Sitar Player, Composer, Music Director and Researcher
Imagine the lush musical atmosphere of India tempered by the spirituality of the ages to get a feel for the music of Chandrakant Sardeshmukh, one of the finest sitarists in the world today. He began playing when he was barely four years old. He performed in the Sawai Gandharva Festival when he was eight. At that time he was declared a prodigy by Ravi Shankar. He became a Gandaband (formal student) of the maestro and later with Annapurnadevi, the renowned musician and daughter of Allauddin Khan, for over 12 years in the Guru Shishya tradition.
|In 1971 Chandrakant was awarded the first Master Fellowship from the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai and in 1976 honoured as Sangeet Vibhushan , the highest title that Rajasthan University could bestow. Other awards that followed were the titles of Surmani from Sur Singar Sansad, Mumbai and Darbari Sitarvadak (Royal Sitarist) given to him by His Holiness Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya from Sringeri. After he completed his masters in Hindi and Sanskrit, he went on his first international concert tour to Germany . Following this tour, on the instruction of his father who wanted him to understand the Vedic traditions of Indian music, regardless of ongoing offers from Germany for performances, he decided to devote time to research. At the conclusion of his studies in 1987, he was conferred a doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Poona for the thesis titled Samavedic Basis of Indian Music.|
|While working on his Ph.D. he also trained several students at the University who went on to receive accolades in inter-departmental and inter-university events. His activities were appreciated by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi who supported him in setting up a new performing arts department, the Lalit Kala Kendra on the Pune University campus of which he became the founder and first coordinator. He also contributed to the formation of Lalit Kala Kendra at Kolhapur University with legends there such as artist Chandrakant Mandhare and served on the board for ten years. He has given many lecture demonstrations throughout Japan since 1991 and has taught Indian music in Australia since 1990.|
|Chandrakant Sardeshmukh has been broadcast on Indian national radio since 1979. During 1982-86 he composed music for 150 films produced by the Education Media Research Centre, Pune which have been broadcasted through the National Educational Television Network since then. As music director his work includes a production for an Indian national s cience congress with a theme based on the evolution of sweet sound from primordial chaos and proved the concept for Vishwa Shanti . The film Aamukh , produced by a student at the Film and Television Institute of India for which he composed the soundtrack , won the President of India Award at the New Delhi Film Festival in 1991. He also composed music for a TV serial Vedkalin Striya|
|During his debut international tour to Germany in 1982 he played 34 concerts to audiences over 2 months with rave reviews like “…takes Germany by storm…” (German News) . After taking time out from professional appearances to complete his Ph.D. he started touring internationally again in 1990.|
He performed a series of concerts in Australia during 1990 followed by a concert at the 1992 Australian Festival of Asian Arts in Melbourne , sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Since 1999, when he was a visiting faculty member to the University of South Australia in 1999 for a Helpmann Academy dance, drama and music project, he performed numerous concerts and conducted many lecture demonstrations for educational institutions throughout Australia . During the Connecting with… International Music Symposium held in Brisbane in 2002, as a featured artist he composed and conducted a work based on raga Puriya Kalyan played by the string section of the Queensland Conservatorium Orchestra. Other concerts included one for The Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2004. He has composed for jazz musicians in Japan and Australia and his recent concert in October 2008 for JazzSA was highly appreciated by audiences in Adelaide .
|Performing nationwide in Japan since 1991, he embarked on composing new musical works for sitar with traditional Japanese instruments at the Okinawa International Music Festival . He appeared with a dancer and also was accompanied by Japanese and Western instruments. In 2006-07 he performed the New Wave concert series in Tokyo , one with Tsugaru shamisen and the other with koto. A third concert in this series featured sitar with harmonica.|
In 1999, Chandrakant Sardeshmukh visited the USA as a featured artist in the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal's Convention. Among concerts he has given during visits to North America is a performance in 2002 at Wesleyan University , Connecticut .
|In 2007 he was invited by the Sibiu International Music Association to perform in the Sibiu International Music Festival. During the festival season he also performed with the South Indian musicians in the Global Lakshminarayana Festival organized by the well known violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. Chandrakant also gave a concert in Vienna during this visit to Europe.|
|An instinctive understanding of Ayurved, which is also part of his family heritage over many generations, has lead to successful forays into the therapeutic effects of music. These therapeutic music sessions are conducted in schools, health care centres, universities, and yoga schools, institutions for the disabled and in the private sector. For people seeking relaxation and relief from stress related problems, the demand for this type of therapeutic activity together with Dr. Chandrakant's insightful guidance has increased considerably, particularly in Australia , America and Japan.|
In India and all over the world, Chandrakant has dedicated himself to the propagation of traditional Indian medical science, art and culture. He is an executive trustee of the Bharatiya Sanskriti Darshan Trust, Pune, India and director of its Sama Sangeet Sabha and Research Centre (department of music), founded by his father Sardeshmukh Maharaj in 1954. He founded the Darshanam organization internationally for the promotion of Bharatiya Sanskriti in the world.
|He has released many CDs and dedicated each of these to people and personalities who influenced his upbringing and career in music. His first CD Pure Joy is dedicated to his father and spiritual guru Sardeshmukh Maharaj, Celebration is dedicated to Pandit Ravishankar on his 80th birthday, and Inspiration - The Golden Years is dedicated to Guru Ma Annapurandevi and Mama Ali Akbar Khan Sahib on his 80th birthday. Devotion is dedicated to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi on his 80th birthday and Hanabi (Fireworks) is dedicated to his audiences and fans, who have followed him throughout the world since 1961 . His works with Japanese musicians playing shamisen, koto , harmonica, and p iano are also distributed in CD/DVD form.|
|His CDs have been highly praised by sitar aficionados and music lovers everywhere while audiences that appreciate traditional Indian music always look forward to his forthcoming concerts eagerly.|
|During the boom of the web site MP3.com from 1998-2000 his compositions topped the charts in their string and world music section. These CDs were sold all over the world to the younger generation along with thousands of downloads of his compositions. He has also recorded the CD Healing Chants with his own compositions of traditional Sanskrit prayers which were one of the most popular albums on this web site.|
For Chandrakant, whether performing, teaching or composing, the music he loves, that began centuries ago in pure worship, still has connotations as sacred, free and joyous.