2013 Student Research Conference:
26th Annual Student Research Conference

Ravi Shankar's Mission: How His Childhood Exposure to the West led to a Unique Diffusion of Indian Classical Music
Thomas Q. Bunting
Prof. Shirley McKamie, Faculty Mentor

In 1956, Indian classical musician and sitar virtuoso, Ravi Shankar, set out on a personal crusade to share the music of India with the world. As a result, the influence of Indian classical music spread into many different musical genres in the West. Shankar's most famous students whose music exhibits this diffusion include jazz saxophonist John Coltrane; American composer Philip Glass; and former member of the Beatles, George Harrison. While these artists represent contrasting genres in the realm of music, there is something similar about their musical journey: their discovery of Ravi Shankar. Equally important are Shankar's childhood exposure to the West and training as a dancer, which allowed him to overcome cultural barriers later in life. A discussion of Shankar's life, plus a close examination of specific musical examples, philosophical and religious preferences, and personal backgrounds of these three musical figures will reveal Shankars far-reaching influence.

Keywords: Indian classical music, Ravi Shankar, John Coltrane, Philip Glass, George Harrison


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 108-5
Location: VH 1324
Time: 9:00

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