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Hariprasad Chaurasia

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (b. Allahabad, July 1, 1938) is known internationally as a player of the bansuri, the North Indian bamboo flute. Chaurasia is a classicist who has made a conscious effort to reach out and expand the audience for classical music.

History

Hariprasad Chaurasia was born into a non musical family. His father was a wrestler. His mother died when he was four. Hariprasad had to learn music almost in secret, scared of the father who 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 in secret, and practicing in his friend's house. He has credited this wrestling training for giving him the immense stamina and lung power that are the hallmarks of his flute playing, stating that, "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".

He first started learning vocal music from his neighbour, Pt. Rajaram at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pt. Bholanath of Varanasi. Much later, while working for All India Radio, he received guidance from the reclusive Smt. Annapurna Devi (daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan).

Pt. Chaurasia is a rare combination of innovator and traditionalist. He has expanded the expressive possibilities of the bansuri through his masterful blowing technique. Hariprasad Chaurasia is one of the busiest North Indian classical musicians, regularly traveling and performing throughout the world.

Apart from classical music, he has made a mark as a Hindi language film music director along with Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, forming a group called Shiv-Hari. He has also collaborated with various 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 has collaborated with several western musicians, including John McLaughlin and Jan Gabarek, and has also composed music for a number of Indian films. He has performed throughout the world winning acclaim from varied audiences and fellow musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and Jean Pierre Rampal.
1 He has won a number of awards including the Sangeet Natak Academy (1984),Konark Samman (1992), Padma Bhushan (1992),Yash Bharati Sanman (1994) and Padma Vibhushan (2000)
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