Ravi Shankar to Receive Asia Society’s Cultural Legacy Award at Nov. 1 Event


Asia Society will present its Cultural Legacy Award to legendary sitar maestro Ravi Shankar at an awards ceremony and film screening on November 1. The event will feature remarks by Special Guest Philip Glass, and the award will be presented to Shankar by Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. The awards ceremony will be followed by a screening of the re-release and DVD premiere of the 1971 film Raga: A Film Journey into the Soul of India, which documents Shankar's life in the late 1960's and 1970 as he revisited his guru Bab Ustad Allauddin Khan and performed across Europe and the United States, initiating Western audiences into the world of classical Indian music.

According to Asia Society Cultural Programs Director Rachel Cooper, "The Cultural Legacy Award recognizes Ravi Shankar's role as a great and generous musician—in bringing Indian music to the US; in expanding his music to explore other musical genres; in educating the Western public and most personally for us at the Asia Society, for starting our own artistic journey of presenting the finest Asian performing artists."

Shankar came to the US as a sitar maestro for the first time in 1957 (Shankar had come to the US years earlier as a dancer in the dance troupe of his brother, Uday Shankar) as the first performer the Asia Society presented following its founding in 1956. The Society also presented Shankar for his Carnegie Hall debut in 1961, and subsequently arranged for a US tour.

"Shankar is a true virtuoso who stayed true to the classical form. At the same time he took the risk to experiment with different genres, working perhaps most famously with Yehudi Menuhin, George Harrison and the Beatles, and Philip Glass," says Cooper. "He came to the US at a time when there was little popular awareness and openness to Indian classical music and sought to educate audiences about the form. We are thrilled to be presenting him with the Cultural Legacy Award."

To view a slideshow of Ravi Shankar through the years, click here

Event details:
November 1, 2010
6:30 - 9:00 pm
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street)
New York City

To arrange coverage, please contact pr@asiasoc.org or call 212-327-9271.

Members of the public may purchase tickets by calling 212-517-2742 or visiting https://tickets.AsiaSociety.org. Tickets: $10 Asia Society members; $12 students with ID and seniors; $15 nonmembers.

For event listing information, and to view a trailer of the film: http://asiasociety.org/events-calendar/ravi-shankar-award-ceremony-and-film-screening

Photo, above: Ravi Shankar in Asia Society's Rockefeller Collection in 1963. (Asia Society)