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Adorned with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest Civilian Govt. Awards, for his contributions in the field of music, from the President of India, Pandit Devabrata Chaudhuri, a legendary figure in the domain of Indian Classical Music, popularly known as "DEBU", is one of India's most respected, leading and outstanding musicians of today.
Panditji received his early training from the late Shri. Panchu Gopal Datta for some time and later for 38 years from the veritable great master and the most traditional exponent of Sitar, SANGEET ACHARYA USTAD MUSHTAQ ALI KHAN of the "SENIA GHARANA", the traditional school of Indian Classical Music named after the great MIAN TANSEN, the father of Indian Music. Debuji is the foremost exponent and torch bearer of this Gharana.
Debuji (respectfully called) is a man of many parts. Akin to the seven swaras (notes) that are the heart and soul of any musical creation and composition, howsoever old or new, his personality is seven-fold. India’s foremost Sitar maestro, respected Guru and teacher, composer of numerous mellifluous symphonies, creator of eight new Ragas, author of three books and several monographs, eminent musicologist and academic, and winner of numerous awards and honours, both national and global.
Debuji's is not a mere, or even random, affair with the sitar, it has been a deep romance with this beautiful instrument to which he was introduced when he was all of 4 years old. He made his public debut at the age of 12 and his first broadcast for All India Radio was in the year 1948. Ever since, the association with the sitar, and through it the music, has been increasingly rewarding to himself and to those who have been able to savour it.
It needs no overt mention that Panditji’s music has its own charm which is quite unique in character and stylized, as it can easily be identified by any discerning lover of Indian Classical instrumental music. The year 2002 is witness to Panditji's 54th year of broadcasting on the National network of the All India Radio, and the 40th year of teaching at the University of Delhi, Faculty of Music and Fine Arts. His first National Programme was featured in the year 1963 on All India Radio and became the TOP CLASS (graded by the National Network, AIR) artiste in the 1971. This year has brought many more honours and laurels to Panditji, including a special honours and felicitations by the Cultural Centres of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta for his life time achievement in the field.
Debuji’s retirement from the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, where most of the teachers are his students, has not seen any corresponding diminishing for his love of Music or for the propagation of the same to discerning followers. Panditji has recently started a unique project to document rare instrumental compositions, which are being forgotten or overlooked by the present generation; with the support of traditional compositions of Dhrupad and Khayal on the same Raga. This project is so dear to his heart that his only ambition is to complete this project during his life time, so that the future generation will have a better information and knowledge to perform instrumental compositions with confidence. This is a dream project of Panditji and when completed will be a landmark in the history of instrumental music.
Panditji's creativity in music and his academic acumen are widely accepted, recognized and known all over the World. As the creator of 8 new Ragas, authoring three book on Indian Music, presenting several papers in various seminars all over India and abroad, successfully guiding 33 Ph.D. scholars are but a small though substantial quantification of his eminence. Others include having a special project of recording 24 CDs for 24 hours of the day in the USA, delivering 87 lectures in 67 days in Sweden in 1984 for Govt of India and performing all over the World for more than 70 occasions.
His zeal for the propagation of music to students has led far and wide. He has Lectured at more than 130 Universities on Indian classical music and culture around the world: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangkok, Belgium , Bosnia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Cuba, China, Dubai, France, Fiji, Guyana, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, U.K., U.S.S.R., U.S.A, Venezuela, Yugoslavia etc.
Among his manifold accomplishments, he provided in-flight music for Indian Airlines and composed Music for Indian TV short film and also for German TV. In the year 1983 he was involved as an advisor to the project for promoting Indian music in the schools of Leicestershire, England, under the sponsorship of the Government of India and Leicestershire County Council, a project which, apart from being the first of its kind, was also replicated in Birmingham at a later stage.
He has represented India at various International Seminars, Festivals and has served as Chairman of many symposiums. He has to his credit close to 45 papers that he has presented at various seminars. He was India’s official representation in many International Festivals including Montreaux-Vevey Festival, Morocco International Festival, UNESCO Festival at Perth, Trinidad Festival and Cuba etc.
He also holds the rare privilege of delivering 87 lectures and performing 27 concerts in 67 days at the Govt of India’s "Festival of India in Sweden" in the year 1984. Many of his students are now propagating his Guru’s style all over the World and many foreign students are coming to learn under his guidance under the Cultural exchange programme. All these achievements make his position in the field of music a special one which, in addition to being in itself an achievement, is also, as a matter of record, very hard to match.
Panditji has recorded many albums and cassettes with EMI, HMV, ABK (USA), for M.G.V. (24CD's for 24 hour Ragas), TV series, Rhythm House, Archive Music USA. "T"-Series, Krishna Audios, Washington DC and other companies all over the world.
As the founder Chairperson of the Delhi University Culture council and as the former Dean and Head of the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Dr. Debu Chaudhuri’s contribution to the field of education places him in an exalted pedestal of respect in the domain of music all over the world. He enjoys wide popularity both a Maestro of Sitar and as a learned teacher of music; a unique combination and achievement indeed.
Dr. Chaudhuri is the creator of eight new ragas: Bisweswari, Palas-Sarang, Anuranjani, Ashiqui Lalit, Swanandeswari, Kalyani Bilawal, Shivamanjari and Prabhati Manjari (named after his wife Manju, who passed away recently). He is the author of three books "Sitar and It's Techniques", "Music of India" and "On Indian Music"; has read several papers on music in various Seminars in Indian Universities and Abroad; is the Visiting Professor at MUM, Fairfield, IOWA, USA. His books add another dimension to his creativity. Sitar enthusiasts in India and Europe have found his writings extremely useful in understanding the art of playing the sitar.