Sitarist and composer Pandit Ravi Shankar, who helped introduce the sitar to the Western world through his collaborations with The Beatles, died in Southern California at 92.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, a three-time Grammy winner with legendary appearances at the 1967 Monterey Festival and at Woodstock, had been in fragile health for several years and last Thursday underwent surgery, his family said in a statement.
Shankar is credited with popularizing Indian music through his work with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and The Beatles in the late 1960s, inspiring George Harrison to learn the sitar and the British band to record songs like "Norwegian Wood" (1965) and "Within You, Without You" (1967). (In pic) Pandit Ravi Shankar, 92, performs during a concert in Bangalore. (AP)
His friendship with Harrison led him to appearances at the Monterey and Woodstock pop festivals in the late 1960s, and the 1972 Concert for Bangladesh, becoming one of the first Indian musicians to become a household name in the West. (In pic) George Harrison, of the Beatles sits with his musical mentor, Ravi Shankar in Los Angeles. (AP)
Pandit Ravi Shankar's influence in classical music, including on composer Philip Glass, was just as large. His work with Menuhin on their "West Meets East" albums in the 1960s and 1970s earned them a Grammy, and he wrote concertos for sitar and orchestra for both the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Shankar earned multiple honors in his long career, including an Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Britain's Queen Elizabeth for services to music, the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, and the French Legion d'Honneur.
Shankar served as a member of the Parliament, from 1986 to 1992, after being nominated by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. (In pic) Pandit Ravi Shankar seen with his wife Sukanya, Asiatic Society's President Prof. M.M. Chakraborth and General Secretary Dr. Chandan Roychowdhury in Calcutta.
A man of many talents, he also wrote the Oscar-nominated score for 1982 film "Gandhi," several books, and mounted theatrical productions. (In pic) Indira Gandhi inaugurating Uday-Utsav with Pandit Ravi Shankar. (IE archive)
For about eight years, Shankar danced in his brother's Indian classical and folk dance troupe, which toured the world. But by the late 1930s he had turned his back on show business to learn the sitar and other classical Indian instruments. (In pic) Actress Vyjayanthi Bali presents a bouquet to sitar player Pandit Ravi Shankar.(IE archive)
He built an ashram-style home and music center in India where students could live and learn, and later the Ravi Shankar Center in Delhi in 2001, which hosts an annual music festival. (In pic) Gujarat former CM Hintendra Desai garlands Pandit Ravi Shankar. (IE archive)