Ulhas Bapat [Santoor Artiste]
The rise of Santoor from folk instrument to a Classical instrument has been the result of painstaking, dedicated, continuous efforts by some very few talented hands. One of the most promising and in a way, unique among them has been the hands of Pandit Ulhas Bapat who is a highly accomplished Santoor player and has made his mark in the competitive world of music. He has made his debut as a Santoor exponent in 1975 with a chamber concert for Sancharini, an organization founded by
Pt. Ravi Shankar in Mumbai. Since then he has kept up a steady stream of concert appearances all over India interspersed with concert tours abroad. He has played to appreciative audience not only from all over India but also from abroad. The response of music critics as well as music lovers to his performances as well as recorded music has been overwhelmingly favourable.
Pt. Ulhas Bapat born in 1950, was drawn towards music at the tender but fortunately for him, at the right age of five. He began learning the Tabla under the noted Tabla player Pt. Ramakant Mhapsekar. This early training instilled a sense of rhythm in Ulhas, which was to prove fruitful in the later years. He then took to vocal music. After an initial training under his father Shri.Yeshwant Ganesh Bapat (Retd. Asst. Com. of Police)
He discovered the Santoor ... and Santoor discovered Ulhas.
Pt. Ulhas adopted the Santoor as the medium of his musical expressions. He came under the tutelage of the celebrated Sarod Maestro Smt. Zarin Daroowala Sharma. He has also received guidance from erudite musicians like Pt. K.G.Ginde and
Pt. Wamanrao Sadolikar whose encyclopedic knowledge of Ragashastra and Bandishes helped him to enrich his repertoire with 'Gayaki' compositions of two distinct and distinguished Gharanas. This has enhanced the aesthetic appeal of his renditions to a more evocative plane. Having received his tutelage from acknowledged masters of vocal and instrumental music, Pt. Ulhas has an enlightened approach to his music.
Today perhaps Pt. Ulhas Bapat is the only Santoor exponent who actually tunes his instrument by the chromatic system (fixed tuning) and plays accordingly.