Prabha Atre

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Prabha Atre
Prabha atre.jpg
Born (1932-09-13) 13 September 1932 (age 89)
Alma materUniversity of Pune (B.A)
Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Music School (Ph.D)
Years active(1950 - present)
AwardsSangeet Natak Akademi Award (1991)
HonoursPadma Shri (1990)
Padma Bhushan (2002)

Prabha Atre (born 13 September 1932) is an Indian classical vocalist from the Kirana gharana.[1] Dr. Prabha Atre holds the world record to have released 11 books (from a single stage). She released 11 books on music in Hindi and English at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 18 April 2016[2].[citation needed]

Early life and background[edit]

Prabha was born to Abasaheb and Indirabai Atre in Pune. As children, Prabha and her sister, Usha, were interested in music, but neither of them planned to pursue music as a career. When Prabha was eight, Indirabai was not keeping good health, and at a friend's suggestion that classical music lessons would help her feel better, she took a few lessons. Listening to those lessons inspired Prabha to learn classical music.

Her music training was in the Guru-shishya tradition. She learnt classical music from Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar from the Kirana gharana. She acknowledges the influence of two other greats, Amir Khan for khyal and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan for thumri, on her gayaki.

While studying music, Prabha finished college courses in science and law to receive degrees in both of those disciplines. She later also earned a Ph.D. in music. Her doctoral thesis was titled Sargam, and pertained to the use of sol-fa notes (sargam) in Indian classical music.

Academic and musical qualifications[edit]

  • Bachelor of Science, Fergusson College, University of Pune
  • Bachelor of Law, Law College, University of Pune
  • Sangeet Alankar (Master of Music), Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal
  • Doctor of Music — research on sargam
  • Western Music Theory Grade-IV, Trinity College of Music, London
  • Training in North Indian Classical Vocal Music under Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar from Kirana gharana
  • Formal training in Kathak dance style


Prabha Atre had a short stint as a singing stage-actress in the early days of her career.[3]

She also played roles in a line-up of Marathi theatre classics, which included socials and mythologicals like Sanshay-Kallol, Maanaapamaan, Saubhadra and Vidyaharan.

Prabha Atre is currently one of the senior vocalists in the country representing the Kirana Gharana. Her first LP, with Maru Bihag and Kalavati, clearly demonstrates the influence of Amir Khan. She has contributed to popularizing Indian classical vocal music at global level. She is competent in various musical genres such as Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal, geet, Natyasangeet, and bhajans. She has been giving private lessons to students since 1969.[4]


  1. Maru Bihag, Kalavati, Khamaj thumri
  2. Niranjani - Puriya Kalyan, Shankara, Basant
  3. Anant Prabha - Lalit, Bhinna Shadja, Bhairavi thumri
  4. Bageshree, Khamaj thumri
  5. Jogkauns, Todi, thumri
  6. Malkauns, dadra
  7. Chandrakauns
  8. Madhukauns
  9. Madhuvanti, Desi
  10. Yaman, Bhairav
  11. Shyam Kalyan, Bihag, Rageshree thumri
  12. ghazal and bhajan recordings from live concerts from the 1970s


  • Book of compositions Swarangini and Swaranjanee
  • She has also invented new Raags such as Apurva Kalyan, Darbari Kauns, Patdeep-Malhar, Shiv Kali, Tilang-bhairav, Ravi Bhairav, and Madhur-kauns
  • Music compositions adapted to full-length dance programme `Nritya Prabha’ - choreographed by the Bharatanatyam danseuse Sucheta Bhide Chapekar.
  • Music composition adapted for jazz by Susanne Abbuehl from the Netherlands[which?].
  • Music composed for musical-dramas and Sangeetikas.

Music-related activities[edit]

  • Prabha Atre has been teaching music, performing lecture-demonstrations, and writing on the topic of Indian classical music.
  • A former Assistant Producer with the All India Radio.
  • A' Grade — All India Radio Drama Artist (Marathi and Hindi).
  • Main female role in Professional Musical Dramas.(Sangeet Natak and Sangeetika)
  • She has been a visiting professor at a few institutions in the West, including the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. Visiting Professor at the Music conservatory - Montreux Switzerland, Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, Indo-American Fellowship for studying research materials used in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Visiting Professor at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • Appointment as `Special Executive Magistrate' by the Government of Maharashtra in recognition of services to the cause of Music
  • Professor and Head of the Dept. of Music, S.N.D.T. Woman's University, Mumbai.
  • Around 1992, Prabha started an annual Pandit Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar Sangeet Sammelan music festival. The festival takes place annually in December in Mumbai.
  • Chief Music Producer and Director for `Swarashree' Recording Company since 1981
  • Member of the Advisory Panel of the Central Board of Film Censors, Mumbai 1984
  • President 'Gaan Vardhan' - a well-known music organisation, Pune, for the past 22 years.
  • 'Dr. Prabha Atrre Foundation' was registered in May 2000.
  • Prabha established some years ago Swaramayee Gurukul in Pune. This institution amalgamates traditional guru-shishya style of teaching music and contemporary classroom teaching.
  • Dr. Prabha Atre has been concluding Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Festival since 2007 which is considered to be prestigious.
  • Dr. Prabha Atre holds the world record to have released 11 books (from a single stage). Released 11 books on music in Hindi and English at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on 18 April 2016.


From the year 2011 "Swarayoginee Dr. Prabha Atre Rashtriya Shaastreeya Sangeet Puraskar" instituted by Tatyasaheb Natu Trust and Gaanvardhan Pune.


  1. ^ "Pune News, Latest Pune News, Pune News Today and Headlines". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Prabha Atre - Age, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Profession And Much More". Aaj Ke Din. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  3. ^ Khanna, Shailaja (2 June 2017). "'Classical music has to change'". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  4. ^ Nair, Malini. "For seven decades, Prabha Atre has been questioning her stellar musical legacy while upholding it". Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.

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