New Delhi: Santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma passed away in Mumbai on Tuesday, May 10. He was 84.
Sharma had been suffering from kidney-related issues for the last six months and was on dialysis. The immediate cause of his death was cardiac arrest.
Sharma hailed from Jammu and was one of the foremost exponents of the santoor. He is often credited with popularising the instrument globally. Sharma’s singular efforts and skills are believed to have charted the path into Hindustani classical music for what was earlier considered a traditional and folk instrument.
Sharma was also a noted composer of music and along with flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, wrote for several Hindi films.
He was known for infusing his concerts with enthusiasm, often calling on his audiences to collectively immerse themselves in music.
Sharma was trained by his own father, vocalist and tabla and pakhavaj player Uma Dutt Sharma, who also introduced him to the santoor. He trained in vocal classical music and in the tabla as a teenager.
He received the Padma Shri in 1991, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
He is survived by his wife Manorama and sons Rahul, also a santoor player, and Rohit.
The main Santoor string is broken. RIP Pt. Shivkumar Sharma. Condolences to Shri Rahul Sharma & Family pic.twitter.com/SvT9QHvQEC
— Harshil Jadav (@harshil_jadav) May 10, 2022
Several public office holders and others have tweeted condolences, noting the irreplaceable loss to north Indian classical music.
Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan said Pt Shivkumar Sharma’s death was a personal loss for him.
“The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of Santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it’s a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti,” Amjad Ali Khan wrote in a tweet.
The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of Santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it’s a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/GcLSF0lSh2
— Amjad Ali Khan (@AAKSarod) May 10, 2022
Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas and veteran actor Shabana Azmi also condoled Shivkumar Sharma’s death.
“We have lost a gem today Padma Vibhushan Shri Shiv Kumar Sharma ji Santoor virtuoso a big loss to the Indian classical music,” Pankaj Udhas wrote on Twitter.
“Deeply saddened to hear that maestro Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma has passed away. His mellifluous music will remain in our hearts ofcourse but tinged by the pain of his loss. My deepest condolences to the family,” tweeted Shabana Azmi.
Music composer and singer Salim Merchant remembered Shivkumar Sharma as one of the “greatest musicians of our times”.