Musician, scientist, writer, poet, philosopher.Dr. Krishna Kant Shukla is a multidimensional being. Having studied in some of the best schools and colleges in India and U.K, he went on to obtain an M.S. and PhD. at the State University of New York at Buffalo in Solid State Physics. While teaching Physics and Astronomy as an assistant professor in upstate New York, he decided to quit the family trade of academics and follow his heart and soul deep into the fathomless waters of Indian Classical Music. Having studied with great maestros like Srimati Laxmi Shankar, Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan, Dr. Tapan Bhattacharya, he returned to India in 1994 to explore the roots of Indian Classical Music in the great living oral folk traditions. His musical search has led him into remote villages in the Himalayan foothills, as well as far flung and difficult to reach dwellings in the central plains. He has been particularly influenced by the songs of Kabir, Gorakhnath and other nirguna bhakti poet-saints, songs that have been sung as part of a living oral tradition that is over six hundred years old. Dr. Shukla’s repertoire includes compositions of Tyagaraja, Tulsidas, Surdas, Meera, Tukaram, Purandardas and other poet-saints of India, as well as the musical compositions of Sufi saints. He has also been researching, recording and performing the folk songs of rural northern India, which, according to him, is an art form of unparalleled beauty which is fast becoming extinct.
Dr. Shukla’s chief guiding light, inspiration, and guru is the legendary (late) Pandit Kumar Gandharva. Dr. Shukla has given several acclaimed performances in India and abroad, and is an empanelled artist with the ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations). Recently, he toured the U.S. and gave 39 memorable concerts spanning 13 states. Several of these concerts included lecture demonstrations and classroom visits at leading American Universities. Dr. Shukla plays several musical instruments, including western classical guitar. His performances have been aired on national T.V. in India. Among his other endeavors, He actively promote ecology initiatives with spiritual foundation. His talk on “Science, Spirituality and the Environment” has been broadcast on national radio. He has been associated with Saha Astitva Foundation which aims to create model eco-farms in India.
He now lives in his native hometown of Varanasi in northern India, on the banks of the great river, Mother Ganga. Besides teaching and performing music, Dr. Shukla is also presently engaged in translating into English and republishing a rare, one hundred year old manuscript that contains some hitherto unknown works of Kabir, Gorakhnath, and other nirguna bhakti poet saints.
MUSICAL EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
Was born with a gift for music, into a musical family. By age 13, had taught himself to play a dozen musical instruments. While studying in Dudley Grammar School, U.K., between age 10-13, consistently stood first in the music class among 30 students. Here, he learnt the basics of Western Classical Music and participated regularly in the School choir. Later, during undergraduate studies in India, was elected Secretary of Music Society in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Continued to pursue music as a serious hobby and won several awards at music competitions and festivals.
While in Graduate School in the U.S., became interested in the methodical study of Indian Classical Music. Studied vocal music with Dr. Tapan Bhattacharya and the renowned Dr. Laxmi Shankar.
After completing his Physics PhD in the U.S., and while working as and Assistant Professor in upstate New York, he decided to pursue the study of Indian Classical Music full time. Putting aside his physics career, in 1992, he became a full time student of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan at Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. Here, he studied vocal, sarode, and tabla.
In 1994, Krishna returned to India to explore the roots of Indian Classical Music, which extend into the folk musical traditions of the villages. He has traveled extensively thru rural India, studying, recording and performing folk songs. In particular, his research led him to the devotional musical compositions of poet-saints, such as Kabir, Tulsidas, Tyagaraja, Tukaram, Gorakhnath, Nanak, etc. In this, Krishna considers the late Pandit Kumar Gandharva to be his guru, ideal and inspiration. Krishna has given several acclaimed performances throughout India and abroad. His Kabir bhajans have been aired on national television several times. In 2003, Krishna toured the United States, giving 39 widely acclaimed concerts in 12 States. Between his musical forays into the mountains and villages of India, he lives in Varanasi. Studying, teaching and performing.
PhD (1990) Department of Physics and Astronomy, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA
M.S (1985) Department of Physics and Astronomy, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA
B.Sc. (Physics Hons.) St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, India.
1) While studying at Ali Akbar College of Music in the U.S., Krishna taught voice culture and Indian Classical vocal music (1992-1994) and continues to do so till the present in India.
2) Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York, USA.(1991)
3) Visiting Lecturer at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Physics and Astronomy. (1988)
4) Teaching Assistant in the Physics Department, SUNY Buffalo. (1981-1987)
PhD Thesis: In the general area of Solid State Theoretical Physics. PhD thesis entitled “Calculations of Electron Effective Mass based on 3-D Kroenig Penny Model with Application to Solids”.
Master’s Thesis: Research in the general area of Statistical Mechanics.
Research work has been published in the book “Quantum Statistical theory of Superconductivity” edited by Dr. Van der Meswe; Reidel Kluwer Book co.
AWARDS and HONOURS
1) In September 2002, was honored and presented with a shawl by the ex president of India, Shri K.R. Narayanan at a function organized by the Modern School Diaspora Initiative.
2) Hon. Mention for “Excellence in teaching”, awarded by the State University of New York at Buffalo.
OTHER ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS
was elected founding president of Gurukul corporation during 1989-1990. This is a nonprofit charitable organization formed by the Indian students at State University of New York at Buffalo that supports schools for underprivileged children in rural India.
Has a fluent knowledge of Hindi and English. A working knowledge of French, Russian, Urdu and Sanskrit. Also studied Latin in Dudley Grammar School, U.K.
He can be contacted at:-
35, Nandnagar Colony, ITI Road,
B.H.U., Varanasi, 221005, INDIA
Ph (India):- +91-542-2570046, +91-9452286673
(Preferred mode of communication is via email)