1920 - 2012
Pandit Ravi Shankar, born Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury, was a world-renowned Indian musician and composer known for his mastery of the sitar. He popularized Indian classical music globally through teaching, performances, and collaborations with Western musicians like Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison. His compositions for sitar and orchestra bridged the gap between Eastern and Western music. Shankar was a nominated member of India's Rajya Sabha, received the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, and earned three Grammy Awards.
In 2010, Ravi's Symphony premiered at the BBC Proms, featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra, his daughter Anoushka Shankar on sitar, and conductor David Murphy. In 2023, Wise Music Group signed a co-publishing agreement with Shankar's estate, which encompasses his extensive archives, a wealth of unreleased recordings, unpublished compositions, and the East Meets West Music record label, ensuring the preservation and continued celebration of his musical legacy.
Born Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury, his name often preceded by the title Pandit ('Master'), was a world-famous Indian musician and a composer of Hindustani classical music. He was one of the best-known exponents of the sitar in the second half of the 20th century and influenced many other musicians throughout the world.
Shankar was born to a Bengali family in India, and spent his youth touring India and Europe with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan. After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar 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 he 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 throughout 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. In 1999, Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
And in 2002, Ravi Shankar won his third Grammy Award for the CD Full Circle/Live at Carnegie Hall in the best album in World Music category.
In 2010, Ravi's Symphony premiered at the BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Murphy and his daughter Anoushka Shankar playing the sitar.
In 2023, Wise Music Group signed a co-publishing agreement with the estate of the Indian sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. The agreement includes Shankar’s archives, which contain a wealth of unreleased recordings and unpublished compositions, along with the East Meets West Music record label.
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