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Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki ( 21 September 1929 – 7 November 1998) was an Indian vocalist, composer and scholar of Indian classical, semi-classical, and devotional music. While he distinguished himself in Hindustani music, he is also credited for revival of the Marathi musical theatre in the 1960s.
Early life and background:
Abhisheki was born in a priestly Padhye (Karhade Brahmin) family in Mangeshi, Goa. His family was traditionally attached to the Mangueshi Temple of Lord Shiva. His father, Balawantrao aka Bikambhat, was a half-brother and a disciple of Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, and the temple priest and a Kirtankar (performer of Kirtana, a devotional music style). Balawantrao taught Jitendra the basic principles of Hindustani classical music. Abhishek received further training in vocal music from Jagannathbua Purohit and Azmat Hussain Khan of Agra Gharana, and Gulubhai Jasdanwala of Jaipur Gharana. He developed a distinct style of rendering khyal, and was also well known for his renditions of Marathi Natyasangeet and devotional songs.
After receiving a degree in Sanskrit literature, Abhisheki joined All India Radio (AIR) at Mumbai for a brief period, when he came in contact with several musicians and also got an opportunity to display his musical talents by composing several pieces for radio programs. Around this time, he received a scholarship from the Indian Government for advanced training in Hindustani classical music under Azmat Hussain Khan.
He composed vocal as well as background scores for 25 Marathi plays. After receiving a Homi Bhabha fellowship in the late sixties, he taught at a music school run in the USA by sitarist Ravi Shankar. He maintained his ties to his homeland of Goa through his association with the Kala Academy, counseling and guiding students from that state.
Besides son Shounak Abhisheki, Abhisheki's well-known musical disciples include Asha Khadilkar, Devaki Pandit, Shubha Mudgal, Ajit Kadkade, Mahesh Kale, Raja Kale, Prabhakar Karekar and Vijay Koparkar.
Awards and recognitions:
Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1969)
Natyadarpan Award (1978)
Padma Shri (1988)
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1989)
Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar (1990)
Gomantak Marathi Academy Award (1992)
Balgandharva Puraskar (1995)
Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Award (1996)
Master Deenanath Smriti Puraskar (1996)
Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar (1996)
Balgandharva Puraskar (Natyaparishad, 1997)
Puraskar(Kailas Math Nasik, 1997)