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PROFILE of

Dr. SURENDRA SHANKER AWASTHI
If Indian Classical Music is a fascinating treasure, Dr. Surendra Shanker
Awasthi was its committed explorer. Disciple of celebrated Ustad Amir Khan, one
of the purest exponent of Classical Khayal singing of this century, Dr. Awasthi
furthered the style of creating melody that gradually unfolded the Ragas of
Indian Classical Music. More than 65 years of dedicated Riyaz (practice) enabled
Dr. Awasthi to reach the heights, which were unknown to the Indian Classical
Music. His demise on January 31, 2007 in Lucknow following a brain hemorrhage
closed a golden chapter in Indian Classical music.

Dr. Awasthi, 78, had garnished individualistic style of singing, which used to
be a treat for the connoisseur, who preferred easy listening. His possession of
rare compositions of the bygone days of Hindustani repertoire imparted the
master's touch to Dr. Awasthi's performances.

Established as a Khayal virtuoso, Dr. Awasthi earned high acclaim for his
concerts before an invited audience in RADIO CEYLON, Sri Lanka. His performances
in Colombo, Horana and Candy between 1977 and 1989 set a tradition in Sri Lanka,
a country which was alien to Indian Music. Former Sri Lankan President
Ranasinghe Premadasa had ivited Dr Awasthi in January 1993 to setup a university
of Indian Classical Music in Colombo. The work however could not take off
following his assassination in May the same year.

Dr Awasthi’s performances won acclaim in many places in U.S.A. particularly his
more than 50 concerts in Chicago, Los Angles, San Francisco, Cobb Mont, Iowa and
Fairfield during his one and a half years stint as a visiting professor of
Indian Classical music in 1992-93. He trained over 500 American students in
Indian Classical Music during his stay there.

A "Top Grade" Artist of the All India Radio and Doordarshan, Dr. Awasthi
performed in the National Programs (national broadcasts) in 1988 and 1989
besides the Sunday morning national hookup program in 1975. His performances in
the Lucknow Festival on three occasions and in National Music conferences in
Assam had become landmarks of sorts. With each performance, Dr. Awasthi made a
statement of his own.

The highly regarded performing artist was also a Musicologist and an
administrator of repute. Author of more than 30 published research papers, Dr.
Awasthi's doctorate of Music on thesis entitled: "A CRITIQUE OF HINDUSTANI MUSIC
AND MUSIC EDUCATION", published in 1967, is a valuable reference book for
students of Music even today. His research on VOICE CULTURE in the Hindustani
vocal Music is a standing example of the ocean of knowledge Dr. Awasthi
possessed.

Dr. Awasthi taught Music for more than 60 years. He devoted the 20 years of his
prime life to the Bhatkhande College of Hindustani Music, Lucknow. Starting his
career as the secretary and director of College of Music and Fine Arts, Kanpur,
in 1950, Dr. Awasthi took over as the Head of Department of Music at the
Government Training College for Teachers, Jalandhar (Punjab) in 1955.
Subsequently, he joined in the similar capacity in the College of Education,
Kurukshetra University (Haryana) and later the Government Women's College,
Rohtak (Haryana). He took over as the Principal of the Bhatkhande College of
Hindustani Music, Lucknow in 1970 from where he retired in 1989. In an interim
one year period in 1979, he worked as the first Professor and Head of the
Department of Music and Fine Arts at the University of Allahabad. One of the
major achievements of his 20 years tenure as the head of one of premier music
institutions of the country is opening of two more branches of the college - in
Dehradun and Almora - apart from laying the foundation for a deemed university
status to the college.

For his outstanding contributions in the field of Music, the Uttar Pradesh
Government awarded him three extensions in service after his retirement. Former
U.P. chief minister late Shri Bir Bahadur Singh conferred a special state award
on Dr. Awasthi in a public function in 1988. Besides Dr. Awasthi was a recipient
of the U.P. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award of 1987 and Akarshan Award of 1988. Dr.
Awasthi was also a member of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi. He was a member
of the Central Audition Board (MAB) of the AIR. He has also been a member of the
Local Audition Board of the AIR since 1958.

Dr Ram Manohar Lohia University, Faizabad awarded him an honorary Doctor of
Letters (D. Lit.) degree in a public function in 1995. Chancellor-Governor His
Excellency Shri Motilal Vora awarded him this honorary degree.
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