art of playing the Mandolin, and has blended it perfectly into the style of Hindustani Indian Classical Music. He started his initial training at the age of four with Tabla and then Mandolin under the guidance of his grand father late Sri Bibhuty Ranjan Mozumder, his father Sri Himangshu Mazumder and his uncle late Sri Ranjan Mozumder. He further perused music learning with his cousin Sri Tejendra Narayan Majumdar who is a well-known sarode player. He continued his study under late Acharya Ajoy Sinha Roywho was a disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan Sahebof Maihar Gharanaand he takes lesson of laykari under the guidance of Pandit Anil Palit, thesenior most disciple of Pandit Kishan Maharaj. Finally he came under the tutelage of Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty.
Snehasish has performed many major festivals in India and also he has toured Europe , U.K., and USA. He is the recipient of Surmani and Jadubhatta Awards. In 2001, Snehasish was invited by Pandit Ravi Shankar to perform for the George Harrison Memorial Concert held in Royal Albert Hall, London.
Nitin Mitta, began his formal training at the young age of 9 with the late. Pt. G. Satyanarayana. For the past 10 years, Nitin has continued studying with Pt. Arvind Mulgaonkar. Both of Nitin's Gurus were disciples of the legendary tabla maestro, late Ustad Amir Hussain Khan of the Farrukhabad Gharana.
Nitin has performed and toured with many of the eminent Indian musicians in some of the major festivals and venues in India and in countries like U.S.A, Canada, Germany, France, England, Baltic countries, Lithuania, Belraus, Vilnius, Finland, Ireland, Srilanka. In India his concerts include festivals and venues like Pt. Motiram and Pt. Maniram Sangeeth Samaroh, Hyderabad, Music Academy, Chennai, India Habitat centre, New Delhi, Nehru centre, Mumbai. Countries abroad include, Purcell Room, South bank, London, Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC, Rubin Museum of art and Asia Society in New York. Nitin's other merits include the National scholarship in Music awarded by the department of culture, New Delhi, First prize winner in the All India competition and most recently a grant received by the Rhode Island State council in the folk arts category.
"Soul strings" a live concert recorded by Music today features Nitin's tabla accompaniment.
For music lessons and performance please call 718-899-4832 ; email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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