Kumar Bose

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kumar Bose
Kumar Bose July 2007.jpg
Background information
Born (1953-04-04) 4 April 1953 (age 67)
OriginKolkata, West Bengal, India
GenresHindustani classical music
Occupation(s)classical musician, composer

Pandit Kumar Bose (Bangla পন্ডিত কুমার বোস), born 4 April 1953, is an Indian tabla maestro and composer of Indian classical music.[1] Bose belongs to the Benaras Gharana style of tabla playing. Having honed his skills under the tutelage of the legendary Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Pandit Bose rose to prominence with his flamboyant performances with Pandit Ravi Shankar. In addition to his musical abilities, Bose is also an awarded sportsman, a carrom champion, and fluently speaks four languages.[citation needed] In a career spanning more than four decades, Pandit Kumar Bose has established himself as one of the leading exponents of the tabla and an internationally recognised face in the world of Indian Classical Music. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2007.


Bose was born in Kolkata in a musical family. His father, Pt Biswanath Bose, a distinguished tabla player, taught him his first lessons in rhythm.

His mother Vidushi Bharati Bose was an eminent sitarist and disciple of the great Ustad Dabir Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan[2] Bharati received several awards in her career, including recognition as an All India Radio Artist and the President's Award for Best Sitar Performance in 1956. She guided her son with the basic forms of classical music and helped him to groom himself into professional tabla player.

His brothers also are noted musicians, who keep a traditional, thorough and vigorous training regime. His brother Acharya Jayanta Bose is an internationally reputed composer, lyrist, harmonium soloist and singer, while his brother Pt Debojyoti Bose is a noted sarod player and music director.

Music career[edit]

Bose's first teacher was his father. After his father's untimely death,[3] he was taught by Pandit Kishan Maharaj (1923–2008), a highly respected musician.

Bose has been applauded for evolving a distinctive style of his own without diluting the purity of tradition.[citation needed] Bose has elevated the tabla as a musical instrument in its own right, both through solo performances as a main artist and through his accompaniment of others. Bose has been devoted to the classic tabla for 35 years without interruption and is considered one of the most powerful players alive.[citation needed]


A master percussionist, Bose plays several other drums besides the tabla which include the sri-khole, the pakhwaj, the dholak, the nal, and the banga-kanga. However, it is the unusual way that he plays the bnaya that has brought him attention. He plays the bass drum-like instrument with his right hand, although he plays the tabla with his left. Though he is right-handed, he picked up this practice by sitting across from and mirroring his father from early childhood.


Bose gave his first public performance at the age of 4. By 14, he performed abroad and has played at almost every major music halls in the world since. He has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican Centre in London, the Kremlin in Moscow, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York, and at various venues throughout India. He also has the distinction of having performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles as an accompanist to Pandit Ravi Shankar. In addition to that, Pandit Kumar Bose performed at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada in 2019 for the Raag-Mala Music Society of Toronto.[4]

He has the rare distinction of highly acclaimed performances with Zubin Mehta's Philharmonic Orchestra and participation in several symphony orchestras conducted by Ravi Shankar, Yehudi Menuhin, and Arnovich in England, Italy, China, Russia and the United States.


In addition to a 10-year exclusive tour as the tabla accompanist to Ravi Shankar from 1984 to 1994, he has performed and composed with musicians globally. Over the past 40 years, he has also performed and recorded in duets with his guru. From the Benaras Gharana, he has played with Girija Devi, Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Kanthe Maharaj, and Kishan Maharaj.

While he has collaborated with leaders in jazz, pop and rock, it was his duet with Iranian thumba player Professor Semurani that drew praise. Bose's collaborations have given an international reputation as a great musician.


