Dr.Sudhanshu Kulkarni and his son Sarang are on a mission exploring and infusing divinity in harmonium with the ultimate objective of elevating this reed instrument with western origin in use as an accompanying instrument to the level of solo playing. Both have performed solo and jugalbandi as well.
Of late, there is a paradigm shift in Hindustani Instrumental music wherein even folk instruments like Santoor have found place in classical music and recognized for solo performances which would not have been possible without a dedicated and committed approach. What one needs is to infuse divinity, similar to a sculptor who chisels off the unwanted to create beautiful and divine structures that are held in highest reverence. It is characteristically distinct approach to harmonium playing which position Sudhanshu on a different and worthy footing.
A commerce graduate and diploma holder in personal management, Sudhanshu took to music when he was ten years old with initial inspiration coming from a latent musical environment at home. He was identified as a child prodigy mix-way through his training in fundamentals of classical music including vocal and tabla under late Appasaheb Laxman Sakhalkar. Six years later, he went into the tutelage of Pt.Rambhau K.Bijapure one of the noteworthy harmonium maestros of the time and a great ‘guru’ under whose able guidance Sudhanshu’s musical personality was molded.
Having graduated the degree of Sangeet Alankar & Masters degree in Music from Shvaji University, Kolhapur, Sudhanshu is the first in country to obtain Doctorate in Music (Sangeet Pravin) from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, Mumbai in solo harmonium under the guidance of Pt.Narayanrao V.Patwardhan of Vadodra.
He also holds Sangeet Vidwat awarded by Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board besides the title of Surmani conferred upon him in the prestigious Kal-Ke Kalakar Sammelan organised by Sur-Singar Sansad of Mumbai in 1983. Presently, a B-high grade harmonium artist of AIR, has performed in many prestigious music festivals and conferences like Sawai gandharva Punytithi Mahotsav at Kudgol, Swami Haridas Sammelan (Mumbai),Maharshtra Sangeet Sammelan (Goa). He accompanied great stalwarts like Late Dr.Gangubai Hangal in India, Holland, England and India festival in Germany; Pt.Bhimsen Joshi, Late Pt.Kumar Gandharva ,Late Pt.K.G.Ginde, Pt.Prabhakar Karekar, Dr.Prabha Atre, Smt.Malini Rajurkar, Begum Parween Sultana, Smt.Padma Talwalkar, Smt.Veena Sahasrabudhye (International Vocal festival in Sweeden in 1994, U.S.A. and Canada in 1996), Ubhaygaan Vidushi Dr.Shyamala Bhave and a lot of other luminaries of Hindustani music.
His natural inclination to render solo harmonium inspired him to ensure recognition to solo harmonium playing from authoritative institutions like AIR & Doordarshan, connoisseurs and Critics. Despite certain limitations in harmonium, it is easy to play but difficult to render in individual capacity at advance level, but through a dedicated approach and back breaking riyaz under the able taleem from his guru, his creative instinct got shaped into a highly distinguished musical repertoire, so much that he has carved a niche for himself as an eminent harmonium player and stands tall along with other renowned contemporaries. In his sincere urge to reach higher levels of musical excellence and create a new genre of harmonium players, he founded Surel Sanvadini, Sanvardhan and running Academy of Music with present student strength of about 100.
With his fingers highly affectionate to the keys, his harmonics traverse through a gentle repertoire of Kirana Gharana where both musical melody and abstract personification of the spirit of raga finds stately statement in the emergence of true shades of swears and establishment of the raga in its sublime ambience coalescing both the performer as well as the listener towards a meditatively musical experience the ultimate objective of music. Hs fluency in classical music comes through a deep involvement and understanding of both physics and philosophy of raga as well as the instrument when he is with the instrument; the reeds get poetic, statement with a degree of musical sense and his entire faculties cascade into a true musical melody. His experimentation to reduce the bulk of the present conventional harmonium and using diatonic mode is a matter of convenience as it provides versatility
Sarang son of Dr.Sudhanshu Kulkarni is a prominent face of the new generation of classical musicians. Like father, Sarang is a child prodigy and has gained immense knowledge from his father from age of four.
Sarang is masters in Management and holds a degree of Sangeet Visharad from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, Mumbai and presently is perusing M.A. in Harmonium at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. Sarang has won various Government of India scholarships and various awards at this young age.
