Ravi Shankar

Shankar performing in 1969 Ravi Shankar, (; born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, sometimes spelled as Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury; 7 April 1920 – 11 December 2012) was an Indian sitarist and composer. A sitar virtuoso, he became the world's best-known expert of North Indian classical music in the second half of the 20th century, and influenced many musicians in India and throughout the world. Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999.

Shankar was born to a Bengali family in India, and spent his youth as a dancer touring India and Europe with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. At age 18, he gave up dancing to pursue a career in music, studying the sitar for seven years under court musician Allauddin Khan. After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, creating the music for the ''Apu Trilogy'' by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score for scoring the blockbuster Gandhi (1982)

In 1956, Shankar began to tour Europe and the Americas playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Beatles guitarist George Harrison. His influence on Harrison helped popularize the use of Indian instruments in Western pop music in the latter half of the 1960s. Shankar engaged Western music by writing compositions for sitar and orchestra and toured the world in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1986 to 1992, he served as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha, the upper chamber of the Parliament of India. He continued to perform until the end of his life. He was a recipient of numerous prestigious musical accolades, including a Polar Music Prize and five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for ''The Concert for Bangladesh'' in 1973. Provided by Wikipedia
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