Dhruba Ghosh, one of India’s finest sarangi players and its international face, passed away unexpectedly on Monday after suffering a heart attack early on Monday, 7th August 2017, morning in his flat in Juhu. He was 59.
Dhruba Ghosh transformed the traditional classical Sarangi of North India into a multi-dimensional expression. He was known as one of the leading exponents of this beautiful instrument. At the Sarangi festival at Bhopal held in 1989, he was unanimously acclaimed as the revivalist of the Sarangi by the nearly 95 sarangi players who had assembled there.
His brilliance of technique, composition of performance and mastery of Ragas on Sarangi labelled him as one of the masters of this complicated instrument. Dhruba’s creative genius, virtuosic control of this bowed instrument and his innovations within the fabric of the traditional idiom made him the outstanding instrumentalist that he was. He was noted by intellectuals for having furthered the solo status of Sarangi.
The spontaneous power of his playing and artistic calibre can be gauged from the fact that after one of his performances in Mumbai in 1988, the world famous cellist Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich rushed to the stage to hug Dhruba.
Dhruba had inherited the tradition of his masters, his father Late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, the famed percussionist and pedagogue, the renowned sarangi maestro Late Ustad Sagiruddin Khan of the legendary Bundu Khan style of Delhi, the veteran vocalist-composer Late Pandit Dinkar Kaikini, and the Sarod Maestro Late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
Dhruba Ghosh performed at various music venues and respected Festivals in India eg. Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Raipur, Gwalior. In European countries he performed at the Bratislava International Music Festival, Helsinki International Music Festival, Flanders International Music Festival, Baroque Music Festival- Brussels, Silk Route Festival at Athens, Rudolstadt Music Festival, Germany. He worked closely with the Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt. Besides he performed in several organisations in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Denmark, France and UK. He regularly performed in the US and Japan. He also taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music at Liege, Belgium and Rotterdam World Music Conservatory, Holland.
He was at the core of the formation of a World String Orchestra in Japan involving the traditional bowed instruments of Japan, China, Korea, Uzbekistan and India. He successfully collaborated with western classical musicians like Phillipe Pierlot (Viola da Gamba), Jean Paul Dessy (cello), Francois Deppe (cello), Justin Pearson (cello), Yamashita (Jazz - Piano), Traditional instrumentalistslike Ross Daly (Lyra of Greece), Kayhan Kalhor (Kemenche of Iran), Georgi Petrov (Gadulka of Bulgaria)
, Hidetari Honjo (Shamisen of Japan), Khashimojon Ismailov (Gidjak of Uzbekistan), Kang Eun Il (Hegum of Korea). Wu Wei ( Erhu and Sheng of China). Modern World Music artistes like Trilok Gurtu - Germany, Bassist Shri – UK, TASA Group – Toronto, Asian Fantasy Orchestra – Tokyo, classical composerJohn Mayer – London, as well as techno composer Robert Miles – London. Dhruba also worked for many years with Japanese artistes like Saxaphonist Kazutoki Umezu, Violinist Aska Kaneko, pop singer EPO, drummer Kiyohiko Senba,
Dhruba Ghosh made several sarangi recordings in India, Europe and USA. He was a brilliant composer in the classical and light music of India. He had been featured several times in recent years by Radiosof European countries. He split his time between Europe and Mumbai, where he was the principal of the music and dance school of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the Gamdevi locality near Girgaon Chowpatty.