Pandit Ravi Shankar

Pandit Ravi Shankar (b.1920), one of the greatest exponents of the sitar, is the most popular Indian musician all over the world. Yehudi Menuhin, the world famous violinist described him as "a creative genius comparable only to Mozart". Pandit Ravi Shankar has received widespread acclaim for his creativity and distinct, unorthodox style of playing the Sitar. He is acclaimed around the world for his originality and improvisation. He also has a command on instruments like Surbahar, Been, Rabab and Sursingar.

In January 1945, he composed the music score for the famous patriotic song, Sare Jahan Se Aacha, Hindustan Hamara, written by the famous Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal. Pandit Ravi Shankar has to his credit several ragas like Nat Bhairav, Pancham Se Gara, Kameshwari, Parameshwari and Ganeshwari. Raga Mohankauns was composed in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. In May 1967, he founded the Kinnara School of Music in Bombay and Los Angles. He has composed extensively for films and ballets in India, Canada, Europe and the United States, including Charly, Gandhi and Apu Trilogy. He has the honour of being the first Indian to write film music for foreign films. Ravi Shankar has received several honours and awards as a sitarist, composer and musician. His music for the film Gandhi won him an Oscar nomination.

He is the first Indian to receive the highest award of the Berlin Film Festival, the Silver Bear, for his music in the Indian film Kabuliwala. In 1969, he was cited as ?usician of the Year?by one of the leading magazines of America? musical industry, Billboard Magazine. He is also the first Indian Musician to be commissioned by a major Western Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, to compose a Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra. This Concerto was performed in 1971 and conducted by Andre Previn. His long list of awards and honours include fourteen doctorates, Padma Bhushan (1967), the Padma Vibhushan (1981), Desikottam, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, two Grammys, the Fukuoka Grand Prize from Japan, the Crystal award from Davos, with the title 'Global Ambassador', Kalidas Samman Award, Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award (1991), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mahatma Gandhi Award and Premium Imperiale Arts Award from The Japan Art Association, the Presidential Award (1962 and 1980), the International Music Council UNESCO Award(1975) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship (1976) to name a few. Ravi Shankar is an Honorary Member of the United Nations Rostrum of Composers and Honorary Member of the Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1986 he was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha. The Highest Civilian award in India, Bharat Ratna, was bestowed on Ravi Shankar in 1999.

He also received the prestigious International Prize for Film and Media for 1999 instituted by the German government? Art and Exhibition Centre. In February 2000, he was honoured with the highest French civilian award Commandeur de la legion d Honneur. In early 2001, Ravi Shankar was conferred with Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).