Dr. Shrabani Biswas

Domain: Sitar | Educator | Mentor | LIVE Concert Performer | Speaker

Genre: #IndianClassical #Sitar 

Location: Varanasi, India


Dyutikishore Acharya Sitar School, Varanasi – Fantastic Life Learning Experience

Born to a family of sportsmen and academicians, Dr. Shrabani Biswas started a conventional life immersed in regular schooling, while humming music from her mother’s singing and an awareness that her grandfather (father of her mother) had learned Sitar from Shri Balaram Pathak. Until one fine day, when a gentlemen saw her palm and said “there is music in her destiny” and took her to the Guru Shri Dyutikishore, who was a disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan sahib, and she started learning Sitar at the school with daily classes in Sitar, followed by tasty snacks served to all students. She also started attending several Concerts in Varanasi, witnessing the legends of Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, and others.

Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar: An Honourable Credibility

Her continuity in learning Sitar came from appearing for the yearly exams with Prayag Sangeet Samiti; she also completed her graduation with Sitar as an Honours subject and stood 1st in the entire University. She also topped the BHU entrance test for Masters, correctly identifying all Notes, Ragas, et. al. and aced the “audio round” of her interview with flying colours. In 1991, after completing 2 years in Masters, she topped among all Departments, and received the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar, received national scholarship from CCRT – Ministry of Culture, cleared the UGC NET JRF for lecturership in 1992, and became a regular Sitar performer on Concert stages.

Her educational qualification is listed below:

  • Doctorate in Sitar (Faculty of  Performing Arts B.H.U, 1994)
  • Passed Junior Research Fellowship and Lectureship in 1991
  • M. Mus from Faculty of Performing Arts B.H.U 1991 and received Lata Mangeshkar Award from B.H.U.
  • B.A.(Hons) fromWomen’s College B.H.U. in 1989
  • Qualified Sangeet Prabhakar and Sangeet Praveen in Sitar(1988)  from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad

Dream Comes True: Destined Meeting with Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan

She would often wish to meet with Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, as she was always inspired by his style of Sitar playing in gayaki ang and made a habit of listening to his recitals on the All India Radio channels on a regular basis. In 2009, when Ustad Ji performed at the Ganga Mahotsav, she couldn’t meet with him due to security reasons, but as good luck would have it, she was entrusted with the responsibility to take care of his logistics and management during his SPICMACAY recital at the school, where she was a teacher. She touched his feet and requested him for taalim, to which Ustad Ji said bring your saaz” – meaning, bring your Sitar; she played her Sitar and Ustad Ji said “boht sureeli hain aap” – and agreed to train her. The Guru-shishya parampara began and continues to enrich the pupil’s soul. Some of her professional experiences are listed below:

  • “A”grade artiste of Akashwani Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan
  • Empanelled with ICCR since 2017
  • Invited for many Lec–Dem series and visited Tokyo University continuosly from the year 2003 to 2012, Greece University 2010, Kathmandu 2015, Faculty of Performing Arts BHU 2016/17
  • Recipient of National Scholarship from Ministry of Culture New Delhi in1989.
  • In the Judgement panel for Akashwani AIR Music competition for the year 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
  • Judgement for youth festival invited by Mhatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth in 2017.
  • Conducted Orchestra presented by the students for “Ganga Bachao Swachata Abhiyan” at Varanasi in 2017.
  • Invited for sitar workshop in India and abroad.
  • Composed 40 self compositions in different Raga as a project work for Doctorate degree from Faculty of Performing Arts BHU.
  • Acted and was in a lead role of young Siddheshwari Devi ji in the film “Siddheshwari”(Dedicated to the legend of music Vidushi Smt.Siddheshwari Devi ji)  directed by Mani Kaul in 1989

The Mystical Experience and a Silsila of Musical Excellence

On 8th November, 2022, she became a ganda-bandhan disciple of the great Guru Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan; she played Raag Bageshree and received blessings from her Guru. During one of her scheduled performances in All India Radio, she was about to play the Raag Abhogi, however, she had some doubts and turned restless in quest of a litte more knowledge of the Raag. The same night, she saw Guruji appearing in her dreams, she touched his feet, and received taalim in Raag Abhogi. She remembered all of it when she woke up in the morning, gave a fantastic performance, and when she shared this experience with Guruji, he said, “Yes, this is natural. A few more disciples have had similar experiences”. Such is the magical connection of a guru-shishya bond and such is the transformational effect of a Guru in lives of disciples, indeed.

Dr. Shrabani Biswas received many awards and accolades:

  • Pt. Bhimsen Joshi National Award Gadag Karnataka – 2015
  • Smriti Irani Best teacher Award-2016
  • Ambedkar Award – 2002
  • Shatabdi Ratna Award Panipat -2002
  • Lata Mangeshkar Award B.H.U -1991
  • Savitri Bai Phule Fellowship Samman – 2002
  • “Surmani” award from Sur Singar Samsad Mumbai

Highlights of her performances are listed below:

  1. UP Sangeet Natak Academy Lucknow
  2. Sangeet Natak Academy New Delhi,
  3. Kumar Gandharva All India Music Festival Mumbai 2016
  4. Ganga Mahotsav Varanasi 2014
  5. Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh Varanasi
  6. All India Music Conference of Deoghar
  7. Royal Family of Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur
  8. Pt Bhimsen Joshi Music Festival Gadag Karnatak 2017
  9. ICCR Programme series,
  10. Saptak Music Festival Ahemedabad,
  11. Subah E Banaras
  12. National Programme of Music by All India Radio 2009,2011 and 2014
  13. Akashwani Sangeet Sammelan -2016
  14. Haridas Sangeet Sammelan Vrindavan-2018
  15. Panchanaad Presentation at Pt.Bhatkhande Music Festival Bhopal -2019
  16. Tirupati Sangeet Sabha-Nadaneerajanam at Tirumala Tirupaty -2016
  17.  Festival of Strings-Ambani Palace Mumbai -2019
  18.  Sunanda Devi Music Festival –Kolkata
  19.  Shankara Arts Music Festival Varanasi-2017
  20.  “Sarvakal Music Society”, Canada

She continues to build her legacy and her disciples are rising to be admirable performers as well. Some of them are:

  • Yashuhiro Minamizawa (Senior Sitarist, Tokyo, Japan)
  • Dogls Denial (Canada)
  • Chie Nakayama (Japan)
  • Ronit Chatterjee, Vishnu Saha, Shubhankar, Kunal (India)


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