Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the internationally renowned exponent of the bansuri or bamboo flute, surprisingly does not come from a long lineage of flautists. His father was a famous wrestler who had aspirations of his son following in his footsteps.
The younger Chaurasia had an early love of music, however, and by the age of 15 was taking his first steps toward a lifetime as a performer by studying classical vocal with Pandit Raja Ram of Benares.
Soon after, he heard a flute recital by Pandit Bholanath and was so impressed he changed his focus to studying the flute. When he was just 19, he got a job playing for All India Radio, Cuttack, Orissa, and within five years he was transferred to their headquarters in Bombay. There he got the additional exposure of performing in one of India's cultural centers and also studied with Shrimati Annapurna Devi, daughter of Ustaad Allauddin Khan of the Maihar School of Music.
There he established the creative peak of his career, developing a style that was respectful of tradition, yet full of innovation. Over a lifetime of performances, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia has become one of India's most-respected classical musicians, earning several awards, including the National Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy, which he won in 1984.
In 1992, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman. In 1994, he was bestowed the Yash Bharati Sanman and in 2000, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. In the year 2000, he also received the Hafiz Ali Khan Award and the Dinanath Mangeshkar Award. 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.
On 1 July, 2008 on the occasion of his 70th Birthday, his official biography "Woodwinds of Change" by Shri Surjit Singh was released by none other than Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Soon after, Panditji was honoured by the Dutch Royal family at a glittering ceremony at Amsterdam. He was conferred the title OFFICER IN THE ORDER OF ORANGE-NASSAU( �officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau�) and was honored by Princess Maxima herself. Pt. Chaurasia has been teaching Indian music at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory for the past 15 years. He is the Artistic Director of the Indian Music department.
This year shortly after his 71st Birthday he was honored by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France. He has been appointed as KNIGHT IN THE ORDER OF ARTS AND LETTER (�Ordres des Arts et Lettres�) in appreciation for the significant contribution he has made to spread culture in France and the rest of the World.
In August this year, Pt. Chaurasia was awarded the National Eminence award, NADA VIDYA BHARTI by Visakha Music and Dance Academy, Vizag.
On 14 September he was bestowed the Honorary Doctorate by the North Orissa University for his unparelleled role and contribution to the world of Indian Classical Music.
He heads the World Music Department at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory.
He is one of the busiest and most sought-after contemporary musicians in the world today.
He is also a dedicated teacher with several devoted art music students world-wide, many of whom are beginning to make their mark on the concert stage.
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