An Indian classical singer of the Kirana gharana Dr. Prabha Atre was born on 13 September 1932, to Abasaheb and Indirabai Atre in Pune. Her role for making Indian classical singing famous at global level is very important.
Her father was a strict teacher and it was the period, when singing was strictly prohibited in an upper-class, literate, elite families. Though from her childhood, she had a great inclination for music, but was not serious enough to choose it as her mission of life. However, when her mother got ill, someone suggested her (eight years old Prabha’s mother Indirabai) to learn some classical music that might help her regaining the health. Indirabai learnt a few lessons. But, see how one’s fortune takes him/her to the destined path! Merely listening to those lessons, Prabha’s heart started echoes to learn classical music.
Thereafter, Dr. Prabha Atre had her initial music training from Vijay Karandikar in the Guru-shishya tradition and then from Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar from the Kirana Gharana. Two classical music geniuses, Amir Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan also have greatly influenced. In her first recordings of Maru Bihag and Kalavati, we can clearly see Ustad Amir Khan’s influence.
Though, she was studying music at that time, yet Prabha never neglected college studies and so had degrees in science and law both from University of Pune. Consequently, she also presented her a Ph.D. thesis in music titled Sargam. It was about the implementation of sol-fa notes in Indian classical music. In addition, she is also trained in Kathak dance style.
She has invented new Raags like Apurva Kalyan, Patdeep-Malhar, Tilang-bhairav, Ravi Bhairav etc. She sings Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal, Natyasangeet, and Bhajans equally easily. Since 1969, she has also been working as a private music tutor.
For a short period in the grooming days of her career, Dr. Prabha Atre had worked as a singing stage-actress, in Marathi theater classics like Sanshay-Kallol, Maanaapamaan, Saubhadra and Vidyaharan. These days, Dr. Prabha Atre is one of the senior singers of the Kirana Gharana.
To perform in the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Sangeet Mahotsav, Pune is a dream for every artist. Since 2007, the festival ends with Dr. Prabha Atre’s classical singing .
Dr. Prabha Atre is also an author, with her following books on music
- Her first book `Swaramayee‘ has won the Maharashtra State Govt. Award.
- Her second book `Swaralee‘ is also praised greatly.
- Both these books are translated into Hindi by Madhya Pradesh Govt. Hindi Granth Academy.
- Her books ‘Swaranginee‘ and ‘Swaranjanee’ have +400 famous compositions in classical and light classical music.
- Her book in English ‘Enlightening the Listener – Contemporary North Indian Classical Vocal Music Performance‘ (with a CD) has gained a huge popularity in the global market.
- Prabha Atre’s other English book about music and musicians, ‘Along the Path of Music’ have also been widely read.
- Being a poet, she also has a book of poems in Marathi `Antahswar‘.
- As a composer, she has more than 500 pieces in khyal-tarana, thumri-dadra, Tappa, bhajan-geet-ghazals.
She has bagged various awards on national and international level. To name a few in them are Acharya Atre Award, “Gaan-Prabha” conferred Jagatguru Shankaracharya “Padma Shree”, “Padma Bhushan”, “Sangeet Natak Academy Award” etc.