Pandit Venkatesh Kumar

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About Pandit M. Venkatesh Kumar is an Indian Hindustani classical vocalist
Description Pandit M. Venkatesh Kumar is an Indian Hindustani classical vocalist.[1][2] He is Born in Lakshmipura in the Dharwad region of northern Karnataka. He is renowned for his husk, vibrant classical singing style, He is also popular in singing Dasara Padas & Devotional songs

Venkatesh Kumar's father was a folk singer and could not afford formal talim for Kumar. In 1968, when he was 12, Kumar was taken by his uncle to the Veereshwara Punyashrama in Gadag (central Karnataka), run by Puttaraja Gawai, the religious saint and Hindustani musician. Kumar lived and learned at the ashram for the next 11 years

Kumar learnt Hindustani vocal in the Gwalior and Kirana gharana styles under Gawai. Kumar blends these styles effortlessly in his presentations, though he admits to influences beyond these gharanas, chief among them being Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana. His guru was also trained in Carnatic music, and as a result, there are traces of Carnatic elements – especially in his sargam patterns – in Pandit Kumar’s music

Kumar got his first break in 1993, 14 years after he left the ashram. He received a telegram-invitation from the great Pandit Bhimsen Joshi to perform at the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune that year. He had established a significant local reputation by then, but the performance in Sawai was the first step towards national exposure. However, he had to wait for almost another ten years before he became a regular on the national festival circuit. Since then he has featured in many National musical programs, and has been an "A" grade Artist of All India Radio since 1988
In 2002, when the government of Maharashtra was conferring the Maharashtra Bhushan award to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Joshi was asked whom he would like to hear on the occasion. His first choice was Ustad Rashid Khan, but when he was told that Khan was unavailable, he did not hesitate to name Pt Kumar as his choice.
Prof. Venkateshkumar is gifted with a mellifluous, robust and vibrant voice, rich in tradition and deep in devotion. His vast experience and deep-rooted commitment has made him a name to reckon with. He has performed at all major music festivals in India and abroad.

In devotional music, Pt Kumar was most acclaimed for his Kannada vachana and dasara pada Singing, Popular ones include "smarane saalade" of Nada Varshini Album. He also has multiple Devotional and Classical CD album to his credit.

Pandit Kumar holds a teaching job at the University College of Music, Dharwad. This commitment regularly forces him turn down concerts, but he refuses to quit the job that offered him stability at a time when concerts were hard to come by. Every morning, the maestro can be seen on his journey from his home to the campus, a journey he still makes on his scooter. He also received a post graduate degree in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.
He has authored the text book of Music prescribed for the Examination conducted by the Govt. of Karnataka. At present Sri Venkateshkumar is serving as a faculty member at Music College, Dharwad University and teaches Music to degree classes.
Currently, he teaches music at the Karnatak College of Music, Dharwad

He is the recipient of several titles such as 1. Swarashree 2. Sangeet Sudhakara 2. Sangeeta Ratna 3. Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1999) 3. Karnataka Sangeet Natya Academy Award (2007) 4. Vatsalathal Bhimsen Joshi Award 2008 5. Krishna Hangal Award (2009) [3] [4]
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