Early Life of Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia
Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia was born on 1st July 1938 into a non-musical family, as his father was a wrestler. At the age of 4 his mother died. His father had aspirations of his son following in his footsteps. He was drawn to the sound of the flute even as a small child. Chaurasia therefore had to learn music almost in secret although he did go to Akhada with his father. He has credited the training he received in wrestling for improving his stamina and lung power that are the signature styles of his flute playing.
Hariprsad Chaurasia began learning classical vocal music from his neighbour Pandit Rajaram at the age of 15. After hearing Pandit Bholanath, a noted flautist from Varanasi on Radio, he switched to flute playing within a year. He tutored under Pandit Bholanath for 8 years.
Career of Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia
In the year 1957, Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia moved to Orissa where he became a staff artiste working as a performer and composer for All India Radio in Cuttack, Orissa. Later he was transferred to All India Radio, Mumbai. During his time in All India Radio, Chaurasia received guidance from the reclusive Smt. Annapurna Devi. She is the daughter of late Ustad Allauddin Khan and sister of famous Sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. He left All India Radio to pursue a career as a flautist and from then on there has been no looking back for him. There he established the creative peak of his career, developing a style that was respectful of tradition, yet full of innovation.
Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia has performed with greats like Yehudi Menuhin, John McLaughlin and Jean Pierre Rampal and as a part of his experimentation; he has tried pop, jazz, rock, and western classical fusions with the traditional Indian music. Although Chaurasia travels around the world giving concerts and residing in Holland for almost half a year, he still returns to Mumbai, India for his 24-hour recital on Janmashtami. Over a lifetime of performances, he has become one of India's most-respected classical musicians.
Apart from classical music, Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia has made a mark as a Hindi language film music director. Along with Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, he formed a group called Shiv-Hari. Chaurasia has also collaborated with various world musicians in experimental cross-cultural performances, including the fusion group Shakti.
Chaurasia has also released several albums like, Sound of Silence, Krishna Utsav, Kalpana-Imagination, Kali-Classical Instrumental, Charm of the Bamboo flute, Dhammapada-Sacred teaching of Buddha, Moon Light Moods-Flute Recital, Krishnadhwani 60, Call of the Valley, Megh Malhar, Raga-s DU Nord Et Du Sud, Maharishi Gandharva Veda, Classic Greats 1-Ideas on Flute, Basant Bahar, Samarpan-VCD Special 60th Birthday Edition, Rasdhaara, Love Divine-Parables of Passion, The Greatest Hits of Hariprasad Chaurasia, Gurukul-The Guru shishya Parampara, Salvation - Instrumental Bhajans and many others.
Awards of Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to music in 1984, Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia received the National Sangeet Natak Academy Award. In 1990, he was awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, in 1992, the coveted Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman by the Orissa state government. In 1994, he was bestowed the Yash Bharati Sanman by Uttar Paradesh government.
Personal Life of Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia
While working for All India Radio, Pandit Hariprsad Chaurasia met his wife of 39 years, Anuradha, who was a classical vocalist there. The couple has a son named Rajiv Chaurasia.
This immensely popular humble artiste also gives training to several dedicated students many of whom are beginning to make their mark on the concert stage. At the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in the Netherlands, he serves as the Artistic Director of the World Music Department.