Sitarist Ravi Shankar to Perform at WFU

World famous sitar player Ravi Shankar will perform at Wake Forest University on Thursday, April 30, with his 16-year-old daughter Anoushka.

Shankar, who popularized Indian music around the world, will perform at 8 p.m. at Wait Chapel in a Secrest Artists Series concert. Originally scheduled to perform last spring, he canceled the concert due to illness.

From Woodstock to the Kremlin, the 77-year-old musician is known for playing the sitar, a complex stringed instrument.

Anoushka Shankar, who has studied the sitar with her father for the past six years, will share the stage with him. In 1995, at the age of 13, she made her professional debut in Delhi, India. Since then she has accompanied her father at major concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, London, Bangkok, Calcutta and several other cities.

“The family musical tradition seems safe in his daughter’s handsÖ The hall rang with thunderous applause after she played one of her father’s own creations,” wrote a reviewer for the London Telegraph.

Ravi Shankar first performed at Wake Forest in 1961, before he had met the Beatles’ George Harrison and become a pop superstar.

“An icon of world music, Ravi Shankar has come to embody Indian classical music and symbolize the fruitful cross-pollination of Eastern and Western musical styles,” according to Billboard magazine.

Shankar made his American debut in 1930 as a dancer and instrumentalist in a company formed by his brother. After studying the sitar intensively, he gave his first sitar concert in India in 1939. He then began performing recitals on All-India Radio and eventually became its director of music.

He first toured the United States as a sitar soloist in 1956 and recorded two albums, “Ravi Shankar Plays Three Classical Ragas” and “India’s Master Musician.”

Shankar also explored the similarities between Indian music and jazz in the album “Improvisations” (1962). He gave lessons in Indian music to John Coltrane and Don Ellis. With violinist Yehudi Menuhin, he won a Grammy Award for 1967’s Best Chamber Music Performance.

After meeting George Harrison in 1966, Shankar made the leap from classical musician to Woodstock performer. He and Harrison organized 1971’s Concerts for Bangladesh. The soundtrack won Shankar his second Grammy, for the best album of 1972.

In 1971, Shankar and the London Symphony Orchestra premiered the first concerto for sitar written for a western orchestra. He wrote a second concerto that he debuted with the New York Philharmonic, them performed with major orchestras across the country.

Shankar has also composed many film scores, including those for the Oscar-winning “Ghandi” and Satayajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy.” His compositions include solo works written for flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and duets for violin and sitar. He composed and choreographed the ballet “Ghanashyama.”

The musician has received many honors including the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest civilian award, in 1981. In honor of his 75th birthday, Angel Records released a 4-compact disc retrospective of his work, “In Celebration.” Shankar’s autobiography, “Raga Mala,” will be published this year.

The program will be announced from the stage. The event is an addition to the Secrest Series five-concert schedule. A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the public Monday, March 23. Tickets will be $20; $18 for senior citizens and non-Wake Forest students.

To purchase tickets by credit card, call the University Theatre Box Office at (910) 758-5295 beginning March 23. For mail orders, send a check and a stamped self-addressed envelope to the Secrest Series, Box 7411 Reynolda Station, Winston-Salem N.C. 27109. For additional concert information, call 336-758-5757.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Events