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Hariprasad Chaurasia

Language available : english
With the great wealth of musical dynasties in the Indian classical tradition, one might expect to find a great line of musicians in the genealogy of Hariprasad Chaurasia, the virtuoso of the bansuri (bamboo flute.) However, instead of being a musician, his father was a famous wrestler and had early hopes that his son might continue in his footsteps. The younger Chaurasia had an early love of music, however, and by the age of 15 was taking his first steps toward a lifetime as a performer by studying classical voice with Pandit Raja Ram of Benares. Soon after, he heard a flute recital by Pandit Bholanath and was so impressed he changed his focus to studying the flute. When he was just 19, he got a job playing for All India Radio, Cuttack, Orissa, and within five years he was transferred to their headquarters in Bombay. There he got the additional exposure of performing in one of India's cultural centers and also studied with Shrimati Annapurna Devi, daughter of Ustaad Allauddin Khan of the Maihar School of Music. She helped him achieve the creative apex of his career, developing a style that was both respectful of tradition, yet full of innovation. Over a lifetime of performances, Chaurasia became one of India's most-respected classical musicians, earning several awards, including the National Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy, which he won in 1984. In 1992, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman and in 1994, he was bestowed the Yash Bharati Sanman. Chaurasia also collaborated with several western musicians late in his career, including John McLaughlin and Jan Gabarek, as well as composing music for a number of Indian films.
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