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Kanjira virtuoso Ganesh Kumar is one who is responsible for popularizing this small 7-inch diameter frame drum throughout the whole of the United States of America. - New York Times

A new frame drum is here - Ganesh Kumar has achieved an ability to adapt and modify techniques and rhythmic patterns beyond the traditional style.

The Hindu – India’s National Newspaper

Ghatam, Kanjira, and Fusion - The Indian Express

Ganesh Kumar received his initial training on the Mridangam from legendary percussionist Shri T R Hari Hara Sharma and later continued his advanced studies under the guidance of percussion maestro Shri T H Subash Chandran. Upon his advice, Ganesh began to make his primary focus on the Kanjira to master the instrument. Today, Ganesh Kumar has achieved greater heights through his spellbinding performances and teachings across the continents.

Ganesh Kumar received the prestigious "Fulbright Fellowship Award" in performing arts for the year 2000-2001, sponsored by the US State Department and the US Educational Foundation of India. During this period, he was teaching Kanjira and other Carnatic percussion at Queens College, CUNY, to the percussion students of The Aaron Copland School of Music, New York. His Fulbright thesis is titled: “Application of Indian Hand Drumming in Jazz Music.” He is the first percussionist from South India to receive this award. He has also received the Maryland State Arts Council Fellowship award for the Folk and Traditional Arts in 2005.

Working with the esteemed “Cooperman Drum Company” in Vermont, USA, Ganesh released his own signature series Kanjira, under the Artists Innovation Series which he designed. This Kanjira is made out of treated maple wood with a tunable, lightweight, and utilizes a cloth mylar head. Now, it is considered an excellent substitute for the original Kanjira, which uses the now endangered Monitor Lizard skin. Ganesh released this new synthetic version of the Kanjira at the Percussive Arts Society (PASIC) convention in 2004 in Columbus, Ohio.

Ganesh Kumar also released “The Art of Kanjira,” a two-volume set instructional DVD, a first of its kind, teaching the basic and advanced techniques of Kanjira, including history, traditional classical compositions, rhythmic counting systems (talam), and applications outside of Carnatic music.

As a performer, Ganesh has performed with many legendary musicians from Carnatic music such as Smt M S Subbulakshmi, Dr M Bala Murali Krishna, Dr L Subramaniam, Mandolin Srinivas, Chitraveena Ravikiran, Kadri Gopalnath, Chandralekha, and other musicians.

Ganesh has also introduced the Kanjira to the Western audience through his performances and recordings with many Jazz musicians such as Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck, Fareed Haque, John Wubbenhorst, George Brooks, Steve Smith, Paul Horn, and others.

As a dedicated teacher, he has taught many students in India, the USA, Europe, and other countries. He also gave master classes and workshops on South Indian Carnatic Percussions at many universities such as California State University - Sacramento, Southern Oregon University – Ashland, University of Nebraska – Omaha, University of Hartford, Wichita State University – Kansas, The Juilliard School of Music, The New School of Music, UN International School, Queens College, Wagner College in New York. He performed and presented workshops at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) during the 2005 and 2007 meetings. He has also given a master class at the University of Salerno, Naples – Italy.

Ganesh’s teaching schedule remains busy at his music school “Sankara Academy of Music & Arts” in the United States, where he trains hundreds of Indian and American students in New Jersey, New York, Washington, Portland, San Francisco, and Tampa.

Ganesh Kumar has traveled widely across the continents to perform at international festivals and performances in places including Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Fiji Islands, Hawaii Islands, the UK, the USA, Brazil, Moscow, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Kuwait, Turkey, and many other countries.

Ganesh has received many awards including “Best Kanjira Artist” from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, The Indian Fine Arts Society, “Yuva Kala Bharathi” from Bharath Kalachar, and he is conferred “Asthana Vidwan” of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Kanchipuram.
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