The Harmonius Journey of a Musical Family
The Harmonius Journey of a Musical Family
Anurag Harsh - The Son Who Resounded Carnegie
Asha Kaul - A child prodigy, at the age of 5 she began her musical quest from her home in Kashmir. Endowed with a sweet, mellow voice and the gift of imagination, she evolved a style much her own. Besides being a gifted singer, she was also a versatile Stage and Drama Artiste. She represented the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir in the 9th Inter University Youth Festival.
Birendra K. Sinha - An ardent music lover and a good singer, he especially loved Mukesh's songs. He was in a Indian Institute of Technology, Madras delegation to Srinagar, Kashmir.
They met and thus began their harmonius journey. In due course Anurag was born in this musical family.
Birendra and Asha did many programs in their early years together, especially of Mukesh-Lata songs. They were both instrumental in growing Anurag in music.
Ashaji has since composed innumerable songs, classical khayals and ghazals of her own and has rendered tunes to the lyrics and shayri of some of India's great poets. An artiste of outstanding versatility and range, Shrimati Asha Kaul is the recipient of the prestigious Begum Akhtar Award, India's highest national award given for Ghazal singing. She has been cultural ambassador and organized and conducted programs for dignitories including several heads of state. She performs Hindustani classical music with equal dexterity and as captivatingly as Ghazals, Bhajans and Geets.
Birendraji worked for Tata Steel throughout, rising to be the head of Industrial Relations and Personnel and finally retiring as CEO of Tata Rings and Tata Agrico. His love for music endures and his favorite songs are Mukesh's "Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar main Geet sunata jaaoon","Hum Aaj Kahin dil kho baithe" & "toote na dil toote na toote na, saath hamara chhoote na chhoote na".
Anurag Harsh - Anurag was born in the beautiful valley of Kashmir and grew up in "Steel-City", Jamshedpur. At the age of 4 he gave his first 45 min solo recital and then became a regular performer for All India Radio. Under the deep influence and tutelage of his great Gurus, Bharat Ratna - Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Gwalior Maestro - Pandit Chandrakant Apte, Anurag grew rapidly as a musician. At the age of 17, he became Sangeet Alankar (Master of arts in Music). Anurag moved to London on a British Council scholarship and graduated top of his class with a BSc Honors in Computer Science from the University of Sheffield. While a student he worked as a radio broadcaster for the BBC covering current affairs, science and arts inside UK. It was during this period that he was invited to perform at the Nehru Center and the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Shortly after, Anurag moved to the United States. He went on to graduate on an Alfred Sloan Fellowship with MS and MBA qualifications from the Wharton School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He found his desired match and married Malvika, who was training to be a dentist. Malvika has since started her own practice in Dentistry and they have become the proud parents of 2 young boys Agustya and Vigyan. It is no surprise that they are both musically inclined.In 2010 Anurag received the Outstanding 50 Asian-Americans in business award. Today, he is known as a founding executive of the the world's largest technology and gaming publisher, digital media company Ziff Davis. As a musician, Anurag achieved landmark recognition in 2007, by performing for a captivated audience at a sold-out concert in New York's Carnegie Hall. Anurag kept performing at other centers, and innovating, thinking of new ways to present Indian classical music to audiences worldwide. In this process, he met another young prodigy Utsav Lal who plays Indian Classical on a piano. Thus was planted the seed for an even bigger concert at Carnegie and a long term musical association.
After retirement from the Tata Companies, Birendra Ji had taken up a Professor of Management position at XLRI Jamshedpur. Later he also had opportunities to teach at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management.However, Birendra Ji's health started deteriorating. He had to stop working as his Parkinsons became advanced and he was also diagnosed with Stage 4 bladder and prostate cancer. His motor functions have now become severely challenged and movements very slow. Even with such difficulties, Birendra Ji has been writing a book on Human Resource Development. He has lost his speech completely but can still sing his favorite songs without stumbling, which is miraculous. "Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar main Geet sunata jaaoon" , "Hum Aaj Kahin dil kho baithe" & "toote na dil toote na toote na, saath hamara chhoote na chhoote na".
Anurag's planned concert at Carnegie with Utsav Lal was to be a dedication and prayer for his dad, Birendra Ji. The concept itself attracted wide and popular attention of the media and audiences. Much before the concert date, all the tickets were sold out. On April 4, 2015 at 8 p.m., Carnegie Hall was jam-packed and brimming with excitement. Anurag accepted the warm and thunderous applause graciously.
As everything quieted down, he looked up to his left. Sitting in the balcony, looking down lovingly and appreciatively at their son were Ashaji and Birendra Ji. Anurag said that he would be starting with Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj from Baiju Bawra, with the hope that there would be a similar miracle for his dad as in the movie for Guru Haridas. In that instant the entire audience was praying along with Anurag. The soulful rendering in Raag Malkauns that followed was very much a prayer that could appeal to the Gods.
The entire concert, every point in it, was blissfully received and deeply cherished by the audience; which was not only the people in the hall but about 31,000 others who were watching live streaming of the show. It was the first time ever that an Indian music concert was being streamed live from the Carnegie Hall. The post reviews on the following days have been almost poetic in praise. One could easily see it as a milestone event in the harmonius journey of a musical family. But it was also the precursor of what is to come, a beautiful continuation. In the near term, another concert in October, 2015 at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts beckons.
Knowing Anurag and his commitment to musical innovation and towards creating more performers and followers for Hindustani classical music, what else could make his music lover parents more content and fans more eager.
To watch a high quality recording of the concert - www.carnegieconcert.com
More about Anurag Harsh - Anurag Harsh
More about Smt. Asha Kaul http://www.ashakaul.com
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