Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an exceptionally gifted musician.He is a complete artist, having had his training in vocal, percussion and instrumental music, from none other than his father, Pandit Umadutt Sharma, a distinguished State Musician of Jammu and Kashmir.However, it was the father's express desire that Shivkumar should dedicate himself to popularizing the Santoor. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma has not only elevated this folk instrument of Kashmir to the concert hall status but the Santoor has taken its place in the concert halls around the world. With a style evolved out of gayaki (vocal), gatkari (instrumental technique) and layakari (rhythmic improvisation) Shivkumar imparts to his santoor recitals a multidimentional appeal.
Shivkumar Sharma was born in Jammu, in the state of Kashmir, on 13th January 1938. After training as a vocalist from the age of five followed by further training in percussion through the Tabla, he took on other instruments, such as the Sarod, Violin and the Harmonium. At the age of fourteen, he was introduced to the Santoor by his father, an instrument on which the latter had done considerable amount of research. Pandit Sharma grappled with many problems presented by the Santoor and adapted the instrument to overcome comments of many critics that, unlike sitar or sarod, santoor was not capable of mimicking vocal techniques. He achieved this by increasing the number of bridges to get a wider range of octaves, and changed the system of tuning and the structural configuration of the strings to allow for more precision on note reproduction. Shivkumar Sharma gave his first public performance in Bombay in 1955. He recorded his first solo album in 1960. In 1967, he teamed up with the Bamboo Flute Maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and the Slide Guitarist, Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra, to produce a thematic album "The Call of the Valley" , easily one of the greatest hits in the field of Indian Classical Music.