Born in Bombay in 1921, Vishnu Govind Jog received his early training from S C Athavale and Ganpat Rao Purohit. Subsequently, he was groomed by renowned musicians Visweswar Shastry and S C Ratanjankar and for a short time, from the celebrated Baba Allauddin Khan. To Pandit Jog goes the credit of single-handedly transforming a western musical instrument, the violin, into a major and independent instrument in Hindustani Classical Music. Although the European instrument had long been championed in the related but disparate South Indian tradition, violin had found little favour or appreciation amongst musicians and rasikas in the north of the subcontinent. Pandit Jog ushered in a new era of musical appreciation of Hindustani- style violin and was unquestionably the `Violin Samrat` for all time to come.
Groomed in the Gwalior, Agra and Bakhle gharanas, Pandit Jog blended the three styles into a unified stream, resulting in a refreshing blend of gayaki-ang and tantrakari-ang that was both erudite and classical yet romantic and evocative. His virtuosity, mastery of ragas and an uncanny realization of space and time in the construction and knowledge of rhythm were his hallmarks.
When he was 16, he met a man in Lucknow who went on to transform not only his life but Hindustani music and, through his musical ambassadors, the appreciation of that music worldwide. The man was the formidable gifted Allauddin Khan. A few years later, Allauddin Khan agreed to perform a jugalbandi with the young Jog and was so impressed with his music that he gifted to him his own violin.
Pandit Jog performed in all the major concert stages of the world. The Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the Madison Square Garden of New York were the venues of his scintillating performances. An unassuming person of infinite charm, he was also considered an incomparable accompanist. The list of legendary musicians who eagerly sought his accompaniment includes names like Faiyaz Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali, Omkar Nath Thakur, Amir Khan and Kesarbai Kerkar.
In recognition of his contribution to Hindustani Classical Music, he had innumerable awards and honours conferred on him. Chief among these were the Padma Bhushan (1982), the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (1981), and the ITC award.
Pandit Jog was associated with All India Radio (AIR), Kolkata and was also a distinguished Member of the Experts Committee of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy.
Pandit Jog, died in Kolkata on January 31, 2004 after a prolonged illness.