Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the internationally renowned exponent of the bansuri or bamboo flute, surprisingly does not come from a long lineage of flautists. His father was a famous wrestler who had aspirations of his son following in his footsteps. The younger Chaurasia had an early love of music, however, and by the age of 15 was taking his first steps toward a lifetime as a performer by studying classical vocal with Pandit Raja Ram of Benares. Soon after, he heard a flute recital by Pandit Bholanath and was so impressed he changed his focus to studying the flute. When he was just 19, he got a job playing for All India Radio, Cuttack, Orissa. Within five years he was transferred to their headquarters in Mumbai, where he got additional exposure of performing in one of India's cultural centres and also studied with Shrimati Annapurna Devi, daughter of Ustaad Allauddin Khan of the Maihar School of Music. There he established the creative peak of his career, developing a style that was respectful of tradition, yet full of innovation. Over a lifetime of performances, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia has become one of India's most respected classical musicians, earning several awards, including the National Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy, which he won in 1984. In 1992, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman. In 1994, he was bestowed the Yash Bharati Sanman and in 2000, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. In the year 2000, he also received the Hafiz Ali Khan Award and the Dinanath Mangeshkar Award. He has collaborated with several western musicians, including John McLaughlin and Jan Gabarek and has also composed music for a number of Indian films. Panditji has performed throughout the world, winning acclaim from varied audiences and fellow musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and Jean Pierre Rampal. He has been appointed as Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in appreciation for the significant contribution he has made to spread culture in France and the rest of the world. He heads the World Music Department at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory and is one of the busiest and most sought-after contemporary musicians in the world today. He is also a dedicated teacher with several devoted art music students worldwide, many of whom are beginning to make their mark on the concert stage.