Ashok Kumar Roy

This great and gentle soul lived a full and rich musical life. Born into a family of musicians in Dehra Doon, his training on sarod began at the early age of four. His father Anant Kumar Roy was a disciple of two great maestros Alauddin Khansahib and Keramatullah Khansahib. In 1960, his deep commitment to his art, along with his prodigious talent, led him to share first prize in the instrumental division of the All India Radio music competition along with Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. In the 1960’s and 70’s he became a very popular A grade staff artist at All India Radio, New Delhi, during which time he was also a senior disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. After a three year posting by the ICCR to its cultural centre in Suva, Fiji, Ashokji returned to Dehra Doon, from where he recorded taught and performed extensively across North India. He trained intensively in the ethos of the Maihar gharana but at the same time he was also deeply inspired to develop his own unique musical voice, a quality that earned him many awards throughout his long career. He performed extensively in the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and Australia and his recordings have been published by HMV, Musicaphon and Festival Records.

He moved to Australia in 1987, and in a short period of time became highly respected and much loved across that country. He taught at Monash and Melbourne Universities and finally was asked to take up the position of Artistic Director at the Australian Institute of Eastern Music. He made an enormous contribution to Australian cultural life and to the appreciation of Hindustani music there. He will always be remembered for approaching everything with a great sense of humour and generosity of spirit. Apart from this the pursuit of rasa was central to his life and it’s no surprise that he was also a great cook. Ashok Roy passed away in Concord Hospital in Sydney on the 15th of February 2007.