Shivkumar Sharma Biography, Career, Albums, Awards


The santoor, previously a folk instrument known only to the people of Kashmir, is now gaining popularity in Indian classical music, thanks to Shivkumar Sharma, a legend in Indian classical music who has made the santoor more prominent in Indian popular culture.

Shivkumar Sharma was born on January 13, 1938 in Jammu. His father, Umar Dutt Sharma, was a musician. When Sharma was only five years old, his father taught him to sing and play. At the age of 13, he was introduced to the santoor, a folk instrument from Kashmir that originated in Persia. At that time, the santoor was still a little-known instrument in Indian classical music. He played the santoor publicly for the first time in Mumbai to great applause from the audience.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma discography | Discogs


Shiv Kumar Sharma is married to Manorama and has two sons, Rahul and Rohit. Rahul Sharma was taught santoor by his father at the age of 13, while Shivkumar Sharma’s father also taught him santoor at the same age. Shivkumar and Rahul Sharma often perform together. Rahul Sharma has become an outstanding santoor player in his own right and has carried on the family tradition.

The World on Santur Strings - Bandra Hum


He began his career playing the santoor with his father and recorded his first album in 1960. Performing at various venues in Mumbai, he raised the profile of the santoor in the Indian classical music community of the time.

Shivkumar Sharma composed the background music for a scene in V. Shantaram’s film Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje.

Through these performances he met some of his longest-lasting collaborators, such as table player Zakir Hussain and flutist Hariprasad Chalasiya, with whom he formed the Shiv-Hari Duo, which became one of the most successful duos in Indian classical music. Their 1967 album, Calling of the Valley, is considered by many to be the best Indian classical music album ever, and has garnered praise from music legends such as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and David Crosby.

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Shiv-Hari composed music for several Bollywood films, mainly Yash Chopra’s films, for which they received more acclaim. The first was Silsila starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. Others include Faasle, Chandni, Lamhe and Darr.

However, he wanted to focus on classical music rather than film music. He believed that Indian classical music was not just a form of entertainment but a spiritual experience.

Shivkumar Sharma continued to actively perform until his death in 2022 at the age of 81.

Santoor Master Pt Shivkumar Sharma passes away

Shivkumar Sharma’s album




Santoor and guitar: Brij Bhushan Kabra


Shivkumar Sharma (re-released in 2005 as “Pandit Shivkumar Sharma’s First LP”


Call of the Valley by Brij Bhushan Kabra and Hariprasad Chaurasia


When Time Stands Still! With Zakir Hussain


Rag Madhuvanti and Rag Misra Tilang with Zakir Hussain


Hypnotic Santur


Master’s Choice, Season 1

Sublime Trance

The glory of strings

Raga Purya Kalyan and Zakir Hussain


Rag Rageshri and Zakir Hussain

Raghu Bhopalli Volume 1

Raghu Kedari Volume 2

Varshā – Homage to the rain god


Soundscape, Mountain Music

Santur Hundred Strings

Pioneer of Santur

Raghu Bilaskani Todhi

Morning Rag Gurjari Todhi



Valley Memories- Finding Peace, Love and Harmony with Hariprasad Chaurasia

Valley Memories- Raga Bhoopali with Hariprasad Chaurasia

Yugal Bandi and Hariprasad Chaurasia


Master’s Choice, Season 2


Rasdhara and Hariprasad Chaurasia


Mumbai Saturday Night – Remembering Shakti with John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain and many other musicians. Composer: Shringar


Ananda Bliss and Zakir Hussain

Zakir Hussain on the passage of time

Sangeet Sartaj


Energetic spiritual music


Sympatico (Charukeshi – Santoor)


The Inner Path (Kirvani – Santoor


Must-hear evening chants with Hariprasad Chaurasia

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Shiv Kumar Sharma Award

1- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986)2- Padma Shri (1991)3- Padma Vibhushan (2001)4- Platinum Award for Call of the Valley5- Platinum Award for Silsila6- Gold Award for Faasle7- Platinum Award for Chandni8- Pandit Chatur Lal Excellence Award (2015)

Check out the profiles of some other Indian classical musicians

Interesting Facts

  • Shivkumar Sharma was very handsome in his youth and through his performances in Mumbai, he established a good connection with Bollywood very early and got film offers. He shared that when he was 22, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas offered him a role in the film Saat Hindustani, but he turned it down as he wanted to focus all his attention on music.
  • Besides their frequent collaboration, he and Hariprasad Chaurasia were very close friends and their friendship lasted for decades till Shivkumar Sharma’s death.
  • Yash Chopra was told by his peers that it would be a risk to have Shiv Hari compose the music for Silsila. But the film’s score was well received and Yash Chopra invited the duo to score several of his other films.

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