Shehnai maestro Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh performing Shehnai in Ras Barse Utsav
Pandit (Dr.) S. BALLESH BHAJANTRI
International Shehnai Player, Vocalist, Ghazal Singer
An Internationally celebrated Shehnai Artist and (Patiala Gharana) Vocalist, Ghazal singer, and a Playback Singer-musician "Shehnai Chakravarthy” Pandit (Dr.) S. Ballesh Bhajantri hails from MK Hubli town, Belgaum district) Karnataka. Lives in Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Pandit Ballesh was conferred with India’s Fourth-Highest civilian award “‘PADMA SHRI” on the 73rd Republic Day in 2022, in the field of Art, by the President of India, Shri. Ramnath Kovind, and by this great honor the Govt of India has brought back the SHEHNAI to center stage with this recognition, Pandit Ballesh becoming the second classical musician of India after Ustad Bismillah Khan to receive the award.
State Awards - Pandit Ballesh is honored by four states,
Tamil Nadu Government honored him and his son Dr. Krishna Ballesh with Tamil Nadu state’s highest civilian award, Kalaimamani (Joint Award) in 2020,
Karnataka State Government honored him with the Karnataka Kalashri in 2019 (State Akademi Award),
Andhra Pradesh Government honored him with the Aasthana Vidwan of Srikalahasti Award (Joint Award along with his son) in 2006
Uttar Pradesh, India Tourism Varanasi, Government of India conferred Ustad Bismillah Khan KalaRatna Samman 2021 Award (Joint Award along with his son) and by Ustad Bismillah Khan family members in association with the Deepika Cultural Society of India, Varanasi,
He was conferred with "The Honorary Doctorate" D.Litt., award (Honoris Causa) by The International Tamil University.
Pandit Ballesh had breaked many records in India by receiving “PADMA AWARDS”:
Ballesh is the 2nd Shehnai player in India to receive the Padma award after Ustad Bismillah Khan,
Ballesh is the 1st Hindustani Musician to receive the Padma award in Tamil Nadu,
Ballesh is the 1st Shehnai player to receive Padma awards in Dakshina Bharat,
Ballesh is the 1st Shehnai-playing Playback Musician to receive Padma awards from All India film music industry,
Ballesh is the only Shehnai player to receive Padma Awards in Ustad Bismillah Khan Sishya Parampara,
Ballesh is the 1st person in the (Korama) Bhajantri community to receive Padma awards in the past 73 yrs Republic, India,
Ballesh is the 2nd Musician to receive Padma Award from Veerashwar Punyashram (Gadag).
The Government of India, Ministry of Cultures, invited Pandit Ballesh and his son Dr. Krishna Ballesh to Sangeet Sangam International Music Festival in 2021 (Senior Musicians) organized by Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi.
Pandit Ballesh and Krishna Ballesh duo played Shehnai in the Hollywood film (International English Movies) “ The Hundred-Foot Journey - 2014 ” for the track “ India Calling ”
A performing career of 45 years. He played Shehnai since the age of 11, accompanying his Uncle and grandfather, and later Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb. Has played in recordings for many Music Composers of India, across 16 languages, from 1978 to 2020.
He is the disciple of world-renowned Shennai Maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan. Initiated into music by his father Pandit Sanna Bharamanna, he continued to learn under the guidance of his uncle Pandit Dodda Bharamanna. He further trained under Guru Dr. DP Hiremath, Kirana Gharana, and Patiala Gharana from Pandit Kodanda Singh Salunke Maharaj.
Panditji was blessed to train under the guidance of Padmabushan Pandit, Dr.Puttaraja Gawai (Gadag) Gwalior Gharana- Kirana Gharana. His training was complete with his induction into the Banaras Gharana under Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb. As his foremost disciple, he also accompanied him for several years.
Panditji is also a renowned Hindustani classical vocalist and Ghazal singer and has been the preferred musician for many music Directors in Bollywood, Tollywood, Mollywood, Kollywood, and all languages across India (such as Maestro Naushad Ali, Maestro M.S. Viswanathan, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, Oscar winner A.R Rahman and M.M.Keeravani).
Pandit Ballesh played Shehnai for more than 55yearsfrom the age of 11 years, accompanying his uncle and father, and later Ustad Bismillah Khan, He has played for many recordings for leading Music Composers of India, He has sung and played shehnai for more than 10,000 movies background score's and 65,000 film songs in all languages and more than 1,00,000 devotional songs in all religions, and he has also sung Hindustani music Alaaps for films and had also collaborated Shehnai with International musicians and composers in recordings. He had also sung several songs along with noted singers like K.J. Yesudas, S.Janaki, S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Ilaiyaraaja, M.M. Keeravani, and A.R. Rahman. He has worked with Lakkavajhala Venkata Gangadhara Sastry, a singer, and composer for the Bhagavad-gītā project. Government music festivals have invited him on several occasions. Likewise, he had collaborated with Shehnai with Hungarian musicians in several recordings.
As a performing musician - he has played in many prestigious Music Festivals and collaborated with senior musicians for Jugalbandis - both Carnatic and Hindustani Notably, Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan (sitar), Pt Atul Kumar Upadhaya (violin), Ustad Shafique Khan (sitar), Vidwan G J R Krishnan (violin). He has also performed in India as well as in many other countries.
He has received many awards, including Radio Mirchi Jury awards, Sangit Samrat, Shehnai Samrat, Shehnai Ratna, Sangeet Ratna, KIMA Film Awards, and Sanaadi Apanna Kala puraskar. Likewise, he is the only Shehnai player representing Shehnai from South India.