Pt. Mohan Shyam Sharma represents two gharanas: Nathdwara gharana and Bitia gharana. His Guru, Pandit Totaram Sharma too learnt from two gharanas. First, he trained under Pandit Murlidhar Sharma of the Kudau Singh gharana and then under Pandit Purushottam Das, the pioneer of the Nathdwara gharana. The Kudau Singh gharana is also known as the Bitia gharana and is the oldest school of pakhawaj playing.
He also had the opportunity of learning pakhawaj from Pandit Prem Vallabh, disciple of the legend, Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa. Consequently, Pandit ji has came to this confluence of two streams.
Pt. Mohan Shyam Sharma is a frequent performer and artist of All India Radio . He started his career as an accompanist with the Junior Dagar Brothers then toured with Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and all the Dagars extensively in India and abroad. He is a much sought-after accompanist for all the most eminent exponents of dhrupad, vocal and instrumental indian classical musicians. He also accompanied Darbhanga gharana exponents, Pandit Vidhur Malika and Pandit Siya Ram Tiwari and accompanied world famous musicians of other styles as well including Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, and Kishori Amonkar.
Born on 16 July 1948 in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, Dada Guru Pandit Tota Ram Sharma ji received his training in the Pakhawaj from Pandit Murlidhar Sharma of the Kudau Singh school. He was further groomed in the art by the noted Pakhawaj-player Pandit Purushottam Das, a master of the Nathdwara tradition. An outstanding performer and teacher of Pakhawaj, Pt. Tota Ram Sharma is a top-grade artist of All India Radio. He has served as Guru at Rajasthan University, Jaipur, and Kathak Kendra, Delhi. He has many recordings to his credit. For his dedicated work in the field of music, he has received several honours including the title of Talmani conferred by the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai.
Pandit Tota Ram Sharma received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Hindustani instrumental music.
Padmashri Late Pandit Purushottam Das ji, born in 1907 was one of the leading pakhawaj players of India. He belongs to a traditional family of musicians of Nathdwara, Rajasthan. He received his training from his father, Pandit Ghanshyam Dasji, who was one of the foremost representatives of the Nathdwara style of playing the Pakhawaj. Pandit Purushottam Das received the Rajasthan State Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1971 and the Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in 1978. He has also been attached to the Shri Nathji temple at Nathdwara. He was on the staff of the Kathak Kendra, ran by the Akademi. For his eminence in the field of music and his contribution to its enrichment, Pandit Purushottam Das received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani Instrumental Music for 1978.
Dada Guru Pandit Prem Vallabh ji (1918 c.1970s) is remembered both as a tabla player who learned from Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa, and as a pakhawaj player of the Kudau Singh tradition.
He hails from Mathura, where he was born into a musical family, his cousin was Gopal dasji, legendary pakhawaj player of Kudau Singh Gharana. Later on he moved to Delhi, where he started learning from Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa, and became employed as a tabla player at All India Radio, New Delhi. He was frequently chosen to accompany India s leading musicians in the weekly National Program radio broadcasts.
As the best student of the master, he has brought the influence of Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa in his Pakhawaj playing, who was one of the greatest tabla player of India, mastering several gharanas.
Guruji with Hari Mohan Sharma