The dramatic increase in the number of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee's appreciators during the last two decades of his life is ample testimony to his prowess with the sitar. His total mastery over all the nuances of sitar playing, his ability to flawlessly analyze each raga and apply it in his music, makes him the best among the best in his field.
Starting his lessons from his father Pandit Jitendranath Banerjee as a child, Nikhil Banerjee received an extensive musical education from Ustad Mustaq Ali Khan, one of the prime exponents in India during his time. Later, Nikhil Banerjee perfected his music under the tutelage of such eminent musicians as Pandit Birendra Kishore Roychoudury and Radhikamohan Maitra. He capped his learning under Ustad Allauddin Khan and also under Ali Akbar Khan, two maestros who need no introduction. Association with these two great sarod masters helped him gain a new insight into the potential of the sitar as a solo instrument.
Pandit Nikhil Banerjee enjoyed the recognition and appreciation of many, both in India and abroad. He was associated with Bob Brown's American Society of Eastern Arts in Berkeley. Unfortunately for all music lovers Pandit Banerjee passed away in 1986 at a premature age of 55. However, the legacy of the music that he left behind will keep alight the flame of remembrance in the hearts of all who had an opportunity to listen to his music.-Translated from Bengali by Tulsi Sen Gupta
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