He started teaching at the Sangeet Bharathi in Delhi at 13, and received the country's 2nd highest civilian award. We don't deserve it, but he's performing free tonite.
Chowmohalla Palace is organising the Chowmohalla Music Festival from 23rd to 29th December. Eminent artistes like Dr L Subramaniam, Kavita Subramaniam, Pandit Birju Maharaj, the Niazi Brothers of Pakistan, Devi Ramana Murthy, Indira Naik and Ghulam Ali will be performing in this festival.
Today, the 2nd day, Birju Maharaj and his group will be performing a Kathak recital. Born in 1938 into a family of dancers, Birju Maharaj is the torch bearer of the famous family, the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow, which has been serving the art of Kathak dance for centuries together.
Besides being a superb dancer, he is also gifted with a number of other qualities which add to his artistic career. He is a wonderful singer having command over Thumri, Dadra, bhajans and ghazals, and is also superb drummer, playing nearly all drums with ease and precision.
Birju Maharaj was almost a born dancer, having shown keen interest in it since the age of 3. Recognising his talent, he father Acchan Maharaj, a renowned Kathak dancer and a teacher, initiated him into the world of Kathak and taught him the art. After his sudden demise when Birju was only 9, the latter shifted to Mumbai and learnt under his uncle Lacchu Maharaj.
At the age of 13, Maharaj was invited by Sangeet Bharathi in Delhi to teach Kathak. Soon he established himself as a devoted dancer and a dedicated teacher. He has extensively toured all over the world, including to the USSR, the USA, Japan, the UAE, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Burma and Ceylon, for his performances as well as his lecture-demonstrations.
His genius was recognized early, when at the age of 28 years, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award. He is also a recipient of the country's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, besides several other prestigious awards like the Kalidas Samman, the Nritya Choodamani, the Andhra Ratna, the Nritya Vilas, the Adharshila Shikhar Samman, the Soviet Land Nehru Award, the Shiromani Samman and the Rajiv Gandhi Peace Award. He has been conferred upon Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Benaras Hindu University and the Khairagarh University.
The entry to the concert is free, but by invitations only. For invitations, please call 2452-2032.