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We wish a Happy 81st Birthday to vocalist Dr. PRABHA ATRE (born 13. Sept 1932)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on September 13, 2013

Prabha Atre (born 13 September 1932) is an Indian classical vocalist.


Dr. Prabha Atre (Copyright: Facebook page)

Dr. Prabha Atre (Copyright: Facebook page)

Prabha was born to Abasaheb and Indirabai Atre in Pune. As children, Prabha and her sister, Usha, were interested in music, but neither of them planned to pursue music as a career. When Prabha was eight, Indirabai was not keeping good health, and at a friend’s suggestion that classical music lessons would help her feel better, she took a few lessons. Listening to those lessons inspired Prabha to learn classical music.

Her music training was in the Guru-shishya tradition. She learnt classical music initially from Vijay Karandikar. She then learnt from Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar from the Kirana school for advanced training. She acknowledges the influence of two other greats, Ustad Amir Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, on her gayaki.

While studying music, Prabha finished college courses in science and law to receive degrees in both of those disciplines. She later also earned a Ph.D. in music. Her doctoral thesis was titled Sargam, and pertained to the use of sol-fa notes in Indian classical music.

Academic and Musical qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science : Ferguson College, University of Pune.
  • Bachelor of Law : Law College, University of Pune.
  • Sangeet Alankar (Master of Music) : Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal.
  • Doctor of Music – research on Sargam.
  • Western Music Theory Grade-IV : Trinity College of Music, London.
  • Training in North Indian Classical Vocal Music: Traditional ‘guru-shishya paramparaa’ system: under Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar from Kirana gharana.
  • Formal training in Kathak dance-style.


Prabha Atre is currently one of the senior vocalists in the country representing the Kirana Gharana. She has contributed to popularizing Indian classical vocal music at global level. She is competent in different musical genres such as KhayalThumriDadraGhazal, geet, Natyasangeet, and bhajans. She had a short stint as a singing stage-actress in the early days of her career. She played her roles in a line-up of Marathi theatre classics, which included socials and mythologicals like Sanshay-Kallol, Maanaapamaan, Saubhadra and Vidyaharan.


  1. Maru BihagKalavatiKhamaj thumri
  2. Niranjani – Puriya KalyanShankaraBasant
  3. Anant Prabha – LalitBhinna ShadjaBhairavi thumri
  4. BageshreeKhamaj thumri
  5. JogkaunsTodi, thumri
  6. Malkaunsdadra
  7. Chandrakauns
  8. Madhukauns
  9. MadhuvantiDesi
  10. YamanBhairav
  11. Shyam KalyanBihagRageshree thumri
  12. Unique experience with Dr. Prabha Atre – ghazal and bhajan recordings from live concerts from the 1970s.


Prabha Atre has authored books on the various aspects of music that are especially relevant to the present day performance. Her Doctoral thesis on ‘Sargam’ or the use of sol-fa names as musical material, which is perhaps a pioneering work on the subject, bears testimony to this. Her first book `Swaramayee’ which is a compilation of many of her articles on music and has bagged the Maharashtra State Govt. Award in 1989 is a classic example of her analytical approach and original thinking. Her second book `Swaralee’ published in 1992 also received great accolades. Madhya Pradesh Govt. Hindi Granth Academy has published Hindi translation of `Swaramayee’ and ‘Swaralee’ with a view to take these books to Hindi knowing music lovers. Her books ‘Swaranginee’ and ‘Swaranjanee’ carries more than 400 popular compositions in classical and light classical music. A book in English ‘Enlightening the Listener – Contemporary North Indian Classical Vocal Music Performance’ (accompanied with a CD) has achieved its objective in helping the global music lovers to understand and appreciate the Indian art music. A book in English about music and musicians ‘Along the Path of Music’ is also released. A book of poems in Marathi `Antahswar’ by Dr. Atre brings out a different aspect of her creative personality. 4th edition of Swarmayee and 3rd edition of Suswaralee (swaralee) is Published in 2011.


