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With his virtuousic blowing technique, Hariprasad Chaurasia has turned the Bansuri (bamboo) flute into an instrument of beauty. Blending the musical traditions of India with imagination and innovation, Chaurasia has reached beyond classical music to create a sound of his own. Presented with the national award of the Sangeet Natak Academy in 1984, Chaurasia received the Gaurav Puraskar from the state government of Maharashtra, India in 1990, the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman in 1992 and the Yash Bharati Sanman in 1994. In addition to recording as a soloist, Chaurasia has collaborated with such jazz musicians as John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek. His compositions have been heard in several Indian films including Silsila, which he co-wrote with Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.
Although he began his musical studies as a vocalist, Chaurasia switched to the flute after hearing a performance by Pandit Bholanath a year later. Inspired by what he heard, Chaurasia spent the next eight years studying with Bholanath. He later studied with surbahar player Shrinimati Annapurna Devi, the daughter of Ustad Allaudin Khan and the siter of Ali Akbar Khan. In 1957, Chaurasia began playing and composing material for All India Radio in Calcutta. Ten years later, he collaborated with Shivkumar Sharma and Brijbhushan Kabra on a much-celebrated raga suite, "Call Of The Valley."
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (Hindi: पण्डित हरिप्रसाद चौरसिया; born 1 July 1938) is an Indian classical flautist. He plays in the North Indian tradition."Hariprasad Chaurasia performs in Hyderabad". The Times of India. 26 September 2009.
Chaurasia was born in Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father was a wrestler. His mother died when he was 6. He had to learn music without his father's knowledge, for his father wanted him to become a wrestler. He did go to the Akhada and train with his father for some time, although he also started learning music and practising at his friend's house. He has stated,
I was not any good at wrestling. I went there only to please my father. But maybe because of the strength and stamina I built up then, I'm able to play the bansuri even to this day.—Hariprasad Chaurasia Datta, Madhumita (2008). Let's Know Music and Musical Instruments of India. Star Publications. p. 64. ISBN 978-1905863297. Kalidas, S (6 July 1998). "Flamboyant Flautist". India Today.
Chaurasia started learning vocal music from his neighbor, Pandit Rajaram, at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pandit Bholanath Prasanna of Varanasi for eight years. He joined the All India Radio, Cuttack, Odisha in 1957 and worked as a composer and performer. Much later, while working for All India Radio, he received guidance from the reclusive Annapurna Devi, daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan. She only agreed to teach him if he switched from right-handed to left-handed playing (so as to start over free from any pre-existing errement). Another version is that she only agreed to teach him after he (of his own) took the decision to switch from right-handed to left-handed playing to show her his commitment. In any case Chaurasia plays left-handed to this day.
Apart from classical music, he has made a mark as a music director for Indian films along with Shivkumar Sharma, forming a group called Shiv-Hari. He has collaborated with world musicians in experimental cross-cultural performances, including the fusion group Shakti.
He serves as the artistic director of the World Music Department at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in the Netherlands. He was also the founder of the Vrindavan Gurukul in Mumbai (opened 2006) and Vrindavan Gurukul in Bhubaneshwar (opened 2010). Both of these institutes are schools dedicated to training students in Hindustani Bansuri in the Guru-shishya tradition.
He has collaborated with several western musicians, including John McLaughlin, Jan Garbarek, and Ken Lauber, and has composed music for Indian films. He has performed throughout the world, winning acclaim from varied audiences and fellow musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Chaurasia also played on The Beatles' 1968 B-side "The Inner Light", which was written by George Harrison.Cite error: The named reference datta was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Kumar, Raj (2003). Essays on Indian Music. Discovery Publishing House. p. 220. ISBN 978-8171417193. interview of Hariprasad Chaurasia at http://www.kavitachhibber.com/main/main.jsp?id=hariprasad Ray Chowdhury, Tathagata (January 26, 2015). "Bansuri innovator ignored in city". The Times of India. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
Chaurasia was married to Kamla and Anuradha. He has three sons Vinay, Ajay and Rajiv.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/music/news/Pandit-Hariprasad-Chaurasias-first-wife-sons-left-out-of-biopic/articleshow/19538109.cms Cite error: The named reference indiatoday was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "A step forward in promotion of classical music". The Hindu. 22 March 2010.
In popular culture
The 2013 documentary film Bansuri Guru features the life and legacy of Chaurasia and was directed by the musician's son Rajeev Chaurasia and produced by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.Pau, Debjani (14 January 2013). "Real story of flute maestro now captured in reel". Indian Express. Retrieved 20 January 2013. "Weaving melody with the divine flute". The New Indian Express. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
AwardsSangeet Natak Academy - 1984Konark Samman - 1992Padma Bhushan - 1992Yash Bharati Sanman - 1994Padma Vibhushan - 2000Hafiz Ali Khan Award - 2000Dinanath Mangeshkar Award - 2000Pune Pandit Award - 2008, by The Art & Music Foundation, Pune, IndiaAkshaya Sanman - 2009Honorary Doctorate, North Orissa University-2008Honorary Doctorate, Utkal University-2011National Eminence award, NADA VIDYA BHARTI by Visakha Music and Dance Academy, Vizag - 2009The 25 Greatest Global Living Legends In India by NDTV - 2013.
HonoursHonoured by the Dutch Royal family at Amsterdam,and was conferred with the title Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau (“officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau”) and was honoured by - then - Princess Maxima herself.Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France. He has been appointed as Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters (“Ordres des Arts et Lettres”) in appreciation of the significant contribution he has made to spread culture in France and the rest of the World - 2009Honorary Doctorate by the North Orissa University for his unparalleled role and contribution to the world of Indian Classical Music - 2009 Cite error: The named reference essays was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Satapathy, Rajaram (10 October 2009). "Hariprasad Chaurasia gets Akshaya Samman". The Times Of India. Retrieved 12 February 2014. http://hariprasadchaurasia.com/biography.htm "French honour for flutist Chaurasia". The Times Of India. 12 November 2010.
BooksOfficial biography "Woodwinds of Change" by Surjit Singh - 2008'Hariprasad Chaurasia and the Art of Improvisation', by Henri Tournier Hariprasad Chaurasia & the Art of Improvisation - Henri Tournier | Audio CD
Music for Bollywood films
Along with Shivkumar Sharma he composed music forChandniDarrLamheSilsilaFaasleVijaySahibaan
Music for Telugu films
The music for the movie Sirivennela is composed by K. V. Mahadevan which revolves around the role of Pandit Hari Prasad, a blind flautist played by Sarvadaman Banerjee and flute renditions by Chaurasia.
Music for English films
Some of his music is used in Mithaq Kazimi's 16 Days in Afghanistan.