Baluji Shrivastav, OBE, Inner Vision Orchestra

What I wanted from the Inner Vision Orchestra was for all the blind people to be able to play with professional musicians on the same level…to prove to all sighted people that we can be independent.

Baluji Shrivastav is one of the greatest instrumentalists India has ever produced, excelling in sitar, surbahar, dilruba, pakhavaj and tabla. Firmly established in the Hindustani classical tradition he is happy to explore music in all its forms. He has written and performed music for films, theatre and television, including ‘Million Dollar Arm’ for Disney. He composes with an Indian classical perspective in contemporary music and has created a series of commissioned works in this style.

Born in Usmanpur, a largely poor district of Utter Pradesh in New Delhi and blind from the age of 8 months, Baluji is mostly self-taught, bar some initial instruction at blind school. While still a child Baluji supported his whole family touring India playing with the National Ballet Troupe. He later graduated from Lucknow University with a B.A. in Vocal Studies and Sitar, a further B.A. in Tabla and an M.A. in Sitar from Alahabad University.

Baluji credits his success to a combination of natural talent, hard work and passion for music. His quest for knowledge has dispelled many of the myths that surrounds being a blind musician and the process of mastering Indian classical music. It is through that passion that he and his wife Linda were driven to set up the Inner Vision Orchestra, to ensure that other blind musicians could have the chance to play with professional musicians.

Having had so many wonderful opportunities to work with famous artists and producers, I am really passionate that the many talented blind musicians should be afforded those same opportunities.

Tags: People, Science, Ophthalmology