Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Dies: Lesser Known Facts About Legendary Santoor Maestro

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Dies: The legendary santoor (Indian folk instrument) musician Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who elevated the little-known instrument with his art, died in Mumbai early Tuesday morning. The musician, who invented a new kind of instrumental music with his creative genius had been suffering from kidney problems and was on dialysis. He has created millions of new listeners and enthusiastic admirers of Indian classical music through his performances over the last half-century. He died as a result of heart arrest.

Here are some lesser-known facts about Pandit Shivkumar Sharma:

  • Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, a Jammu native, began learning santoor at the age of thirteen. In 1955, he gave his first public concert in Mumbai. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is the man who is credited with pioneering the santoor.
  • Sharma, a Padma Vibhushan laureate, was born in Jammu in 1938 and is credited with being the first artist to perform Indian classical music on the santoor, a Jammu and Kashmir folk instrument.
  • For the 1967 Hindustani classical music record ‘Call of the Valley,’ the 1981 romantic drama film ‘Silsila,’ and the 1989 romantic drama film ‘Chandni,’ he received a ‘Platinum disc’ each.
  • He created various unique Albums on santoor music throughout his career. ‘The Glory Of Strings – Santoor’ (1991), ‘Varsh – A Homage to the Rain Gods’ (1993), ‘Hundred Strings of Santoor’ (1994), ‘The Pioneer of Santoor (1994)’, ‘Sampradaya’ (1999), ‘Vibrant Music for Reiki’ (2003), ‘The Last Word in Santoor’ (2009), and Sangeet Sartaj’ (2011).
  • Uma Dutt Sharma, a vocalist and musician in the Benaras Gharana style and the ‘raj pandit’ at Maharaja Pratap Singh’s court, gave birth to him on January 13, 1938, in Jammu, India.
  • He began studying music when he was five years old. His father and Guru taught him to play the tabla and groomed him as a vocalist. He began playing at the local radio station in Jammu when he was 12 years old.
  • Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, and in 2001, the Padma Vibhushan.

May his soul rest in peace!