Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bengal Classical Music Fest '13

The wizard of woodwind

BENGAL  CLASSICAL
In the build-up to the Bengal Classical Music Festival 2013 in association with ITC-SRA (Kolkata), Star Arts & Entertainment introduces you to the maestros set to perform in Dhaka this month. Today’s featured artiste is one who needs no introduction; he is the greatest living artiste of his instrument, and has played a massive role in popularising classical music all over the globe. He took the audience to a musical trance with his performance at last year’s Bengal-ITC SRA Classical Music festival, and is returning this year to repeat — if not transcend — that magic.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is an artiste par excellence who is known for his outstanding contribution to popularising Indian Classical Music all over the world.  His consummate artistry has distinguished him as the greatest living master of the Bamboo Flute.
Unlike many other great Indian artistes, Pandit Chaurasia does not come from a family of musicians. Rather, music is a path he found for himself and struggled very hard to overcome all the hurdles that came his way to emerge out successful with his sheer grit, sincerity, hard work, devotion and dedication.
Born on July 1, 1938 in Allahabad, Chaurasia began his musical pursuit at the age of 15, learning classical vocal music from Pandit Rajaram. In 1957, barely out of his teens, he became regular staff artiste of All India Radio (AIR), Cuttack in Orissa. Transferred from AIR Cuttack to Mumbai in 1960, he received further guidance from Surbahar player Annapurna Devi, daughter of late Ustad Allaudin Khan.
Since that time Pandit Chaurasia has been performing nationally and internationally winning acclaim from varied audiences and from fellow musicians like Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, among others.  Pandit Chaurasia is a featured artiste in almost all major music festivals around the globe. He has performed memorable jugalbandi with the stalwarts of Indian Classical music like Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Dr. Balamuralikrishnan and Kishori Amonkar.
As a musician, Pandit Chaurasia is a rare combination of an innovator and a traditionalist.  He has significantly expanded the expressive possibilities of flute — playing through his masterful blowing technique and his unique adaptation of alap and jod.
Pandit Chaurasia has recorded many albums in which he has tried to blend Indian Classical Music with western music to create beautiful and soulful music. Such an experimental album “Eternity,” became a platinum disc.
Pandit Chaurasia has been conferred on many awards and honours including “The Sangeet Natak Academy Award”, “Padma Bhushan”, “Padma Vibhushan”, “Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau-Netherlands”, “Ordres des Arts et Lettres -France”. The documentary film “Bansuri Guru” features the life and legacy of Chaurasia.