The world of music on Tuesday lost Vidushi Sisirkana Dhar Choudhury — one of the earliest female Hindustani classical violinists who had broken the glass ceiling in the 50s. The 83-year-old succumbed to a cardiac arrest at a private nursing home in Gurgaon.
Born in Shillong on December 27, 1937, Sisirkana began performing on stage in her 20s. Her last Kolkata performance was at Doverlane Music Conference in 2017, where she has conferred the Sangeet Samman Award. Pt Abhijit Banerjee, who learned violin from her in the late 80s and accompanied her on the tabla at that Doverlane concert, described her as a “commendable personality”.
Violinist Indradeep Ghosh, who has been her disciple for 30 years, mentioned how she had created new ragas, including ‘Rasaranjini’ and ‘Tarangini’. “The head purohit of Dakshineshwar temple had requested her to play something new. Instantly, she had created raag Bhavatarini that was dedicated to the Goddess Kali,” he said,adding that she was the one who “introduced viola to the mainstream Hindustani classical music”.
She is survived by daughter Suraranjani. Daughter Suraranjani said Sisirkana had joined Rabindra Bharati University in 1971 and retired in 1997 as professor of instrumental music. “In 1990-92, she became the head of the department of vocal music. She was the dean of faculty of fine arts from 1990 to 1994 and had also officiated as the vice chancellor in 1993 for a brief period . Besides her great passion for music, her simplicity towards life and living has left an enormous impact on me.”
Calling her one of his “favorite violinists in Hindustani classical music”, Pt Tejendra Narayan Majumdar pointed at how she would play the “Dhrupad-Style Aalap-Jod on the Viola” and subsequently switch to the violin for the rest of the concert. “That gave an edge to her recitals, he said.