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Ravi Shankar was an Indian musician and composer who played the sitar. His innovative music influenced many important musicians in the Western world, and Shankar won a total of three Grammy Awards for his work. He died yesterday, December 11, 2012. He was one of the most famous Indian musicians ever. Shankar was born in Varanasi, India. First a dancer, he then began to study the sitar under Allauddin Khan, the court musician. He became a composer in 1944, and was the music director of the All India Radio from 1949-1956. He then began to tour America and Europe. He taught George Harrison of The Beatles to play the sitar, which was then featured on some of their songs, including Norwegian Wood. In 1967, he won his first Grammy Award for West Meets East, a collaboration with violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He won his second for his Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra in 1970. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1982 for the movie Ghandi. His autobiography, In Celebration, from 1996, was successful and he wrote a second, which was edited by George Harrison. He also served as a nominated member of the Indian Parliament from 1986 to 1992, and was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, in 1999. He then went on to win his third Grammy for Full Circle: Carnegie Hall 2000. He then began touring with his daughter Anoushka, also a sitar virtuoso. Shankar also has a son, and another daughter, born as a result of an affair with Sue Jones, Norah Jones, the singer and winner of eight Grammy Awards. He suffered an angioplasty in 1992. He since suffered from breathing problems, and had heart valve replacement surgery on December 6, 2012. He then died on the 11th at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. Shankar is considered one of the best sitar players of the second half of the 20th century. He is known for his creative use of rhythm, which has influenced the genre, and for his incorporation of Western, modern music into his pieces. He was also greatly in favor of musical cooperation and promoting the cultural exchange between the West and the East. See a video of Shankar playing on the next page.
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