Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia Biography
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia was born in Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father was a wrestler. His mother died when he was 6. He had to learn music without his father's knowledge, for his father wanted him to become a wrestler. He did go to the Akhada and train with his father for some time, although he also started learning music, and practising at his friend's house. He often credits his wrestling training for giving him the immense stamina and lung power that are the hallmarks of his flute playing, stating that,“I was not any good at wrestling. I went there only to please my father. But maybe because of the strength and stamina I built up then, I'm able to play the bansuri even to this day.”
He started learning vocal music from his neighbor, Pandit Rajaram at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pandit Bholanath Prasanna of Varanasi for eight years. He joined the All India Radio, Cuttack, Orissa in 1957 and worked as a composer and performer Much later, while working for All India Radio he received guidance from the reclusive Annapurna Devi, daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan.
He is considered a rare combination of innovator and traditionalist. He has expanded the expressive possibilities of the bansuri through his masterful blowing technique.
Apart from classical music, he has made a mark as a music director for Indian films along with Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, forming a group called Shiv-Hari. He has also collaborated with various world musicians in experimental cross-cultural performances, including the fusion group Shakti.
He serves as the Artistic Director of the World Music Department at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in the Netherlands.
He has collaborated with several western musicians, including John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek, 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.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is married to Anuradha, a classical vocalist from Orissa. They have a son Rajiv. From his first wife Kamla Chaurasia he has two sons Ajay and Vinay Chaurasia.