Ravi Shankar

Indian Classical Musician

Ravi Shankar, born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, his name often preceded by the title Pandit, was an Indian musician and composer who was one of the best-known exponents of the sitar in the second half of the 20th century as a composer of Hindustani classical music.Shankar was born to a Bengali family in Varanasi, India, and spent his youth touring India and Europe with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar.… Read More

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1920 Birth Shankar was born on 7 April 1920 in Varanasi, British India, in a Bengali family, as the youngest of seven brothers. … Read More
1927 7 Years Old Shankar attended the Bengalitola High School in Benares between 1927 and 1928. … Read More


1934 14 Years Old Shankar heard Allauddin Khan - the lead musician at the court of the princely state of Maihar - play at a music conference in December 1934 in Calcutta, and Uday convinced the Maharaja of Maihar in 1935 to allow Khan to become his group's soloist for a tour of Europe. … Read More
1938 18 Years Old Shankar's parents had died by the time he returned from the European tour, and touring the West had become difficult because of political conflicts that would lead to World War II. Shankar gave up his dancing career in 1938 to go to Maihar and study Indian classical music as Khan's pupil, living with his family in the traditional gurukul system. … Read More
1939 19 Years Old Shankar began to perform publicly on sitar in December 1939 and his debut performance was a jugalbandi (duet) with Ali Akbar Khan, who played the string instrument sarod.


1941 21 Years Old Shankar married Allauddin Khan's daughter Annapurna Devi in 1941 and their son, Shubhendra Shankar, was born in 1942. Shankar separated from Devi during the 1940s and had a relationship with Kamala Shastri, a dancer, beginning in the late 1940s. An affair with Sue Jones, a New York concert producer, led to the birth of Norah Jones in 1979. … Read More
1944 24 Years Old Shankar completed his training in 1944. he moved to Mumbai and joined the Indian People's Theatre Association, for whom he composed music for ballets in 1945 and 1946. … Read More
1949 29 Years Old He began to record music for HMV India and worked as a music director for All India Radio (AIR), New Delhi, from February 1949 to January 1956. … Read More


1952 32 Years Old V. K. Narayana Menon, director of AIR Delhi, introduced the Western violinist Yehudi Menuhin to Shankar during Menuhin's first visit to India in 1952.
1954 34 Years Old Shankar had performed as part of a cultural delegation in the Soviet Union in 1954 and Menuhin invited Shankar in 1955 to perform in New York City for a demonstration of Indian classical music, sponsored by the Ford Foundation. … Read More
1956 36 Years Old 1 More Event
Shankar heard about the positive response Khan received and resigned from AIR in 1956 to tour the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.
1958 38 Years Old In 1958, Shankar participated in the celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO music festival in Paris.


1961 41 Years Old From 1961, he toured Europe, the United States, and Australia, and became the first Indian to compose music for non-Indian films.
1962 42 Years Old 1 More Event
Chatur Lal accompanied Shankar on tabla until 1962, when Alla Rakha assumed the role.
1966 46 Years Old 1 More Event
Harrison met Shankar in London in June 1966 and visited India later that year for six weeks to study sitar under Shankar in Srinagar. … Read More
1967 47 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1967, he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival and won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance for West Meets East, a collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin. … Read More


1970 50 Years Old 1 More Event
In October 1970 Shankar became chair of the department of Indian music of the California Institute of the Arts after previously teaching at the City College of New York, the University of California, Los Angeles, and being guest lecturer at other colleges and universities, including the Ali Akbar College of Music.
1971 51 Years Old George Harrison organized the charity Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, in which Shankar participated. … Read More
1973 53 Years Old During the 1970s, Shankar and Harrison worked together again, recording Shankar Family & Friends in 1973 and touring North America the following year to a mixed response after Shankar had toured Europe with the Harrison-sponsored Music Festival from India.
1974 54 Years Old The demanding schedule weakened Shankar, and he suffered a heart attack in Chicago in November 1974, causing him to miss a portion of the tour. … Read More


1981 - 1986 3 More Events
1989 69 Years Old 1 More Event
Shankar composed the dance drama Ghanashyam in 1989.
1990 - 2000 5 More Events
2002 82 Years Old Anoushka performed a composition by Shankar for the 2002 Harrison memorial Concert for George and Shankar wrote a third concerto for sitar and orchestra for Anoushka and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
2003 83 Years Old 1 More Event
Norah Jones became a successful musician in the 2000s, winning eight Grammy Awards in 2003.
2008 88 Years Old In June 2008, Shankar played what was billed as his last European concert, but his 2011 tour included dates in the United Kingdom.
2010 90 Years Old 1 More Event
On 1 July 2010, at the Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, London, England, Anoushka Shankar, on sitar, performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by David Murphy what was billed the first Symphony by Ravi Shankar. … Read More
Shankar performed his final concert, with daughter Anoushka, on 4 November 2012 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California.
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