  • More than 500 pieces in khyaaltaranathumridadraTappabhajan-geet-ghazals[citation needed].
  • Book of popular compositions by Dr. Atre Swarangini and swaranjanee are published and still very popular.
  • She has also invented new Raags such as Apurva Kalyan, Darbari Kauns, Patdeep-Malhar, Shiv Kali, Tilang-bhairav, Ravi Bhairav, Madhur-kauns etc. which are now popularly sung and played all over.
  • Music compositions adapted to full-length dance programme `Nritya Prabha’ – choreographed by the famous Bharatanatyam danseuse Sucheta Bhide Chaphekar.
  • Music composition adapted for jazz by Susanne Abbuehl from Holland.
  • Music composed for musical-dramas and Sangeetikas.

Music-related activities

  • Prabha Atre has been teaching music, performing lecture-demonstrations, and writing on the topic of Indian classical music.
  • A former Assistant Producer with the All India Radio.
  • A’ Grade – All India Radio Drama Artist (Marathi and Hindi).
  • Main female role in Professional Musical Dramas.(Sangeet Natak and Sangeetika)
  • She has been a visiting professor at a few institutions in the West, including the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. Visiting Professor at the Music conservatory –Montreux Switzerland, Visiting Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, Indo-American Fellowship for studying research materials used in Ethnomusicology at theUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles, Visiting Professor at the University of CalgaryAlbertaCanada.
  • Appointment as `Special Executive Magistrate’ by the Government of Maharashtra in recognition of services to the cause of Music
  • Professor and Head of the Dept. of Music, S.N.D.T. Woman’s University, Mumbai.
  • Around 1992, Prabha started an annual Pandit Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar Sangeet Sammelan music festival. The festival takes place annually in December inMumbai.
  • Chief Music Producer and Director for `Swarashree’ Recording Company since 1981
  • Member of the Advisory Panel of the Central Board of Film Censors, Mumbai 1984
  • President ‘Gaan Vardhan’ – a well-known music organisation, Pune, for the past 22 years.
  • ‘Dr. Prabha Atrre Foundation’ was registered in May 2000.
  • Prabha established some years ago Swaramayee Gurukul in Pune. This institution amalgamates traditional guru-shishya style of teaching music and contemporary classroom teaching.


Prabha has been giving private lessons to students since 1969. Her noted disciples includes Sarala Madhusudhan Desai, Ragini Chakravarthy, Asha Parasnis-Joshi, Padmini Rao, Veena Kulkarni, Chetana Banawat, Arati Thakur, Ashwini Modak and Shri. Atindra Sarvadikar.


In 1976, Prabha received the Acharya Atre Award for music. Jagatguru Shankaracharya conferred the title “Gaan-Prabha” on her. The Government of India conferred on her “Padma Shree” in 1990 and “Padma Bhushan” in 2002.The first four months of 2002 was very special for her, she received four awards, including the Padma Bhushan. She received aSangeet Natak Academy Award in 1991 as an appreciation for her outstanding role in enriching, preserving and popularizing the Indian art, music. The other prominent awards on her credit are Giants International Award, Rashtriya Kalidas samman, Tagore Akademi Ratna Award announced from the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2011, Dinanath Mangeshkar award, Hafiz Ali Khan Award, Felicitation by Global Action Club International, Govind-Lakshmi award, Godavari Gaurav Puraskar, Dagar Gharana Award, Acharya Pandit Ram Narayan Foundation Award Mumbai, Ustad Faiyyaz Ahmed Khan Memorial Award (Kirana Gharana), ‘Kala-Shree 2002’, `P.L. Deshpande Bahuroopi Sanman’, Sangeet Sadhana Ratna Award, ‘Lifetime achievement’ award by the Pune University, Mahim Ratna Award by Shivsena Mumbai, Felicitation by the Mayor of Mumbai, Name included in national and international biographical works.

State government Award to her book Swarmayee.

From the year 2011 “Swarayoginee Dr. Prabha Atre Rashtriya Shaastreeya Sangeet Puraskar” instituted by Tatyasaheb Natu Trust and Gaanvardhan Pune.

  • Working as a committee member for several social, educational, cultural institutions.
  • Chairman of Rasta Peth Education Society – a leading educational association in Pune for the last 12 years.

External links

(Source: 09/2013 –

Raga Bhageshree – Khayal Style…


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