Born On: January 13, 1938
Born In: Jammu
Career: Santoor Player
A genius who rewrites destiny and leaves a strong impact across centuries is not born everyday. He is one such talent who created history in the world of music and brought forth an obscure, almost unknown instrument to the level of being admired round the globe. He is Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma who acquired the identity of a musician with the introduction of the music instrument, Santoor into the music world. This folk instrument, originally form Jammu, owes its classical status to this music legend who made it recognized worldwide. A born genius, Shiv Kumar created a new genre of instrumental music. With a career spread over five decades, he has won the hearts of million new listeners and created an ardent fan following of Indian classical music, with his perfect blend of rich knowledge, perfects skills, and abundant spontaneous creativity.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was born in Jammu district of Jammu & Kashmir into a musician family. His father, Uma Dutt Sharma was also a classical singer. Shiv Kumar started learning music and tabla from his father, when he was just 5. His father pushed him all along and wanted him to be the first musician to play Indian classical music on the folk instrument, santoor. He made his first public performance took place in 1955 in Bombay. Later, he concentrated only on the santoor and single handedly brought it into the limelight. He modified the santoor and increased its range to cover the three octaves to make it more appropriate for playing classical music. He also formed a new technique to play it, wherein the notes could be sustained for sound continuity.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma recorded his first solo album in 1960. He then composed the music for Shantaram's 'Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje' in 1965. Later in 1967, he teamed up with the flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia and side guitarist Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra to make the thematic album named 'Call of the Valley'. This endeavor received great acceptance and immensely appreciated by its listeners. The album is remains one of the greatest works in Hindustani classical music. Apart from his private albums, Shiv Kumar has also worked on a number of Bollywood films, in partnership with Hariprasad Chaurasia. Beginning with 'Silsila' in 1980, the duo went ahead to compose music for some of the best musical hits, like 'Faasle' (1985), 'Chandni' (1989), 'Lamhe' (1991), and 'Darr'.
Contribution to Music
Santoor and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma are synonymous. He is the man who could raise a folk instrument and folk art to a level of international important. People all over the world and appreciate Indian music and Santoor through Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He derived new ways of playing the instrument and created a unique blend of folk and classical music. He is even credited with composing a raga named Antardhwani, for which he was honored with several accolades.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is married to Manorama. The couple has two sons, of whom Rahul is also a santoor player. Both father and son have given many performances together since 1996 and continue to do so to mesmerize their audience.
Awards & Recognition
Honorary citizenship of the city of Baltimore, USA, 1985
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1986
Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, 1990
Padma Shri Award, 1991
Honorary Doctorate from the University of Jammu, 1991
Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award, 1998
Padma Vibhushan Award, 2001
1938: Born in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir
1955: Made first public appearance in Bombay
1960: Recorded first solo album
1967: Produced music for 'Call of the Valley', along with Hariprasad Chaurasia
1986: Bagged the Sangeet Natak Academy Award
1991: Received Padma Shri Award
2001: Honored with Padma Vibhushan Award.