Tag Archives: Shiv Kumar Sharma

Artist Profiles: Shiv Kumar Sharma

Shiv Kumar Sharma – Photo by Vince Goodsell

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is a household name in India. His influence has transcended the classical audience and contributed to a greater popularity of Indian classical music. He has single-handedly lifted the santoor, a folk instrument previously found only in the Valley of Kashmir, to full acceptance within the classical repertoire. Shiv Kumar Sharma gave his first public performance in Mumbay (Bombay) in 1955, recorded his first solo album in 1960 and has not looked back since.

The santoor, a trapezoid-shaped instrument of the dulcimer family, has 116 strings, which are hammered with a pair of carved wooden sticks. Its original Sanskrit name was shatatantri vina (lute of a hundred strings). Similar instruments are found throughout Europe, the Middle East, and as far east as China. In Kashmir, santoor accompanied the regional music Sufiana Mausiqi, of Sufi origins.

Shiv Kumar Sharma was born in Jammu, in the state of Kashmir, on January 13, 1938. Training as a vocalist from age 5, followed by further training in percussion on tabla, led to other instruments – the sarod, violin, and harmonium – under the tutelage of his father and guru, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma. Shiv Kumar took up the santoor at the age of 14, encouraged by his father, who had researched the instrument and recognized its potential as a classical instrument. Shiv Kumar started modifying the santoor to make it more suitable for his individual playing technique. By increasing the number of bridges to get a wider range of octaves and a smoother meend (the gliding action between two musical notes), Shiv Kumar successfully altered the structural configuration of the strings to make intonation more precise, elevating the santoor to an instrument of classical sophistication.

In the past three decades, Shiv Kumar Sharma has established a lineage of disciples, including his son, Rahul, who plays jugalbandi (duet) with his father. Together, father and son are helping to widen the popularity and further enhance the accessibility of this melodious instrument.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma released his memoirs, Journey with a Hundred Strings: My Life in Music, published in India.


Santoor & Guitar, with Brij Bhushan Kabra (1964)
Shivkumar Sharma (1967) – (re-released 2005 as “First LP Record of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma”)
Call of the Valley, with Brij Bhushan Kabra and Hariprasad Chaurasia (1967)
…When Time Stood Still!, with Zakir Hussain (Live in Bombay) (1982)
Rag Madhuvanti & Rag Misra Tilang, with Zakir Hussain (1987)
Hypnotic Santoor (1988)
Maestro’s Choice, Series One (1991)
A Sublime Trance (1991)
The Glory of Strings (1991)
Raga Purya Kalyan, with Zakir Hussain (1991)
Rag Rageshri, with Zakir Hussain (1993)
Raga Bhopali, vol. I (1993)
Raga Kedari, vol. II (1993)
Varsha – A Homage to the Rain Gods (1993)
Sound Scapes, Music of the Mountains (1994)
Hundred Strings of Santoor (1994)
The Pioneer of Santoor (1994)
Raag Bilaskhani Todi (1994)
A Morning Raga Gurjari Todi (1994)
Feelings (1994)
The Valley Recalls – In Search of Peace, Love & Harmony, with Hariprasad Chaurasia (1996)
The Valley Recalls – Raga Bhoopali, with Hariprasad Chaurasia (1996)
Yugal Bandi, with Hariprasad Chaurasia (1996)
Maestro’s Choice, Series Two (1999)
Sampradaya (Real World, 1999)
Rasdhara, with Hariprasad Chaurasia (Navras, 1999)
Ananda Bliss, with Zakir Hussain (2002)
The Flow of Time, with Zakir Hussain (2002)
Sangeet Sartaj (2002)
Vibrant Music for Reiki (2003)
Sympatico (Charukeshi – Santoor)(2004)
The Inner Path (Kirvani – Santoor) (2004)
Essential Evening Chants, with Hariprasad Chaurasia (2007)
The Last Word in Santoor (Music Today, 2011)
Generations (A Melange of Classical and Contemporary Music Styles), with Rahul Sharma (Times Music)


Savannah Music Festival 2009 Will Present the Most Artistically Diverse Season in the History of the Organization


Savannah (Georgia), USA – The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) announces its most artistically diverse lineup to date for the upcoming 2009 festival, including several commissioned works and a wealth of original productions showcasing a wide variety of American and international musical traditions.

Committed to enhancing the cultural landscape of Savannah, SMF programs combine elegance and soul in a way that mirrors the history and culture of the remarkable city. The unique musical arts event is one of the highlights of springtime on the southeastern U.S. coast and a distinctive destination for cultural travelers.

The 2009 festival takes place between March 19 and April 5 in historic downtown Savannah and features more than 100 musical performances in intimate settings.

Original Productions & Other Highlights

• Long Time Travelin’, a celebration of American folksong traditions: Rayna Gellert of Uncle Earl with Patrick Sauber, old-time balladeer Tim Eriksen, National Heritage Fellow Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Tatnall River Shapenote Singers, and host Jim Lauderdale, an acclaimed Nashville singer-songwriter

• Jazz Now and Forever, a series of jazz greats including Dianne Reeves, Chick Corea & John McLaughlin’s Five Peace Band featuring Christian McBride, Kenny Garrett and Brian Blade, and The Clayton Brothers

• The Gershwin Songbook, jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and classical pianist Sebastian Knauer performing the greatest compositions of this masterful American composer

• The Blues was Born Here, an authentic southern blues review showcasing Piedmont blues masters Cephas & Wiggins on a one-time only bill with Georgia’s own Beverly “Guitar” Watkins

• Resplendent Recitals, a series highlighting the world’s finest recitalists including tenor Ian Bostridge, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Marc-Andre Hamelin and Sebastian Knauer

• Big World of Music, leading international artists such as fado star Mariza, Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen, Bela Fleck’s Africa Project featuring virtuosos Toumani Diabate, Vusi Mahlasela, and D’Gary, and Indian maestros Zakir Hussain & Shiv Kumar Sharma.

• The 16th annual American Traditions Competition, some of the nation’s most talented aspiring vocalists competing for more than $30,000 in prize monies

• The three-night Savannah Jazz Party featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Howard Paul and Ken Peplowski; the Ellis Marsalis Quartet; and the 2009 Piano Showdown with solos and duos by pianists Eddie Palmieri, Henry Butler, Aaron Goldberg and Bob Seeley

• The Complete Brandenburg Concertos performed by the Academy of Ancient Music with Richard Egarr

• Organ Stops, a six-concert series featuring such internationally acclaimed organists as Janette Fishell

• Everybody Dance Now, a three-concert series of dance parties featuring Eddie Palmieri & La Perfecta II, Zydeco great Cedric Watson, and the rising young Cajun ensemble, Feufollet

• Georgia On My Mind, a four-concert series including Savannah’s own Bobby Lee Rodgers & Friends in a one-time only event, as well as the Marcus Printup Quartet, Caroline Herring, and Sacred Harp Singing with Tim Eriksen

• Swing Central, a three-day high school jazz band and competition capped off by Battle Royale, the closing night finale concert featuring a cutting contest with trumpeters, saxophonists, trombonists and rhythm sections. Featured performers: Marcus Roberts Trio, The Clayton Brothers, Wycliffe Gordon, Terrell Stafford, Scotty Barnhart and others

• Roots & Twang, a varied series featuring Neko Case with Crooked Fingers, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, The Infamous Stringdusters and The Lovell Sisters, and The Blues was Born Here

• Tap master Savion Glover, combining two different projects on a Savannah stage

Tickets go on sale at 9 am EST on November 13 and are available online at www.savannahmusicfestival.org or by phone at 912-525-5050.