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SemiFinal, Final, MegaFinal Round Judges

Kala Ramnath - Maestro KALA RAMNATH, the contemporary torch bearer of the Mewati Gharana, stands today amongst the most outstanding instrumental musicians in the North Indian classical genre. Born into a family of prodigious musical talent, which has given Indian music such violin legends as Prof. T.N. KRISHNAN and Dr. N. RAJAM, KALA's genius with the violin manifested itself from childhood. KALA began playing the violin at the tender age of three under the strict tutelage of her grandfather Vidwan. NARAYAN IYER. Simultaneously she received training from her aunt Dr. Smt. N. RAJAM. For fifteen years she put herself under the training of Mewati vocal maestro, Sangeet Martand PANDIT JASRAJ. This has brought a rare vocal emotionalism to her art. Her violin playing is characterized by an immaculate bowing and playing technique brought about by the dexterous use of her fingers, command over all aspects of rhythm, richness and clarity in pitch and tone. All this innate artistry and technical brilliance combined with a rare and exquisite emotional quality are the hallmarks of the style. She has completely revolutionized the technique of playing the violin by taking this instrument so close to vocal music that today her violin is called THE SINGING VIOLIN.

Pritam Bhattacharjee - Pritam Bhattacharjee is a young rising star in the Hindustani music firmament. Having shown an inclination towards music from childhood, Pritam began his initial training under his mother Smut. Monjushree Bhattacharjee at the tender age of three. He was then trained under Shri. Amarendra Chakraborty till the age of 14. In the year 1995, with the Almighty's blessings, Lady Luck smiled upon him and his lifelong ambition of learning under the Mewati Maestro Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasrajji realized when the living legend accepted him as his disciple.

Blessed with a highly cultivated voice, absorbing all the aspects of his Guru's style through vigorous riyaaz under the ever-watchful eyes of his Guru Pandit Jasrajji have made him progress into a very promising upcoming vocalist.

Pritam has also performed solos in many a concerts and festivals in India and abroad. He has traveled extensively and performed with his Guruji all over India and abroad, prominent among them being the Doverlane Music conference in Calcutta, Gunidas Sangeet Samaroha in Delhi, Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Samaroha in Pune, Pandit Motiram Sangeet Samaroha in Hyderabad, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai etc., in India and at the ICCR's 50th anniversary celebrations in South Africa (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg), Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritius and the United States.

Recently Pritam stood first in the competition held for upcoming talents all over India organized by the institution Vedic Heritage in New York. With his Guruji's blessings, Pritam is all set to ably carry forward the rich Mewati tradition and legacy in forthcoming years. Pritam is currently a faculty at the Pt Jasraj School of Music Foundation, Atlanta Chapter.

Prithwiraj Bhattacharjee another young and upcoming artist began his initial training under his guru Dhiranjan Chakraborty at the tender age of seven. In the year 1994 his life long ambition of learning under the tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain came true.

Blessed with highly cultivated fingers, absorbing all the aspects of his guru?s style through vigorous riyaz under the ever watchful eyes of his guru have made him progress into a very promising upcoming tabla player.

Prithwi has performed in many solo concerts and travelled extensively all over India and abroad accompanying many eminent artists of Hindustani Classical Music, to name a few are Pt Jasrajji, Rahul Sharma, Kala Ramnath, Laxmi Shankar etc. With his Guruji?s blessings, Prithwi is all set to ably carry forward the rich Punjab tradition and legacy in forthcoming years.

Currently Prithwi is a faculty at the Pt Jasraj School in Atlanta.

Manjiri Asnare Kelkar is a young and talented Hindustani Classical Vocalist and has inherited the rich tradition of Jaipur Atrauli gharana from Pt. Kanetkar, himself a disciple of Ustad Bhurji Khansaheb. Her pliant, polished and seasoned voice with open Akaar, fine intertwining of Laya and Swara earned her a spontaneous appreciation as "Future Kesarbai Kerkar" from a personage no less than P. L. Deshpande, a revered name in Music and Marathi literature. Manjiri has received wide acclaim for her performances at the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival, Jaipur Samaroha, Tansen Samaroha, Kesarbai Kerkar Smriti Samaroha, ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Sangeet Natak Academy, Harwallab Music Festival, Dover lane Conference - Kolkotta. Recipient of many prestigious awards and scholarships, Manjiri is a 'A' Grade artist of the All India Radio.

