Bhushan Nagpal    11 Feb 11 13:49 IST

NEW DELHI: Renowned Santoor Maestro and Music Composer Abhay Rustum Sopori has been awarded the prestigious �Jammu & Kashmir State Award', the highest Civilian Award of the State, for the year 2011 in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of music.

Thus Abhay, son of well-known santoor player Pandit Bhajan Sopori - becomes the youngest ever recipient of the award. The announcement was made by the J&K Governor on 26 January, the 62nd Republic Day of India.

The state government selected 11 persons for the State Awards in recognition of their contribution in different fields. They will be given cash award of Rs. 51,000, a medal and a citation certificate. Other awardees include Krishna Kumari (Traditional Folk Artist) for performing arts; and Mohammad Saleem Pandit and M.K Bangroo awarded for outstanding Mediapersons. The awards will be presented later this year.

Grandson of the Great Master Musician of the State, hailed as the �Father of Music' in J&K, Pandit Shamboo Nath Sopori, Abhay has participated in various prestigious festivals across the world and has around 30 notable albums and releases to his credit. A graduate in Management and Computers with Masters in Music, Abhay was born in Srinagar and inherited a profound sense of music from his fabled Sufiana Gharana of Kashmir – the exclusive traditional Santoor family – with its roots spanning nine generations over 300 years.

Abhay has carried forward the great legacy of his family in propagating and promoting the Indian culture globally. His efforts and initiatives have been path-breaking creating a new generation of music connoisseurs and artists, and bringing more recognition to the art and culture of the State at national and international level. He has been the youngest ever musician to compose and conduct orchestras and folk ensembles, and has also been the youngest recipient of various awards.

These include the prestigious Best Citizens of India Award 2010, Sangeet Shree Award 2010, Bharat Shiromani Award 2009, Ma Sharika Samman 2009, National Dogri Award 2008, Sangeet Bhushan Award 2007, Excellence Award 2007, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award – Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2006, Young India Award 2006, Juenjo Korean International Heritage Award 2005 and Kalawant Samman 2004, amongst others.

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