One of the oldest families of stringed instruments in the world, dating back at least to ancient Mesopotamia and known by many names, manifests in the contemporary English-speaking world as the hammered dulcimer. The trapezoidal wooden resonating box with many strings stretched over it, just waiting to be struck with mallets, evolved out of a plucked instrument called the psaltery and went on to become the ancestor of the piano.
In Indian classical music, the instrument became the 100-stringed vina or veena, more commonly known today as the santoor (the Persian santur is a close cousin). Sitar titan Ravi Shankar was also a master of the santoor, and his chief student on that instrument was Tarun Bhattacharya. Today, Bhattacharya is one of the leading exponents of Indian classical music, as well as a noted mathematician and anti-polio activist. He invented fine-tuners called mankas that enhance the calibration of the instrument, and developed revolutionary hammering techniques that have greatly expanded the types of melodies that can be played on the santoor.
On Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m., Tarun Bhattacharya comes to Woodstock’s Kleinert/James Arts Center for a santoor concert, backed by Prosenjit Poddar on tabla. Tickets cost $20 in advance from Pondicherry on the Woodstock Village Green. Reserved seating is available for $35. Credit card orders are accepted by calling Pondicherry at (845) 679-2926 or sending funds via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. The concert will benefit the Santoor Ashram in Bengal, which offers young musicians opportunities to study the Indian classical music tradition.
Tarun Bhattacharya, Friday, April 10, 8 p.m., $35/$20, Kleinert/James Arts Center, 34 Tinker Street, Woodstock; (845) 679-2926.