Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Biography

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an Indian classical musician and a renowned ‘Santoor’ player. This biography of Shivkumar Sharma provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 13, 1938

Nationality: Indian

Famous: Indian Men Male Musicians

Age: 82 Years, 82 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: Shivkumar Sharma

Born in: Jammu

Famous as: Santoor Player

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Manorama

father: Uma Dutt Sharma

children: Rahul

More Facts

awards: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986)
Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar (1990)
Padma Shri (1991)

Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award (1998)
Padma Vibhusan (2001)

Continue Reading Below

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an Indian classical musician and a renowned ‘Santoor’ player; santoor is an Indian folk instrument. Born to a trained vocalist and tabla player, he was destined to become a classical musician from an early age. His father recognized potential in a folk instrument ‘Santoor’ and encouraged him to learn playing it. Shivkumar Sharma became famous because of his improvisations with santoor and he revolutionized it as one of the most riveting classical instruments. He is single-handedly responsible for making the santoor a popular classical instrument. He introduced the new chromatic arrangement of notes and increased the range to cover full three octaves. He also improvised a new technique of playing with which he could sustain notes and maintain sound continuity. He is the sole musician to have brought santoor at par with other classical instruments and established it across the globe with his sheer brilliance and conviction. He is among those rare classical musicians who have been able to achieve success in the world of film music as well. His compositions for blockbusters such as ‘Silsila’ and ‘Chandni’ are a manifestation of his musical brilliance. With his creative genius, he has created a new genre of instrumental music. Through his performances over a period of more than half a century, he has created millions of new listeners and ardent fans of Indian classical music.

Recommended Lists:

Recommended Lists:

Childhood & Early Life
  • In 1955, he delivered his first public performance in Bombay (present day Mumbai).Following year, he composed the background music for one of the scenes for the movie ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje’. His first solo album was recorded in 1960.
  • In 1967, he teamed up with flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and musician Brij Bhushan Kabra, to produce a concept album titled ‘Call of the Valley’. The album turned out to be one of the greatest hits in Indian Classical Music.
  • Throughout his career, he released numerous innovative experimental albums on santoor music including ‘The Glory Of Strings – Santoor’ (1991),‘Varshā - A Homage to the Rain Gods’ (1993), ‘Hundred Strings of Santoor’ (1994), ‘The Pioneer of Santoor (1994)’, ‘Sampradaya’ (1999), ‘Vibrant Music for Reiki’ (2003), ‘Essential Evening Chants’ (2007) ‘The Last Word in Santoor’ (2009) and Sangeet Sartaj (2011).
  • He also composed music along with flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia,for many films such as ‘Silsila’ (1981), ‘Faasle’ (1985), ‘Chandni’ (1989), ‘Lamhe’ (1991) and ‘Darr’ (1993). They came to be known as the 'Shiv-Hari' music duo.
  • In 2002, he published his autobiography titled ‘Journey with a Hundred Strings: My Life in Music’. He continues to teach santoor music in the Guru Shishya tradition, without charging a fee from his students, who come to him from all the corners of India as well as different parts of the world like Japan, Germany, Australia and America.
Major Works
  • His most significant contribution to music has been towards the popularization of the folk classical instrument ‘santoor’. He carried out experiments with santoor for many years to make it more suitable for his classical technique. The modified santoor which is played in present days has got 31 bridges with a total of 91 strings. It has got a range of three octaves with a chromatic tuning. He is also known for creating a technique for smoother gliding between music notes in order to imitate human voice quality.
Awards & Achievements
  • He was awarded a ‘Platinum disc’ each, for the 1967 Hindustani classical music album ‘Call of the Valley’, the 1981 romantic drama film ‘Silsila’ and the 1989 romantic drama film ‘Chandni’
  • In 1985, he was awarded an honorary citizenship of the city of Baltimore, USA.
  • In 1986, he received the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists. It is awarded by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.
  • In 1990, he was awarded the ‘Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar’. The following year, he received the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Jammu.
  • In 1991, he was conferred with the ‘Padma Shri’, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India.
  • He also received a ‘Special Award for outstanding music and sale of film’ for 1991 romantic film ‘Lamhe’ and 1993 romantic psychological thriller film ‘Darr’.
  • In 1998, he became the winner of the ‘Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award’.
  • In 2001, he became the recipient of ‘Padma Vibhusan’, the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married Manorama and the couple is blessed with two sons. One of his sons, Rahul, is also a delightful santoor player and the father-son duo have performed together at many concerts.

See the events in life of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Biography
- Editors,
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

People Also Viewed

Stanley Getz
Alun Hoddinott
Reginald Arvizu
Chris Martin

Hunter Hayes
2 Chainz
Noah Munck
Nick Hornby