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Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia
Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia (b. 1938) is one of the most popular contemporary flautists and is regarded as the greatest living master of the north Indian flute. He belongs to the Senia gharana but has imbibed the best features and facets of other forms and styles in his presentation. As a musician, Chaurasia is a rare combination of innovator and traditionalist and has significantly expanded the expressive possibilities of classical North Indian flute. He learnt the techniques of vocal classical music from Pandit Raja Ram of Benaras and the renowned Annapurna Shankar. Later, he switched to flute playing after hearing Pandit Bholanath, a noted flautist from Varanasi. He tutored under Pandit Bholanath for eight years and in 1957, he became a regular member of All India Radio in Cuttack, Orissa where he worked as a performer and a composer. He is the recipient of several honours and awards like the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1983), Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar (1990), Padma Bhushan (1992), the Konarak Samman (1992) and the Yash Bharati Sanman by UP government (1994). Chaurasia tours the world regularly and has recorded with artistes like John McLaughlin to Jan Garbarek. He is the only Indian soloist to have performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and his playing caused appreciative riots in the Theatre Odeon in Paris. He, along with Shivkumar Sharma, composed the scores for Hindi films like Silsila and Chandni. He has also recorded a compact disc at Oslo along with Western artists John Mclaughlin and Jan Garbarek, which has gained international popularity.