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Suyog is one of those promising young harmonium players in India who have achieved a distinct identity at a very young age. A disciple of Smt. Ranjana Godase and Dr. Arawind Thatte, Suyog has been accompanying great stalwarts of Indian Music, like Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Pt. Balasaheb Poochwale, Pt. Yashwantbua Joshi, Smt. Kishori Amonkar, Dr. Prabha Atre, Smt.Vasundhara Komkali, Smt.Malini Rajurkar, Pt. Ulhas kashalkar, Smt.Padma Talwalkar, Smt. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, Ustad Rashid Khan, Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Smt.Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar and many Others. Suyog started his lessons in harmonium at the age of six , from Smt. Ranjana Godase. Since 1997, he is undergoing advanced training in harmonium with the renowned harmonium soloist and accompanist Dr. Arawind Thatte. Also a keen student of vocal music, Suyog has undertaken lessons in Vocal Music from Smt. Lalitabai Khadilkar (Jaipur Gharana) and from Shri. Suhas Datar. Suyog is a graded artist of All India Radio. He has also participated in various prestigious music conferences all over India and abroad, including the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav held every year in Pune. He has been conferred upon the "Rasikagrani Dattopant Deshpande Puraskar" in the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav in year 2000, which is an award given to promising, devoted upcoming artists. Suyog holds a Bachelor's degree in Music from Pune University, from the famous Lalit Kala Kendra-- Centre for Performing Arts. In his college days, Suyog has won various prizes for solo performances. His participation in programs of light music was also greatly appreciated.

Sanjay Deshpande was born on 7th June 1970 in a music loving family. Sanjay was introduced to the art of playing Tabla under Late Pt. P.V.Sabade at Pune Bharat Gayan Samaj. Later he took Taleem from the renowned Tabla player Pt. Suresh Talwalkar of Delhi-Farookabad Gharana, in a Guru Shishya Parampara for 6 years. He also had the privilege of understanding the beauty of Punjab Gharana under the Taleem of world renowned Tabla maestro Ustd. Allarakha. At present he is learning from Shri Yogesh Samsi (Senior disciple of Ustd. Allarakha) and Pt. Vivek Joshi of Delhi-Farookabad Gharana. Sanjay is recipient of the coveted "Ahmedjaan Thirkawaa Scholarship" for Solo Performance. He has accompanied renowned artists like Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Smt. Vasundhara Komkali, Smt. Veena Sahasrabudhe, Smt. Padma Talwalkar, Dr.Alka Deo Marulkar, Smt. Aarti Tikekar, Shri. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Smt. Kalapini Komkali, Smt. Devaki Pandit, Pt. Mukul Shivputra. He has performed in major conferences such as Paluskar Smarak Conference (New Delhi), Shankarlal Festival, I.T.C. Sangeet Sammelan, Dowerlane Conference, Calcutta. Sanjay has performed abroad in countries like U.S.A, U.K, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Holland, UAE, Dhaka. He has also participated in the "World Vocal Festival" Stockholm, Sweden. He has also experimented with the "Fusion" form of music keeping the traditional form of Indian music intact. He has worked with Korean traditional musicians.

Qualification Round Judges

Chaitanya Kunte is a multi-dimensioned personality, who has received a great appreciation as a Harmonium player, composer and scholar. Chaitanya has been undergoing extensive training in Indian classical music, especially for Harmonium under able guidance of his Guru Dr. Arawind Thatte. He has also received guidance from Pt. Mohanrao Karve for Hindustani vocal music.

Chaitanya is one of the leading young artistes having accompanied maestros such as Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Kishori Amonkar, Pt. Dinkar Kaikini, Dr. Prabha Atre, Pt. Ramashrey Jha, Pt. Balasaheb Punchhawale, Pt. Yashwantbuwa Joshi, NrityaPanditaa Rohini Bhate, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Vasundhara Komkali, Pt. Channulal Mishraand leading artistes such as Rajan Sajan Mishra, Ulhas Kashalkar, Rashid Khan, Shruti Sadolikar, Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Padma Talawalkar, Ashwini Bhide - Deshpande, Arati Ankalikar - Tikekar and many others.

His accompaniment is marked with perfection and accuracy, yet it is aesthetically enriching with a deep understanding of the vocalist's style and music in totality. A graded artiste for All India Radio, he has accompanied on Harmonium for several commercial cassette recordings. He has toured in USA (2005), Australia and New Zealand (2005 and 2008) and Dubai (2004) for concerts, where he was appreciated for his accompaniment, solo Harmonium playing and lec-dems.

Anuradha Kuber is a promising vocalist of the young generation and one of the very few performers of the "Bhendi Bazar Gharana" gayaki. Anuradha was initiated into music at the tender age of 6. She has been trained in the gharana gayaki for fifteen years by the veteran musician and Guru Late Pandit T.D. Janorikar. During this training period she learnt all the facets of the gayaki from her Guru. She had the good fortune of being in residence at the Sangeet Research AcademyKolkata with her Guruji which was the highlight of her training phase. Here she had the opportunity to meet other noted Gurus and musicians and share musical thoughts with other students in the Academy, thus adding a different perspective to her musical thought process.

Anuradha is endowed with a rich and melifluous voice which makes her adept at singing both light and classical music with equal ease. Her sweet, seasoned and pliable voice with easy reach in all the three saptaks (octaves) makes her disciplined exposition of the raagas full of aesthetic and emotive content.

Currently she is receiving training from the veteran Harmonium maestro and musicologist Dr Arawind Thatte.

