2011


Kathak guru Pandita Ramadevi Lachchu Maharaj, widow and assistant of the late guru Lachchu Maharaj of the Lucknow Gharana, died at the age of 86 in Mumbai on 24th December 2011.

Mridangist Adyar Balu (Balakrishnan N V) passed away on the morning of December 13, 2011 at Chennai.

Odissi Guru Bijoy Kumar Senapati passed away at the age of 75 on 8th December 2011.

Legendary singer-composer, filmmaker and writer, Bhupen Hazarika (8 September 1926 – 5 November 2011) passed away in a Mumbai hospital, aged 85. Known as the ‘Bard of the Brahmaputra,’ he served as Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (1999-2004) and helped place Sattriya dance on par with other classical dance forms. He was a trained journalist. Dr. Hazarika produced, directed, composed music and sang for Assamese films. He received the National Award for Best Music Director in 1976 for ‘Chameli Memsaab’ and President's medal for his films ‘Shakuntala’ (1960), ‘Pratidhwani’ (1964) and ‘Lotighoti’ (1967).  He composed the music for several outstanding Bengali films, such as ‘Jiban Trishna,’ ‘Jonakir Alo’ and ‘Chameli Memsaab.’ He received several honors in his illustrious career including Padma Shri (1977), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1993), Padma Bhushan (2001), Asom Ratna (2009). Dr. Hazarika was recognized as the first Indian music director for best music internationally for the film ‘Rudaali’ at the Asia Pacific International Film Festival in Japan in 1993. He has to his credit more than one thousand lyrics and fifteen major books on short stories, essays, travelogues, poems and children’s rhymes. He was a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly from 1967-72. He was also a member of Assam Film Development Council and the Central Board of Film Certification.

The doyen and founder of the Carina Ari Foundations, Professor Bengt Häger, passed away on November 2, 2011 at the age of 95. Bengt Häger worked indefatigably to promote dance as an independent art form and field of research, with its own institutions in Sweden, such as Dansmuseet in Stockholm and the University College of Dance and Circus (formerly the Institute of Choreography), which he founded and led for many years.
Thanks to Bengt Häger’s efforts, Swedish dance has been internationalised, with guest performances by world-leading dance companies and artists he brought to Sweden, and the international tours he organised for Swedish dancers, such as the Cullberg Ballet. Bengt Häger was active to the very end in the three organisations, the Carina Ari Memorial Foundation, the Carina Ari Library and the Carina Ari Foundation.

Mathoor Krishnamurthi, former director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan passed away on October 6, 2011 at Bangalore. He had contributed a lot in building up London's Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kendra. Every dancer from Chennai who went to conduct workshops and teach dance at Bhavan knew him and enjoyed his hospitality. He was a dedicated soul and a great scholar.

Sumitra Charat Ram, who patronized the arts for 64 years, passed away in Delhi on August 8, 2011, aged 97, after a protracted illness. She was married to industrialist Lala Charat Ram of Shriram Group for 68 years. In 1952, she founded Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra to promote, develop and propagate Indian classical and folk music, dance and drama. Great  Kathak masters like Shambhu Maharaj, Sunder Prasad-ji, Amjad Ali Khan's father Hafizali Khan saheb, Dagar brothers,  musician Amarnath-ji and great gurus taught there. Also for many years, Kathak Kendra was housed in their premises. Its associated organisation is the Shriram Centre for Performing Arts at Safdar Hasmi Marg, in the Mandi House area, the cultural hub of Delhi. The centre includes a theater for the performing arts, a theatre repertory company and an acting school. A notable achievement of the Kendra is the revival of Kathak dance. Kathak Kendra was originally established as the Kathak wing of the Shriram Bharitya Kala Kendra in 1955, through the efforts of Nirmala Joshi, the first secretary of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, under the patronage of Sumitra Charat Ram. The Kendra has also contributed to the resuscitation of the Mayurbhanj Chhau style. Noted musicians, singers and dance gurus of the era worked at the Kendra. The Ram Lila performed over 2000 nights both in India and abroad has been one of its major achievements.
The Kendra houses an art gallery at the ground level and its library has a large and rare collection of books, audio and visual recordings and extensive archives. To assist the Kendra in achieving its objectives, the Bharatiya Kala Kendra Trust in 1971 constructed and commissioned Kamani Auditorium, the venue for most of the prestigious cultural performances staged in New Delhi, to provide an appropriate platform for staging of the Kendra's own performances as well as those of other cultural organizations. Sumitra Charat Ram was awarded the Padma Shri by Government of India in 1966. The first 'Sumitra Charat Ram Award for Lifetime Achievement' was given to Pt. Birju Maharaj in February 2011. Her daughter Shobha Deepak Singh is currently looking after the affairs as Director of Sri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Grand-impresario-who-patronized-performing-arts-for-64-yrs-passes-away/articleshow/9535756.cms