Of the six established tabla gharanas or schools of tabla playing, the Benares Gharana, of which Bose belongs, has been the most staunch in its refusal to compromise the traditions when moving into more lucrative contemporary fusions. While criticised decades ago for his rigidity and refusal to adapt modern fusion and film music, Bose is now credited with preserving classical musical style and philosophy. He has kept the tradition of the Benares Gharana by subtly balancing the warm bass tones of the bayan with the higher-pitched crisp tones and syncopations of the dayan. Many of Bose's compositions have been written to accompany the rhythmical movements of kathak dancers and are a speciality of the Benares tradition.

Bose currently conducts private lessons in the style of his mentors. He conducts classes daily with students from age 3 to 35 at his home in North Calcutta. He is known for maintaining high standards for his students, emphasising the importance of devoted practice and other aspects of the tradition. His high-profile students also include the Mumbai-based tabla player Shyama Prasad Das, and Ujjwal Bharati in Kolkata.


Bose has produced or performed on over 200 recordings in several genres, while staying true to his classical Indian lineage. The first live international recording of his solo Virtuosity was released through the Darbar festival 2006 in London. The album includes some rare gems from the archives of the Benares repertoire, including the compositions of Ram Sahai, who founded the gharana at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Toward the end of the album, Bose demonstrates one of his specialities: playing a variety of cross rhythms on the dayan with his right hand while simultaneously holding down a fast repetitive beat on the bnaya with his left hand. The Times reviewed the performance, declaring him "the best tabla player in the world today."[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kumar Bose is married to Kaberi Bose, a classical singer and they have a daughter Trisha Bose, a vocalist.


  • Received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2007 in recognition of his achievements in, and contributions to music.[5]
  • His duet with Semurani received acclaim at the 1974 International Seminar of Music in the Netherlands.[citation needed]
  • At the India Festival inMoscow in 1988, he received distinguished honours while playing with a philharmonic orchestra.
  • He was the assistant music director of Mrinal Sen's film Genesis. (He assisted music director Shankar, on whose albums his music is often featured.)
  • The prestigious Dinanath Mangeshkar Award in 2012.


  • Drums of India -Tabla Solo HMV STCS 850792
  • Ustad Vilayet Khan HMV STCS O4B 7265
  • SMRITI – Pt. Ravi Shankar HMV CHIX 1026
  • Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt HMV STCS 02B 6279
  • Enchanting Folk Melodies on Instrumental Trio HMV HTCS 02B 2708
  • SITAR VADAN- Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. Vol -I VENUS VCBG – 015
  • SITAR VADAN – Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. Vol-II VENUS VCBG – 016
  • AFTAAB-E-SITAR-Ustad Vilayet Khan EMI STCS 04B 7208
  • SPIRIT OF FREEDOM CONCERT – Pandit Ravi Shankar
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar Music Today
  • The Golden Trio HMV
  • Pandit V. G. Jog – Violin Recital
  • Vishwa Mohan Bhatt Concord Records 05-16

CDs released are

  • Raga Ragini – Indian Quintet Chhanda Dhara SP 84188
  • Genesis Milan CDCH 287 RC690
  • Spirit of India Chhanda Dhara SP 83688
  • Ravi Shankar Inside the Kremlin BMG Records
  • Nishat Khan EMI CD PSLP 5441
  • Unique Ravi Shankar Chhanda Dhara SNCD 70991
  • Brilliancy and Oldest Tradition – KISHEN MAHARAJ AND KUMAR BOSE Chhanda Dhara SNCD 70493
  • Golden Jubilee Concert – Pt. Ravi Shankar Chhanda Dhara SNCD 70390
  • Sublime Sounds of Sitar Oriental Records CD 116
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar OCORA @558674 HM90
  • Darbar Music Festival – 2006 Darbar Music

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080807/jsp/calcutta/story_9650055.jsp
  2. ^ http://www.telegraphindia.com/1061103/asp/atleisure/story_6951711.asp
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Tabla Maestro Pandit Kumar Bose in Concert". Aga Khan Museum. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  5. ^ http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/fr/2007/03/16/stories/2007031601520200.htm

External links[edit]