Born in 1937, Pandit Jagdish Prasad was initially groomed under the guidance of his father Pandit Badri Prasad, who was the court musician of the former principality of Raigarh, Madhya Pradesh. He later came under the tutelage of the legendary maestro, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana. Under the tutelage of both these Gurus, he enriched his repertoire in both classical and semi-classical music.
Panditji lived and breathed music. He had a playful sense of humour but was serious about music. He was the embodiment and flag bearer of a great oral tradition including a tremendously broad knowledge of vocal repertoire and styles ranging from khayal to thumri, tappa, dadra, bhajan and even ghazal (although he chose not to present this on the public stage). A mesmerizing singer and a gifted musician, Panditji had tremendous control over both melody (sur) as well as rhythm (laya) and could effortlessly perform both serious khayal and lighter genres of Hindustani music like thumri, dadra and tappa with equal elan. His performances were a relentless pursuit of new musical ideas whilst maintaining the integrity of the raga.
His depth of knowledge of instrumental music was also remarkable. He would often coach up-and-coming (and even professional) tabla players in the art of accompanying a vocal dadra or kaharva right down to the minutiae of a specific theka.
During 1985-86, he taught at the He joined ITC-SRA in 1977 and performed throughout the country and abroad with the ITC-SRA team. He left the Academy in 1984 and later joined Khairagarh University in Madhya Pradesh as a lecturer. He continued to serve the cause of music and performed all over the world.
Panditji was an unaffected personality least concerned about personal gain or fame. He was considered a musicians` musician and appreciated by music lovers alike. He did not care much for his own publicity but was generous with his knowledge and welcomed all that were willing to dedicate themselves to learning. He touched countless hearts with his beauty, mastery and simplicity.
As a `Top` graded artist of All India Radio, he gave many memorable radio and Doordarshan performances. He also had a number of commercial recordings released over his lifetime.
Pandit Jagdish Prasad passed away on July 18, 2011.
(with inputs from Nicholas Buff, Panditji`s student)