Emani Sankara Sastry was born on September 23, 1922 and died on 1987, was a renowned Veena player of Carnatic music. Sankara Sastry was born on September 23, 1922 in Draksharama, Andhra Pradesh.
He came from a family of celebrated classical musicians. His father Vainika Bhooshana Veena Acharya Emani Achyuta Rama Sastri, a famed vainika and sastragna was a contemporary of Sangameshwara Sastri and Veena Venkata Romainiah Das of Andhra.
The prodigious training he had from a young age under his unsparing father was reflected in abundance in his tuneful, melodious and technique perfect concerts. His graceful playing on the veena in strictly traditional style evoked a reverential listening. Emani gave concerts throughout the length and breadth of India.
His participation in East-West music festivals, Tansen festival, Vishnu Digambar festival, and other prestigious music conferences won him distinction in the field of music. Emani played duets with Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Pandit Gopal Krishan (on vichitra veena) evoking enthusiastic responses from the North Indian listeners.
After completing his education from Andhra University, he joined the famous Gemini Studios at Madras, where he was the music director for more than ten years. He composed tunes based on novel techniques and directed music for hit films such as Mangla, Sansar, Bahut Din Huwe, Vindhyarani, Nishan, Mr. Sampat and English version of Chandralekha.
His own compositions of keerthanas, javalis and bhajans can be frequently heard in his solo concerts. His operas in Hindi and regional languages are also very popular. Emani joined All India Radio in 1959 as producer of music at Madras. Soon he rose to the position of director and composer of national orchestra and chief producer of music.
He presented over the broadcasting network a number of classical, thematic orchestral compositions and folk melodies bringing out the special tonal qualities of Indian instruments and synthesized musical patterns with a distinctive Emani touch. Emani was also associated with cultural and academic organizations.
He was the asthaan vidwan (court musician) of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, member of the university grants committee – to advise on music and member of the expert committee at Madras Music Academy.
Awards & Titles
He was conferred with the titles Vainika Sikhamani, Vainika Siromani, Veena Gana Gandhrava, Ganarupa Kalasaraswathi, Veena Vadanatatvegna, Gandhrava Kalanidhi, Gana Kala Dhara, Veena Chakravarthi, Vallaki Vallabha. He was also conferred with the title of Maha Mahopadhyaya, which was conferred on a South Indian musician for the first time. He was given the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1973, Sahitya Kala Parishad award, Padma Shri and Doctorate of Andhra University. Many other titles were conferred upon him.