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Legendary Flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia To Perform In Boston After 9 Years

Shuchita Rao

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

The legendary flautist, PadmaVibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia accompanied by his disciple Shri Jay Gandhi will present a concert along with Pandit Shubhankar Banerjee on the tabla on Saturday, November 18 at 6:30pm. The venue will be Casey Theatre in Regis College (238 Wellesley St, Weston, MA). Pandit Chaurasia who had performed at the Learnquest Music festival in 2008, returns to the Boston area after nine years.

Born in Allahabad in Northern India, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is known for his mastery with playing the Indian bamboo flute known as the bansuri in the Hindustani classical style.  Son of a wrestler, he secretly started his journey in music by learning vocal music from his neighbor Shri Rajaram.” I was not any good at wrestling. I went to the Akhada only to please my father.” said Pandit Chaurasia. He switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pandit Bholanath Prasanna of Banaaras for eight years. While working at  All India Radio as a composer and performer, he received guidance from the renowned Maihar gharaana founder Baba Allaudin Khan’s daughter, Annapurna Devi. Legend has it that she only agreed to teach him after he took the decision to switch from playing the flute from his right-hand to his left-hand to demonstrate his commitment to music. Pandit Chaurasia plays left-handed to this day. The maestro who will turn 80 on July 1, 2018 has had a long and illustrious career as performer, teacher and music director for Bollywood films.

Pandit Chaurasia has collaborated with large Western classical symphony orchestras, directed music for Bollywood films in partnership with Santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma under the Shiv-Hari label. He has founded the teaching institutions named Vrindaavan Gurukuls in the cities of Mumbai and Bhuvaneshwar. In the traditional Guru-shishya tradition, the Gurukuls aim to revive the ancient lifestyle of researching and teaching Indian music and traditions with both the Guru and shishya in residence at the gurukuls. “In my past there is Krishna. In my dreams I dream of recreating a huge college of flutists, a veritable Vrindaban in which students will arrive to learn and study with satchels full of flutes, live in mud huts, eat at a common langar.  A modern Vrindaban from which a thousand flutes will ring out each day.  For what else is there?  When my breath is gone and I can not play anymore what do I leave behind?  Some dedicated students! When you leave nothing behind, you cry at the point of death, but I still dream, I dare to dream that through my students my flute will be left behind as the memory of Krishna.” Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia told the magazine India Today in a 1987 interview.

The flute concert is jointly sponsored by Radio Music India (RMI) and Learnquest. Early bird tickets are available until Nov 4 at Lokvani.com and www.learnquest.org  Please note that $60 and $100 tickets are sold out but a general admission tickets for $30 are still available for purchase.


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