Learning - Dance/Music | 3-18 yrs

17 Great Instrumentalists Of India

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“We do not play with fingers, we play with our minds,” said Glenn Gould, one of the most-celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. Though he referred to only pianists, the same applies to all great instrumentalists. They make magic with their instruments and have an uncanny ability to blend contemporary with traditional, which results in a beautiful mix of timeless music.

One such exceptional instrumentalist is Zakir Hussain. Hussain had prodigal abilities, as he started going on musical tours at the age of 12. Now, being the most famous tabla player in the country, he is considered as the “chief architect of the contemporary world music movement,” according to an article in iloveindia.com. In his mellifluous career, he has done many historical fusions and produced memorable albums. He is the youngest percussionist to ever be awarded the title of "Padma Shri" by the Indian government.

Decades before Hussain, there was a different legendary musician, born in a different place and playing a different instrument.. but he too, created the same kind of musical entrapment. “Ustad Bismillah Khan was undoubtedly a gem that India is proud of,” says an article about him in Culture India, as it goes onto list his various achievements and accolades. This maestro player of shehnai, had the rare honour of playing on the eve of India's independence in the year 1947.

India is filled with plethora of great instrumentalists like these two. To learn more and get inspired more, flip through this ClipBook.


Baba Allauddin Khan

Sarod expert, Allauddin Khan was a multi-instrumentalist and among the greatest musicians of India. Khan was the court musician of Brijnath Singh, the Maharaja of Maihar Estate in the Central Province and is said to have completely revamped the Ma...

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan was undoubtedly a gem that India is proud of. This Shehnai maestro of India was a Bharat Ratna awardee and also has been awarded all the top four civilian awards namely Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan along with ...

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar is a sitar player, who has not only spellbound people in India but mesmerized people all across the globe with his fabulous musical performances. He was instrumental in taking Indian classical music to the western world. He is a perfo...

The Musical Journey Of Pandit Ravi Shankar

India is a land of artists and art dwells in every nook and corner of India. One such legendary artists the nation was blessed to have was Pandit Ravi Shankar. Rightly called “the godfather of world music”, the sitar maestro was a gem of Indian cl...

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is an eminent Indian flautist who is best known for popularizing Indian Classical Music all over the world. A living legend, he is counted among the greatest masters of the North Indian Bam

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a noted sarod player and one of the foremost classical musicians. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was born at Gwalior Madhya Pradesh in 1945. He belongs to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music an...

A Rendezvous With The Sarod Master

It is not every day that you get to hear Ustad Amjad Ali Khan singing on the phone for you. As the notes flow and soar, the maestro gently brings it to a close, before he stops to explain that this is the music he performs. “It has no language.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Shiv Kumar Sharma's name is synonymous with santoor, Indian classical music instrument. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is credited with single-handedly making the santoor a popular classical instrument.

'I Had An Anna In My Pocket And Nothing To Eat'

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winner and Padma Vibhushan, Pt Shivkumar Sharma has performed before the House of Lords in the UK and the Queen of the Netherlands and also been conferred honorary citizenship of the US city of Baltimore for his contrib...

Palghat Mani Iyer

Palghat Mani Iyer (1912-81) was a colossus on percussion. He was called the proverbial Nandikeshwara for his uncanny ability on the art of playing mrudangam.

Recollecting Palghat Mani Iyer

As a child of five or six, I had seen him at close quarters, both on the stage and off it. The village boys would be playing on the clean and vast river bank. On some evenings, when he was in town and free, Mani Iyer would come with bosom friends ...

Pandit Kishan Maharaj

Pandit Kishan Maharaj, a famous Indian tabla player, born at 3rd September 1923 in the Kabir Chaura, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He was born at the propitious Hindu festival day named Sri Krishna Janamashtami in the family related to the professional...

Annapurna Devi

Annapurna Devi, who was born as Roshanara Khan in 1926 at Maihar in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was a secluded maestro of Surbahar or the bass Sitar in the classical music genre.

The Illustrious ‘Other’ Who Faded Into The Shadows

Like her illustrious father ‘Baba’ Allauddin Khan, Annapurna Devi has proved a tremendous guru and groomed disciples like flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia and the late sitarist Pandit Nikhil Banerjee.

Ustad Vilayat Khan

Vilayat Khan stands out as one of the greatest sitarists of our era. He was born into a musical family on Aug 28, 1928 in the village of Gauripur (present day Bangladesh). In his life, he emerged to become one of the most influential musicians o...

The Genius Of Ustad Vilayat Khan

Ustad Vilayat Khan was regarded as a great Sitarist of his generation. Born in Gauripur, Bangladesh on Aug 28, 1927, he belonged to the Imdadkhani Gharana, also called the Etawah Gharana. He had a musical pedigree that goes back to several generat...


Dr. Lakshminarayan Subramaniam better known as L. Subramaniam is undoubtedly the best-known contemporary Indian violinist who has established himself as the foremost Indian composer in the area of East -West orchestral composition.

'Real Stories Move Me More Than Fantasies'

Violin virtuoso L Subramaniam on composing for a film after a long hiatus, his modern version of Vaishnava janato and carrying forward the legacy of his father, V Lakshminarayana.

Ustad Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain is a classical tabla virtuoso and the most famous tabla player in India today. His contribution in the field of percussion and in the music world at large is highly appreciated.

'It’S Fabulous To Play In These Times'

Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain says he enjoys playing for the overseas audience who are more “enlightened” in the age of technology but he still misses the “Wah Wah” by the Indian audience back home.

Nikhil Banerjee

Nikhil Banerjee (14 October 1931–27 January 1986) was one of India's most prominent sitar players of the second half of the 20th Century. He never achieved the glamour of Vilayat Khan or his gurubhai Ravi Shankar, but Nikhil Banerjee did win grea...

Pandit Kumar Bose

Pandit Kumar Bose, the legendary tabla maestro was born in a  musically endowed family of Kolkata. He was initiated into the art of playing Tabla at a very early age by his fatther, the legendary Late Pandit Biswanath Bose and  his mother Late Vid...

Lalgudi Jayaraman

Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman is a popular Indian violinist, who is known throughout the world for his heart-rending performances in Carnatic music. His mesmerizing techniques and complete control over the instrument has made him one of the maestros in hi...

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was one of the most accomplished Indian classical musicians, admired all over the world for his brilliant compositions and his mastery of the sarode. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan is considered by many as the "Indian Johann Sebastian B...

Some Interesting Facts From The Life Of The Sarod Maestro

Ali Akbar Khan was the sarod maestro of India. He was a virtuoso of Hindustani Classical music and has performed with contemporaries like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha.

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