Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was an Indian music composer and renowned Santoor player.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

Fast Facts

Date of Birth: 13 January, 1938

Place of Birth: Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, British Raj

Profession: Santoor Player, Music Composer

Instruments: Santoor, Tabla

Wife: Manorama

Children: Rahul, 

Father: Uma Dutt Sharma

Awards: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan

Years Active:    1955–2022

Associated Acts:   Rahul Sharma (son), Hariprasad Chaurasia

Death: May 10, 2022, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was an Indian famous classical musician, who attained international fame by playing the music instrument, santoor. The Santoor is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer often made of walnut wood and has 72 strings, which are struck with two delicate carved wooden mallets. The santoor is essentially a folk instrument that originated in the Kashmir Valley, and it achieved the status of a classical instrument due to the persistent efforts and genius of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. With his hard work, determination and talent, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma made the santoor a global name. 

Childhood & Early Life

Shivkumar Sharma was born on 13th January, 1938, in Jammu, British India (present-day Jammu). He was introduced to the santoor by his father and teacher, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma. He was a renowned player of the instrument and also a vocalist. He was a disciple of Pandit Bade Ramdasji of Banaras. Shivkumar Sharma learnt the tabla and singing before dedicating himself to learn the santoor extensively. The santoor was known as the Shata-Tantri Veena in earlier days. It was used to accompany a particular type of singing known as Sufiana Mausiqi. Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma gave the responsibility of taking the santoor on the world stage to his son, Shivkumar, after extensive research on its possibilities. 

The Greatest Santoor Player

Shivkumar Sharma was successful in giving the santoor the position of a popular classical instrument. Shivkumar Sharma modified the folk instrument in order to make it more suitable for classical music. He increased its range to full three octaves and also created a technique for smoother gliding between music notes in order to imitate human voice quality. Shivkumar Sharma also created a new way of playing it so that the notes and sound continuity could be maintained for a long time. Shivkumar Sharma collaborated with many musicians, including Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasiya. He formed a music team (Shiv-Hari) with the noted flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia and composed music for Hindi films Darr, Silsila, Lamhe, etc. Some of his famous albums are Call of the Valley, Sampradaya, Elements: Water, Music of the Mountains, Megh Malhar, etc. His son, Rahul, is also a famous Santoor player.

Awards & Accolades

For his remarkable achievements in the field of music, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was honored with many prestigious awards, including the Padmashree, the Padma Vibhushan, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, an honorary doctorate from the University of Jammu, the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award, the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, etc. He was also honored with an honorary citizenship of the city of Baltimore, USA. 


Pandit Shivkumar Sharma died on May 10, 2022, in Mumbai due to cardiac arrest. He was suffering from kidney ailments for several months.