I first met pandit Ravi Shankar in the early ’60s as he was starting to overpower the Western world with his divine music. He has since been an immense influence on generations of Indian musicians. I remember a concert at Carnegie Hall that went past midnight — the public just wouldn’t leave. He was also intensely curious about experimenting with other forms of music — thus his collaborations with musicians like Yehudi Menuhin, the Beatles and the New York Philharmonic. In the end my Raviji was always his true self, playing with the great Alla Rakha on the world’s stages, never straying from the strictest traditions of Indian classical music. We have truly lost a giant. His musical imprint and legacy will stay on forever.
Mehta is a former conductor of the New York Philharmonic
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