Ravi Shankar

(b. 1920) Indian sitar player and composer

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(1920– )

Indian sitar player and composer. He has been largely responsible for the interest in Indian music in the western world during the last thirty years.

A precocious dancer and musician, Shankar had little formal education until he was taken to Paris at the age of ten by his elder brother, Uday Shankar. In 1936 he studied with Ustad Allauddin Khan in Mai-her, a fellow-pupil being his future wife, Annapurna. By the mid-1940s, Shankar was giving well-attended recitals and in 1946 he joined the All-Indian Radio as director of its instrumental section. In 1956 he toured Europe and the USA (1956–57), appearing in concerts and recitals. He played at the UNESCO concert in Paris in 1958, the Edinburgh Festival in 1963, and the UN Human Rights Day concert in New York in 1967 with Yehudi Menuhin, with whom he has frequently appeared on television. Shankar has founded a school of Indian music (the Kinnara School) in Los Angeles. His compositions include two concertos for sitar and orchestra, music for films, and the opera Ghanashyam – A Broken Branch (1989). In 1986 he was elected to the upper house of India's parliament.

Subjects: Indian Music.

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