Gaurang L. Doshi
“Maihar Gharana” is a huge tree, and Gaurang, through his concert performances, represents one of its richest branch; the lineage of Pandit Laxmikant Doshi.
Born in Rajkot, India, in 1969, Gaurang has learned from his father and Guru Dr. Laxmikant Doshi since he was 8 years old (late 1970's). Initially he started with the Sitar, but then realized that Sarod was the instrument of his choice. He was told by his Guru to learn “Tabla” so that he can play the Sarod. Gaurang has done his bachelors in Tabla with a clear intention of playing the Sarod. Gaurang has also completed his "Sangeet Visharad" (6 years of study) with the Sarod. However his real training began after he finished his college studies. After coming first in “Omkarnath Sangeet Contest” he has played in several major concerts in India, U.K. and USA. Gaurang has performed at the famous Octagon Theater in Bolton (Greater Manchester, U.K.) in the prestigious "Sound waves of the Soul" concert series. He has also performed at "Kalke Kalakar" concert by Sur-Singar Samsad in Mumbai. In USA he has regularly performed in the Triad at Wake Forest University Brendle Recital Hall and at Music Recital Hall at UNC Greensboro. He has also performed in concerts at Davidson College and several other concerts in U.K. and USA. His albums “Evening Melodies” and “Flowers from the Maestro’s bouquet” have received excellent responses and are available here. Gaurang successfully expresses the richness of the Raag through his gradual expansion of the Raag and demonstrates his control over the rythm through his electrifying Gat's, Taans and Jhala.
Gaurang tries to pass on the rich heritage gifted to him by his Guru and Father and other senior musicians of the "Maihar Gharana" by teaching Sarod, Sitar, Tabla & Indian Classical Music in Winston Salem since 2006 and provides master lessons and lecture demonstrations in Universities. He has given several Radio interviews on All India Radio (India's National Radio Broadcast) and N.P.R., USA. His Television interview can be seen on Fox network. Gaurang has a broad based student base which involves students from several states of USA.
Gaurang and Dr. Doshi always made it clear that they were never, and are NOT entertainers. For them, their music is a age old sacred tradition and is equivalent to any other branches of study like Medicine / Technology / Architecture etc. If their music did not receive the attention it rightfully deserved, they did not perform. Gaurang holds on to this tradition even as of now.
Gaurang has started the first Indian Classical Music ensemble course in any university in North Carolina at UNCG. Since Fall 2016 he is teaching that course at UNCG. He has authored the book "Understanding Indian Classical Music" which is used as a text book in higher education in USA. In 2017 Gaurang received the "Avsar" award for his contributions in the field of Indian Classical Music. The award was presented by Kutchi Dashashrimali Vanik community in their World Community Conference in Bhuj, India.
Apart from being born in a Musical Family, Gaurangs parents understood the importance of formal education and because of which, Gaurang has done his post graduation in Computer Engineering and is currently working as a IT Project Leader at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte.
Pandit Dr. Laxmikant Doshi (1934-2014) was born in the small town of Mandvi, India. His parents moved to Karachi (in the then undivided India) where he received his first music lessons. Before the partition of India in 1947, they again moved back to India and resided in the town of Rajkot, where Dr. Doshi lived his rest of life. Coincidentally, this was the same city in which Mahatma Gandhi completed his schooling.
Since his childhood, Dr. Doshi had an inclination towards music. Indian Classical Music is a voice based system, and Dr. Doshi trained in vocal music for 9 years. During that time, he also taught Indian Classical Music. During the early 1950’s, one small incident changed his life- the opening of the All India Radio station in Rajkot. It was traditional to invite major artists for live performances at the opening ceremony. Ustaad Allaudin Khan, the founder of “Maihar Gharana” was invited for a Sarod recital. Allaudin Khan's students included his son Ali Akbar Khan (Ali Akbar College of Music in California), the famous Sarod player, sitar players like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and his daughter Maa Annapurna.
At a young age, Dr.Doshi heard Allaudin Khan playing the Sarod, felt amazing peace inside his heart, and immediately knew his purpose in life. He wanted to learn the Sarod. But where to start? There were no Sarod players in the entire state. Some knew a bit about it, but they were not performers. Still, he started from them and then went to study Sarod from Pandit Damodarlal Kabra in Jodhpur, who was a disciple of Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan. And there started the journey which changed the entire musical landscape in the state of Gujarat.
Going to Jodhpur was tough in those days; there was no proper transportation, and work and family responsibilities made it difficult. Still, he went and stayed with the Guru for 2 weeks, every few months. Sarod is a difficult instrument; while learning, once there was a time, when he wanted to leave the Sarod, thinking that he would never meet his Guru’s expectations and reach the great heights, which he had dreamt of. There was no purpose in playing, just for the sake of playing. But his fellow students and the Guru convinced him to stay for few more years. Few more years, and then he never looked back! The Sarod started responding to every stroke of his, and he found the same one to one intimacy with his Sarod, as most musicians do with their own musical instrument.
Out of the last 60 years, for 40 years, he was the only recognized Sarod player in the state of Gujarat, who performed in concerts, till his students started playing in concerts.
After starting as a professor, he ended his career as a Principal & Director of Sangeet Natya Bharti in Rajkot. During his time, he has played in all major concerts in India. He has also performed in the USA before few years at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem. He was a regular performer on All India Radio (National Radio in India) and “Door Darshan” (National Television of India) performing as per the traditions of Maihar Gharana.
He has received several awards, from prestigious institutions like “Sur Mani” [The gem of notes], “Rajkot Gaurav” [Pride of Rajkot] etc. However the biggest award was, when he received the “Gaurav Puraskar” from the Governor of Gujarat, the highest honor given to a citizen in the state, for his contributions in the field of Indian Classical Music.
He always felt that his work would always be incomplete, without his students. He always treated his students like a part of his family, as per the traditions of Indian Classical Music. His numerous students currently teach and perform across different countries in the world, keeping the traditions of Indian Classical Music alive.
Being inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Doshi worked extensively towards ensuring that music reaches to all parts of society. As the audience would be aware, India had a caste system which was very rigid and Mahatma Gandhi worked towards eliminating all inequalities.
Dr. Doshi passed away on January 25, 2014. He is survived by his wife Malti Doshi who has always been a constant source of support throughout his 47 years of married life, and his son Gaurang.