First Woman Sarod Player of India

First Woman Sarod Player of India

Sharan Rani is the first woman sarod player of India. Born in 1929 in Delhi, Sharan Rani is playing Sarod for nearly 70 years. In fact, she is also popularly called as Sarod Rani. Sharan Rani learnt sarod from eminent musicians such as Baba Allauddin Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Sharan Rani has performed concerts throughout the world. Jawahar Lal Nehru called her "Cultural Ambassador of India".

For her achievement in music, Sharan Rani was awarded the Padma Shri in 1968 and Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in Delhi in 1974. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani Instrumental Music in 1986. Sharan Rani is one of the three women to be conferred the title of "Gems of Indian Music" by the Government of India, the other two being Lata Mangeshkar & MS Subbulakshmi.

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First Music School in India

Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar set up the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya at Lahore on May 5, 1901. It was the first music school in India. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (August 18, 1872 - August 21, 1931) was an Indian classical musician born in Kurundwad, a small town falling under the Deccan division of Bombay Presidency during British rule, presently in Maharashtra.

Gandharva Mahavidyalaya was run by public support, donations from the richer classes and funds raised by the concerts of Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. The school was a challenge to the traditional teacher-student method of training music where a student lived under the roof of the teacher. Many students from his early batches became respected musicians and teachers in North India. This brought a change in the way people looked at classical musicians. Vishnu Digambar returned to Mumbai in September 1908 to start a branch of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Eventually, the Lahore school was shifted to Mumbai after Independence.

First Musician to Receive Padma Bhushan

MS Subbulakshmi was the first musician to get Padma Bhushan (1954) and Padma Vibhushan (1975). She was also the first musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1974.

MS Subbulakshmi was a legendary Carnatic musician. She was popularly known as Nightingale of India and was famous for rendering of Bhajans. MS Subbulakshmi was born in the temple city of Madurai on September 16, 1916. She began her Carnatic classical music training under Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and then Hindustani classical training under Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas. She also acted in a few Tamil films in her youth. MS Subbulakshmi was conferred with Bharat Ratna in 1998.

First Indian to Compose a Symphony

Illayaraja is the first Indian to compose a symphony. Illayaraja composed a full-length western classical symphony in July 1993. The hour long symphony was composed by him in one month. Illayaraja is the first Asian whose symphony was performed by John Scott of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which is patronized by Queen Elizabeth and whose president is Lord Yehudi Menuhin.

Illayaraja is also a famous film composer, singer, and lyricist. He has composed over 4,000 songs and provided background music for more than 800 Indian films in various languages. He has thrice won the National Film Award for Best Music Director.

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