Rajendra Vaishampayan Started learning Tabla at the age of five. About twelve years thereafter, he came in contact with Pandit Manohar Chimote - who improved the harmonium to play solo performances, created his own style of playing and renamed the instrument as 'Samvadini'. The influence of 'Samvadini' and his Guru Pandit Manohar Chimote, inspired him to learn Samvadini. He started taking lessons on technique of Samvadini playing under the tutelage of Panditji at the age of 17.

Rajendra while doing his engineering in computer science, also dove into the intricacies of music in general and specifically Samvadini playing. Having realized the potential and capability of Samvadini as a solo instrument proven by Panditji and his new technique of playing the instrument, Rajendra has been practicing rigorously to master the instrument.

Rajendra's mission is to continue popularizing Samvadini as solo performing instrument, an initiative which his Guru adopted as his life mission.

Chirag Katti, fondly called as 'Sitar Vaadan ka Naya Chirag' (a new star in the field of sitar), or 'The Torch-bearer of musicians family' is one of the most gifted and talented musician whose youthful exuberance and persona is well expressed through his music.

A 'B High' graded artist of A.I.R (All India Radio) and a Diploma holder in music from Mumbai University; Chirag is one of the most promising Sitarist in the field of Indian classical music.

Chirag, born in a family of musicians, has been learning sitar from his father Pt.Shashank Katti for last 18 years. Pt. Shashank Katti, being the senior most disciple of Late Pt.K.T Bhatavdekar (one of the senior most disciples of Ustad Vilayat Khan saheb), has played a major role in moulding young Chirag.

A recipient of the prestigious 'Surmani' award and scholarship holder for Sitar by the Ministry of Culture (New Delhi); Chirag follows the 'Imdadkhani Gharana'. However that does not stop him from being creative with his skills. He plays with the Gayaki Ang (the way a vocalist sings).

At this young age, Chirag has not only won many prizes but has also performed on many television channels, radio and concerts in India and abroad (US, Japan).

Born in the family that is adorned with the rich heritage of Sur, Laya, Taal over four generations, Apoorva Gokhale inherits melody, harmony and rhythm from her grandfather Late Pandit Gajananbuwa Joshi and her great-grandfather Late Pandit Antubuwa Joshi, who himself was an eminent Darbar gayak.

Her formal education started at an early age of 5 years under the tutelage of Late Pandit Gajananbuwa Joshi, who was a vocalist and violinist, reputed for his versatility and making a superb blend of three gharanas namely Gwalior, Jaipur and Agra in his gayaki.

After his sad demise, she continued her further education under the supervision of her uncle Pandit Madhukar Joshi, who too is a well-known vocalist and violinist and Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar. She also received training from her father Shri Manohar Joshi. While taking lessons from these gurus she perfected her basics in Sur, Laya and Taal.

Apoorva, who has a bachelor's degree from the University of Mumbai, completed Visharad from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya under the guidance of her aunt Dr. (Smt) Sucheta Bidkar.

Currently she is seeking special guidance from Pandit Shankar Abhyankar, the eminent sitarist and rachanakar and also from Smt. Manik Bhide and Smt. Ashwini Bhide.

She has been awarded with the Acharya S N Ratanjankar Foundation Trust's scholarship and Pandit K G Ginde puraskar for two years.

Apoorva has performed in many prestigious concerts in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Bangalore, Aundh, Karad, Ichalkaranji etc. She has also been honoured as "Surmani" by Sur Singar Samsad.

Milind Tulankar's Grand father and Guru late Pt. Shankarrao Kanhere was an accomplished jalatarang player from satara,a small town in Maharashtra, India.

A graded artist of all India Radio, he played in numerous concerts all over India and popularised the instrument. He was trained in music by late Pt. Dattopant Mangalwedhekar from Pandharpur. Aesthetic development of a raga structure and command of rhythm were the highlights of his style. He has written a book on this instrument, published by Sanget-karyalay, Hatharas.

Born and brought up in a family with "Musical Background" Milind started learning music from a very tender age. His grand father Late Pandit Shankar Kanhere who was a famous Jaltarang player influenced Milind in taking up this unusual dying instrument, the JALTARANG. Along with that Milind is proficient in playing Santoor, Tabla and Harmonium. His mother who is a vocalist has seen to it that along with a good instrumentalist he is a good singer too. Presently he is a disciple of SITAR maestro Ustad Shahid Parwez.

Sanjay Karandikar is one of the leading exponents of percussion instruments Tabla and Dholki. He received his initial training from his father Lt. Shri. Madhav Karandikar. Then got advanced training from Pt Shashikant Bellare, Pt Vikas Datar and Pt Ramdas Palsule. Sanjay has completed Sangeet Alankar from Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyalay Mandal and was ranked 2nd all over India in 2003. Sanjay is a extremely popular guru and has over 1000 past and present tabla and dholki students. He is a accredited artist of AIR and Television.

Sanjay has accompanied various artists on tabla and dholki such as Shri Shaunak Abhisheki, Shri. Anand Bhate, Smt. Alka Deo Marulkar, Smt. Manjiri Alegaonkar, Shri. Vijay Koparkar and has travelled outside of India for concerts. He has also published books and audio visual material on Tabla which is currently being used by students all over the world.