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Goswami, Kshetramohan


Goswami, Kshetramohan (1813-1893) famous musician, concert pioneer, author of musical notations, and singer. Born in the village of Chandrakona in Midnapore, west bengal, he learned classical music from Ramshankar Bhattacharya of Vishnupur.

In 1853, Kshetramohan was appointed court musician to Jatindramohan Thakur, the zamindar of Pathuriaghata in Kolkata. It was during this time that he came into contact with his second guide and mentor, the famous lutanist of Beneras, Laksmiprasad Mishra, and learned instrumental music. During this time, under his leadership, a movement developed in Kolkata to encourage the teaching and practice of classical music, research in the area and the writing of texts on the subject.

Kshetramohan's major contribution to Indian music was his pioneering concerts based on India classical music. The first concert of this sort was arranged for a play called Ratnabali staged at the belgachhiya theatre. Kshetramohan himself conducted the orchestra. This union of Indian tunes and Western form appealed to the audience. Kshetramohan himself composed the music, which was later published as Aikatanik Swaralipi (Concert Notation) in 1868. In 1869 he published his second work, a book called Sangitsar, which paved the way for the practice of and research in Bangla classical music. His other books on music are Kanthakaumudi, Ashuravjani, Gitagovinda Swaralipi, etc. He also published magazines about music.

Kshetramohan was also an exponent of songs and music in the dhrupad mode, composing both Bangla and Hindi dhrupad songs. Unfortunately, most of these compositions have been lost for they were not compiled. Nevertheless, Kshetramohan's noteworthy contributions to Bangla classical music through his performances, publication of books and periodicals on music, and his implementation of musical notations have earned him everlasting fame.

Among his students who later achieved fame are Saurindramohan Thakur, krishnadhan banerjee, Kaliprasanna Bandyopadhyay. Kshetramohan remained attached to the court of Pathuriaghata. He was also the headmaster of the Banga Sangit Vidyalay (established in 1871) and Bengal Academy of Music (established in 1881 by Saurindramohan Thakur). Kshetramohan received the title of Sangit Nayak (leader of music/songs) and was also awarded the Swarnakeyur (golden armlet) by the latter institution. [Mobarak Hossain Khan]