Pandit Rupak Kulkarni
Pandit Rupak Kulkarni, a proponent of Maihar Gharana, inherited his musical legacy from his father, the late Pandit Malhar Rao Kulkarni. As a gifted child, young Rupak started learning advanced flute from Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. Rupak gave his first solo flute performance at Darbar Hall, Baroda, when he was only eleven years. He traces his music to Ustad Allauddin Khan and Annapurna Devi. His journey from being a child prodigy to his current stature is exemplary.
Pandit Rupak Kulkarni, with his deft playing and unique ingenuity, has created new ragas. As a composer, he has also scored many original music pieces. He’s mastered the Dhrupad, Khayal and the Tantrakari styles. Today, Pandit Rupak is a much sought after professional flute player. Talking about the flute, one of the most magical instruments, he says, “Whenever I am playing the flute, I feel close to nature, and I feel very grounded with the flute.”
His love and passion for flute have led him to invent the ‘Adbhut Bansuri’, a 50-inch wooden flute which is longer by almost 20 inches than the standard flute. Adbhut Bansuri can access a base octave, unlike a regular flute that can only access half-octaves. The distance between holes in Adbhut Bansuri is similar to the traditional flute, but it creates sounds on the whole octave base.
Pandit Rupak Kulkarni is empanelled as an Outstanding Grade Artist by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). He is also an All India Radio Top Grade Artist. Pandit Rupak has performed at almost all prestigious music festivals in India and many other countries. Pandit Rupak Kulkarni has won several awards and accolades and has many albums to his credit.
He is currently heading the Department of Flute at Chinmaya University, helping young musicians shape their musical journeys.