Shivnath Mishra

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Shivnath Mishra
Pt. Shivnath Mishra.jpg
Shivnath Mishra at his academy in 2007
Background information
Born (1943-10-12) 12 October 1943 (age 73)
Benares, United Provinces, British India
Genres Indian classical music
Occupation(s) Composer, Sitarist
Instruments Sitar
Labels T-Series, Soundings of the Planet
Associated acts Ravi Shankar, Fazal Qureshi, Deobrat Mishra, Prashant Mishra
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Sitar, vocals

Pandit Shivnath Mishra (born 12 October 1943) is an Indian sitarist and composer. He is an exponent of the Benares Gharana school of Hindustani classical music. He was formerly a lecturer and the Head of the Music Department at the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi.[1] A 2011 ITV documentary described Pandit Shivnath, along with his son Deobrat, as 'household names on the Indian music scene'.[2]

Early life[edit]

Shivnath Mishra was born in 1943 in Benares, United Provinces, British India into a family of professional musicians stretching back to the 15th century. He began receiving his initial training in vocal music at the age of five from his father Badar Prasad Mishra and uncle Pandit Mahadev Prasad Mishra. At the age of eight, he started learning the sitar. As a youth he played with Ravi Shankar and turned down the opportunity to study with him.

Musical career[edit]

Pt. Shivnath and Deobrat Mishra performing at a charity event for victims of 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in Varanasi on 20 January 2009

In 1967, Mishra won the prestigious All India Radio competition held at Allahabad.[3] This was followed by a gold medal at the All India Music Conference in Calcutta in 1967.[3] Mr. Mishra has played at several prestigious music festivals including Sangeet Natak Academy in 1993. He has played many times in Ganga Mahotsav Cultural Program organized by the government of Uttar Pradesh. He has played Sitar with great Master Padmabhushan Late Pt. Samta Prasad, Padmashri Pt.Kishan Maharaj, Late Pt. Nanhku Maharaj, Pt.Lachhu Maharaj (Tabla Players) and also Sarod player Aashish Khan. He is a prominent 'A' class Artist in All India Radio and TV. He has shown his art in many Indian movies also. Mr. Mishra has played Sitar in the Condolence Meeting of Late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, held at the Indian Embassy in Bonn, Germany at the occasion of assassination of Mrs. Gandhi.[4]

Shivnath Mishra, his son Deobrat, and various other members of the Mishra-Maharaj family were featured in the 2011 British ITV1 documentary A Passage Through India, narrated by Caroline Quentin.[2]

Mishra has toured extensively internationally including to Italy,[5] Germany[6] and the United States.[1]

Academy Of Indian Classical Music[edit]

Academy of Indian Classical Music building in Varanasi

Mishra, along with his son Deobrat Mishra, has started the Academy Of Indian Classical Music as a part of their Benaras Gharana Project to make classical Indian music accessible.[7] The Academy aims to:[7]

  1. Establish a school for the teaching of Indian Classical music in the traditional Benaras Gharana style;
  2. Provide scholarships to children to assist them in their learning of this musical style;
  3. Create opportunities for students and young artists to develop their potential through study and performance;
  4. Provide right livelihood for qualified and dedicated teachers.

The academy is notable for admitting non-Indian musicians including those from Europe and the United States.


  • Sound of Sitar
  • Soul of Sitar
  • Sitar Jugalbandi: Live in Milan
  • Raag Desh: Monsoon Raga (2002)
  • Joy (2003)
  • Raga Cycle (2004)
  • Rare Instruments: Surbahar - Pandit Shivnath & Deobrat Mihsra (ASA Music)

Activism through music[edit]

Mr. Mishra is known for supporting social movements through his music. He has organized several charity events to support social organizations. In January 2009 he organized a concert at his own academy in Varanasi as a tribute to the victims of 2008 Mumbai attacks. On 12 June 2012 Mr. Mishra organized another huge event to support Ganga Seva Abhiyanam’s fight to protect the purity and sanctity of the river Ganges. The event was organized at Shankaracharya ghat, Varanasi where 108 Sitar players played Raga Des along with 43 Tabla players which marked the end of 151 days of save Ganga campaign.[8]


External links[edit]