He has performed solo harmonium programmes at several places like Dadar Matung Cultural Center Mumbai, Dasara Mahotsava Mysore, Pallavotsava Mysore, Das Naik memorial trust, Calicut, Pt. Gururao Deshpande Sangeet Sabha Bangalore, Yuva-Chetana Mahotsav Koppal, Savai Gandharva Punyatithi Mahotsava Kundagol, Akhil Bhatratiya Gandharva Mahvidyalay Mandal conference at Belgaum, Karkal Sangeet Sabha Karkal and in many other cities like Goa, Kolhapur, Thiruvananthapuram, Dharwad, Hubli,Bhairav-Kalyan Utsav, Mangalore etc.
Sarang has also composed music under the genre classical and fusion in the name K.Sarang.
Sarang also plays classical music on keyboard. He is a specialist in quality harmonium manufacturing and tuning and runs his own harmonium- manufacturing unit under the name ‘Sarang Musicals’ in Belgaum and ‘Jayrang Musicals’ House’ in Panaji Goa.
1. You got yourself groomed by Pt.Rambhau Bijapure some experiences with the great master?
Kulkarni –> As a Guru he is the best. Especially his way of teaching is ultimate. He has a tremendous experience in molding the student. He is not merely a guru but a friend, philosopher and guide. He has molded me as per my nature of fingers. I can proudly say that whatever I have achieved so far in Music field is because of him only.
2. Has being in Belgaum helped you in your musical career or do you think otherwise?
Kulkarni –> I could have done a lot more music activities if I had not settled in Belgaum.
3. What are your thoughts on the young generation being taken away with rock and pop?
Kulkarni –> “Duniya Zukati Hai Zukane Wala Chahiye” this is the tendency of young generation. The youngsters are not yet understood the supremacy of our music and culture. I think it’s the globalization effect.
4. Your thoughts on the upcoming talent in Belgaum how can one groom oneself being here.
Kulkarni –> Belgaum has very rich tradition of upcoming talents but there is not a single institution like SRA (Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata). Belgaum talent has very limited scope to make career in music.
5. What is that you wish Belgaum had for music lovers like you?
Kulkarni –> I wish Belgaum had a nice auditorium only for music, dance and drama purpose.
6. Tell us more about your music school.
Kulkarni –> This year is a Silver Jubilee Year of our Institute. Established in 1984 with blessings of Pt.R.K.Bijapure the institute imparts training in gurukul style in various field of music like harmonium, vocal, tabala, Keyboard, Guitar & Vance under the able guidance of Dr.Sudhanshu Kulkarni, Mrs.Rohini Kulkarni, Mr.Sarang Kulkarni, Mr.Dayanand Kamat, Mr.Victor Francis, Miss.Swanandi Kulkarni and Mr.Aditya Paranjape.
The academy trains aspiring artistes for the junior and senior grades, besides the ‘Sangeet Alankar’ (Gandharva Mahavidyalala Mandal, Mumbai equivalent of M.A.) In harmonium, vocal and tabla. The academy also organizes monthly programmes of instruments and vocal besides special programmes on the eve of Krishna Janmashtami, Basant Panchami &guru poornima & lectures & workshops for students on special occasions. The institute has its own auditorium with capacity of 200 people and own sound system. The academy also organizes programmes of various established and upcoming artists.
7. Was Sarang’s entry into music natural or you really wanted him to be one?
Kulkarni –> Yes it was a natural entry.
8. You and Sarang have performed many jugalbandi’s but is there any jugalbandi on a personal level as well, does the generation gap come in between.
Kulkarni –> Generation Gap is playing its role and I appreciate if those are good even though I can’t do it. Hehas a good potentiality in marketing our music (Especially Harmonium solo)
9. You tour so much which is your favorite place and why?
Kulkarni –> Paris, because the Harmonium was founded in Paris and it has very great cultural heritage.
10. Your future plans?
Kulkarni –> My sole and the only motto in life is to promote Harmonium as a Solo instrument that too in our Style (Bijapure Gharana)
11. Some memorable moment or experience when on tour or performing?
Kulkarni –> I have traveled and I still travel with great stalwarts in India and abroad so each and every programme with those artistes is a great experience for me.
12. What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?
Kulkarni –> Belgaum has a rich cultural heritage. Many great stalwarts in music field have a close relation with Belgaum. Rather I would say Belgaum has given many artistes to Music field.
13. What are your thoughts on this website?
Kulkarni –> It’s the only website to take Belgaum artistes to Global platform. My best wishes to AllAboutbelgaum. Cheers
C/o Academy of Music, 150/B, Budhwar Peth Tilakwadi
Belgaum – 590006