Dr. Prabha Atre’s Padma Vibhushan Award this year – the second highest civilian award in India – was long overdue. Although Atre, never caring about awards, always believed that dedication to the art should always be a priority. Atre has helped popularize Indian classical music globally over the past decades. His career, which spans six decades, is marked by achievements gained over many years of dedication.
Prabha Atre, who is now 90 years old, is currently one of the most experienced singers in the country, representing Kirana Gharana. She started her career as a musician in Pune and quickly earned the nickname Gaan Prabha (The Sunrise of Music) among classical music followers. Atre was meant to embrace the world of music. We say destiny because his entry into the world of classical music is fortuitous.
How Prabha Atre made classical music accessible to everyone
Born in 1932 to parents Abasaheb and Indirabai Atre, she began taking piano lessons at the age of eight. In many of conversation Over the years, Atre has always claimed that his entry into the world of Hindustani classical music was a fluke. While her family had no musical experience, music entered her home for the benefit of her mother, who needed a distraction from her medical condition. Once Atre got a taste for music, there was no turning back. Shri Vijay Karandikar, a friend of his father, offered to teach him more. She soon studied under Pandit Sureshbabu Mane, son of Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan and heir to the Kirana Gharana tradition, mastering Raag Madhuwanti and Ka Karu Sajani (Bhairavi Thumri).
Atre, who holds two bachelor’s degrees – one in science and one in legal studies – went on to earn her doctorate in music while still a student, focusing on Sargame and the meaning of the seven notes used in Indian classical music. Apart from music, Atre has also pursued a career in drama, working in Marathi Sangeet Nataks and mythical dramas like saubhadra, Sangeet Sanshay Kallol, Maan Apmanand Vidyaharan.
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His debut album featuring Raag Maru Bihag shows the influence of the Kirana Gharana story. She is proficient in various musical genres including Thumri, Khayal, Ghazal, Dadra, Natya-sangeet and bhajans. In addition to mastering traditional Raagas, she also created several new ones, such as Apurva Kalyan, Darbari Kauns, and Ravi Bhairav.
Atre, who then trained for some time with Maestro Vidushi Heerabai Barodekar, forged her way into classical music and became a guru to so many. She is known for making classical music accessible to everyone, and rightly so. She joined All India Radio as a producer, where she worked for almost a decade, and then became Head of Graduate Studies in Hindustani Music at SNDT Women’s University. The legendary singer has also had formal training in the Kathak dance style. She has also written and published several books and contributed to numerous music-related journals.
Atre has one of the best selling and most listened to recordings of Hindustani music (Raag Maru-Bihag, Kalavati and Khamaj Thumri) to his name, and he is very popular among listeners even today.
Atre, who founded Swaramayee Gurukul in Pune a few years ago, has always strived to combine traditional guru-shishya musical instruction with modern classroom instruction. As a beloved guru and pioneer in several musical fields, she has received several awards including Sangeet Kalidas Samman, Natak Academy Award, and Tagore Academy Ratna Award, to name a few.
Atre has often expressed how his true treasure lies in teaching students and seeing them embrace music wholeheartedly. She believes that audiences are an important part of artists and art, and that this relationship is important for music as a whole. “I wanted to explain the idea behind this system, teach it to students and explain it to the masses. If we want people to enjoy classical music, we have to make it accessible,” she added. said in a conversation earlier this year.
Atre is 90 years old today and his contribution to Hindustani classical music as well as to the country’s art and culture is not only enormous but also legendary.