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Pandit Debu Chaudhuri

Pandit Debu Chaudhuri

Popularly known as "Pandit Debu Chaudhuri",Devabrata Chaudhuri, a Maestro of Sitar, wai", s a learned teacher of music and an outstanding Indian classical musician. Debu, as he was popularly called, started his affair with music when he was only four of age. His public debut was at the age of 12 with a broadcast over All India Radio in 1948. He taught at the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at the University of Delhi. After retiring from the University of Delhi as Dean and Head, Pandit Chaudhuri started a unique project of documenting rare instrumental compositions with the aid of traditional compositions of Dhrupad and Khayal on the same Raga. This, he hoped, will provide continuity to the knowledge for the future generation. His son, Prateek carries on the mantle from his father. He died in 1989.

Education and Musical Career

Debu was initially trained under Shri Panchu Gopal Datta and later under Sangeet Acharya Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan from the Senia Gharana, an Indian musical tradition after Tansen, one of the nine jewels in the court of Emperor Akbar. This later period extended to 38 years. The Senia style has 17 frets in the sitar, the only Gharana to have so, while others play with 19 or 20 frets only.
In 1963, his first National Programme featured in the All India Radio. He was adjudged Top Class artist in 1971 by the National Net Work AIR. He created 8 new Ragas viz. Bisweswari, Palas-Sarang, Anuranjani, Ashiqui Lalit, Swanandeswari, Kalyani Bilawal, Shivamanjari and Prabhati Manjari (in memory of his wife Manju); authored three book on Indian Music namely ‘Sitar and It's Techniques’, ‘Music of India’ and ‘On Indian Music’; presented papers in seminars in India and abroad; performed 27 concerts in 67 days in the Government of India sponsored Festival of India at Sweden in 1988; guided successfully 33 PhD scholars; recorded 24 CD’s for 24 hours of the day in USA, and delivered 87 lectures. He, as the Chief Advisor to the introduction of Indian Classical Music in UK, gave performance in over 70 places across the world. He was the founder Chairperson of the Delhi University Culture Council.

He was a Life Member of India International Centre, ISKCON, and A.A.U.I. He was the Visiting Professor at IOWA, USA. He was a member of various bodies including the Advisory committee of many Government Cultural bodies, and Governing Council of Lakmibai College and Ramlal Anand College. He was the visitors’ nominee at Viswa Bharati Santiniketan.

Important works

The in-flight music for Indian Air lines was provided by Debu. He also composed the music for Indian TV short film as well as for German TV. He was an advisor to the project to promote Indian music in the schools of Leicester at England sponsored by the Government of India together with Leicester country council as well as in Birmingham. He recorded a number of albums and cassettes with HMV, EMI, ABK (USA), TV series, Maharishi Gandharva Ved (24CD's), Archive Music USA, Rhythm House, and ‘T’ series amongst others. He lectured at over 130 Universities around the world; represented officially India in many International Festivals such as Morocco International Festival, Montreaux-Vevey Festival, Trinidad Festival and UNESCO Festival at Perth.

Awards / Achievement

Prof. Chaudhuri was specially honoured by the Ohio House of Representatives, Governor of Ohio, Mayor of many cities of USA and Europe. He received many Titles, Honours and Honorary Degrees from various societies in India and abroad.
A recipient of Padma Bhushan, National Academy Award, Sahitya Kala Parishad State Award (Delhi), Raseswar Award (Mumbai), Swar Sadhna Ratna Award (Mumbai), and many others, he was awarded the Honorary Degree of D.Litt by Indira Kala Sangeet Viswavidyalaya, Khairagarh, the only Music University in Asia