Biodata

Asit Kumar Banerjee is one of the foremost Rudra-Veena maestros of India. The Rudra Veena, also known as the Bin (Been), is one of the oldest forms of Veena. This instrument evolved from a bamboo stick attached to two gourds. The present form of the Rudra-Veena is the result of the research in intonation by Asit Kumar Banerjee's Guru, Ustad Zia Mahiuddin Dagar Sahib. In order to bring out the full tonal quality and resonance, Ustad Zia Mahiuddin Dagar Sahib had modified the instrument — the neck of his new Veena is a hollow tube of seasoned teak, with a large, intricately carved peacock sound chamber at one end and a dragon's head at the other. To further enhance the deeper sound quality two giant tumbas, specially grown in central India, substituted the standard size gourds.

He started receiving his initial training in classical music at the tender age of six. First he learnt Tabla under the tutelage of V.C. Ambedkar of Benaras Gharana and then from Ustad Amir Hussain Khan of Bombay. He received his training in Surbahar, Sitar, and Rudra-Veena from the illustrious Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar Sahib and also from Ustad Fariuddin Dagar, the renowned exponents of Dagar Gharana, following the traditions of the Gurukula system.

Asit Kumar Banerjee follows the age old contemplative style of playing Rudra-Veena that is meditative and chaste. He has a vast repertoire of ragas and compositions particularly in the Dhrupad Style, the style of the Dagar Gharana. He is an empanelled artist of Indian Council of Cultural Relations (I.C.C.R.) and also of Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (E.Z.C.C.).

He has been instrumental for popularizing the Rudra-Veena through his lecture-demonstrations and special recordings for Radio and Television archives in India and abroad.

He further participated as the Music Director as well as an Actor in a Documentary Film on the Shikh Regiment for Toronto Music Festival. Currently he is rendering the playback music for a documentary on the Ganges by a Japanese group.

He is now the First Chair of the department of Instrumental Music(Vibhag Pramukh of Vidya Sangeet Vibhag) - The Anand Foundation, Punjab. Apart from his recitals and recordings, of late he had been working as the 'Pramukh Acharya' of Tansen Sangeet Vidyapith (Gurukul) at Behat, Gwalior, the birth place of Tansen the legendary exponent of Indian classical Music in the court of emperor Akbar.

He has also groomed a number of students in India and abroad. In 1986 and 1989 he pioneered in special national programmes on Rudra-Veena in TV with five of his students, unique of its kind in India.

He has initiated a Gurukul at Kolkata for the revival and dissemination of the age old tradition of this elevating spiritual music, preserved in India in the Guru-Shishya-Parampara, in all its purity through centuries.

He has been performing in various prestigious festivals in various parts of the country and abroad. The Indian council for Cultural Relation an organization under the auspices of the Ministry of External Affairs, sponsored the visit of three-member Rudra-Veena group led by Asit Kumar Banerjee to France, Trinidad & Tobago, Surinam, Belgium from 19th to 30th December 2003. He took part in the Third World Peace Conference held at Panjali, in 2003 and The Indian Music Festival in Germany(Damsterd, Hanover, Berlin, Hamburg, Wisbaden).

Smt. Arati Banerjee, wife of Asit Kumar Banerjee also had her initial grooming in Rudra-Veena from the illustrious Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar Sahib. Infact she had been the first woman-disciple of Dagar Sahib in Rudra-Veena.She has performed with Asit Kumar Banerjee as duo in many concerts in India.