French choreographer Roland Petit died on July 10, 2011 aged 87 in Geneva. From Hollywood musicals to a Pink Floyd ballet, Roland Petit's choreography raised the bar – and hemlines – of dance for ever. France’s leading choreographer after World War II, he swept away time-honored ballet taboos and his mix of entertainment and art was seen on the concert stage as well in films. He lived in Switzerland for more than a decade.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2011/jul/11/roland-petit-choreography-ballet

BSS Rao, art critic, patron of classical arts and secretary of Mysore based Sri Lalithakala Academy Foundation, passed away in Mysore on July 4, 2011 at the age of 82.


S Sathyalingam, husband of Bharatanatyam guru Neila Sathyalingam, passed away peacefully on June 20, 2011 at Singapore.
Music pioneer dies, The Straits Times

Asad Ali Khan, the celebrated, legendary Rudra Veena player passed away on June 13, 2011 at AIIIMS hospital in Delhi. He was ailing for some time but we didn’t expect the end would come so soon. He passed away after a heart attack in the hospital.
He was an awardee of Sangeet Natak Akademi and was honoured by President of India with civil honour Padma Bhushan. He was a great musician.
We all are neighbours at Asiad Village in New Delhi - Jatin Das, Asad Ali Khan, Jayarama Rao and Vanashree, Bharati Shivaji, sarangi player Sabri Khan saab, theatre director Mohan Maharishi, Odissi Guru Harekrushna Behara and I. All within one block. A genial soul, he was like a father to all of us. A great supporter of SPIC MACAY movement, his contribution to Indian classical instrumental music is vast. He will be missed a lot.
- Sunil Kothari (New Delhi).

Artist MF Hussain (known as the Picasso of India) passed away in a London hospital at the age of 95 on June 9, 2011.


Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, erudite scholar and the greatest guru responsible for reviving the ancient temple dance forms of Andhra Natyam and Perini, passed away in Hyderabad on June 7, 2011. He was 88.
Obit/tribute

Vanaja Narayanan, an exponent of Bharatanatyam and Carnatic vocal music, passed away on May 19, 2011 at an old age home in Chennai. Vanaja was one of the prime disciples of KN Dhandayuthapani Pillai and a cousin of the famed Madras Sisters, Kamala, Rhadha and Vasanthi.

Bharatanatyam guru Nirmala Ramachandran passed away on February 23, 2011 at Chennai.

Ellen Stewart, founder of La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and a pioneer of live productions made outside Manhattan's Broadway district, died on January 13, 2011. She was 91. She founded La MaMa in 1961. In 1993 she was inducted into the Broadway Theater Hall of Fame - the first Off Off Broadway producer to receive that honor.
Ellen Stewart was a visionary. Long before New York City officially embraced multiculturalism and plurality, she recognized and fostered cross illumination in the arts through her fantastic crucible the LA MAMA THEATRE. She was the cheerleader, the matriarch and the pioneer in accommodating difference in artistic expressions and was one of the early champions of experimental and innovative Asian performance. She was genuine and a true original.

Eminent exponent of Tagore songs Suchitra Mitra ((September 19, 1924 – January 3, 2011) died at her south Kolkata residence after protracted illness, according to her family. She was 86.
Acclaimed as one of the leading exponents and authorities on Rabindra Sangeet, Suchitra Mitra was surrounded by the aura of Rabindranath Tagore and his music from a very early age. Her father, the celebrated litterateur, Saurindra Mohan Mukherjee, was a close associate of the Tagore family of Jorasanko. Suchitra Mitra's natural aptitude in music was recognized by Pankaj Kumar Mullick , who gave her the first lesson in Rabindra Sangeet. Mitra's inherent love and commitment to Tagore's music encourage her to found, Rabitirtha, which today stands out significantly as one of the leading schools of Rabindra Sangeet in the city. She retired in 1984 from Rabindra Bharati as a Professor and the Head of Rabindra Sangeet Department. Suchitra Mitra was honored with the Padma Shri in 1973 by the Government of India and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986.