Nov 20, 2012 Sharda Sahai - Posted by shawnmativetsky
In the mid sixties, with typical strength of mind, Pt. Sharda Sahai resolved to teach music to anyone who did not have access to learning in the guru-shishya-parampara system. In 1965 he founded the Pandit Ram Sahai Sangit Vidyalaya in Benares and in 1987 in London. His year was divided teaching in the UK, Canada, India and US in music residences.
He was the first tabla player to hold the post of Senior Lecturer at a university. His first appointment was in 1970 at Wesleyan University. In 1975 he was awarded a J.D.R.3rd Fund grant to lecture at Brown University. He also lectured at Berkeley School of Music (USA). He trained students in the art of tabla playing, lectured on rhythmic theory and supervised Doctoral students.
In 1985 Pt. Sharda Sahai was sent by ICCR to the famed Dartington College of Arts in the role of senior lecturer. This establishment was modelled on Tagore’s beliefs for education and Pt. Sharda Sahai remained there for six years as ICCR’s representative, thereby creating a generation of tabla professionals and enthusiasts. This lasting legacy was eloquently documented by its then principal, Peter Cox in his memoir “The Arts at Dartington.”
In recognition of his lifelong contribution to music he was made a Fellow at Leeds College of Music, Leeds University in 1997.
2006 marked the 25th Anniversary Annual Tabla Camp residencies led by Pt. Sharda Sahai. Participants ranged from professional tabla players to beginners. McGill University honoured him with a series of public lectures on the compositions of the tradition, history of the Gharana and ways in which Benares tabla is being incorporated into Western composition. This culminated in a sold out performance in the main auditorium of McGill University in the presence of the Dean of Music.