Ravi Shankar

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Ravi Shankar

Born: 7 April 1920

Died:11 December 2012

  • He was Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury, his name often preceded by the title Pandit (Master) and “Sitar maestro”, was an Indian musician and a composer of Hindustani classical music.
  • He was the best-known proponent of the sitar in the second half of the 20th century and influenced many other musicians throughout the world.
  • He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1999.
  • He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan.
  • After finishing his studies in 1944, he worked as a composer, creating the music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956.
  • In 1956, Shankar began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Beatles guitarist George Harrison.
  • His influence on the latter helped popularize the use of Indian instruments in pop music in the latter half of the 1960s. Shankar engaged Western music by writing compositions for sitar and orchestra, and toured the world in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • From 1986 to 1992, he served as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha, the upper chamber of the Parliament of India. He continued to perform until the end of his life.

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