The wizard of santoor Pandit Shivkumar Sharma passed away today in Mumbai following a heart attack. The 84-year-old, doyen of classical as well as film music who gave santoor an international status died at his Pali Hill residence between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. according to PTI.
The octogenarian artist’s relative told the agency that “he was active and was to perform in Bhopal next week. He was on regular dialysis but was still active.” Sharma is survived by his wife Manorama and sons Rahul, also a santoor player, and Rohit.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Sharma’s death.
Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 10, 2022
Sharma was born in Jammu in 1938. It is believed that he was the first musician to have played Indian classical music on the santoor which is Jammu and Kashmir’s folk instrument.
Working in collaboration with another legendary Hindustani music artist, flautist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, the two as Shiv-Hari composed music for hit films like "Silsila", "Lamhe", "Chandni" and "Darr".
Sarod player, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in his tweet wrote: "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.”
Seasoned actor Shabana Azmi expressing her grief said: "Deeply saddened to hear that maestro Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma has passed away. His mellifluous music will remain in our hearts of course but tinged by the pain of his loss. My deepest condolences to the family.”
Sharma received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.