Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was born on 13th January 1938 in a Kashmiri brahmin family. He obtained his primary education from his father, Pt. Umadutt Sharmaji. His family was traditionally steeped in music. Initially, he trained both in the Santoor as well as the Tabla. From the tender age of 5 years, he was trained by Bade Ramdasji of the Benaras Gharana in Tabla and vocal music.
At the age of eight, he was drawn towards the Santoor. His father worked for the Jammu Radio Station. Panditji was well acquainted with the Sufi style of Santoor vaadan. Taking great pains, and with regular riyaaz, he started playing the Santoor, incorporating new changes. After coming to Mumbai, he played the Santoor in films. He directed musical compositions in films along with Shri Hariprasad Chaurasiya under the banner of ‘Shivhari’. His Santoor vaadan can be heard in the film ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje’.
His most significant contribution to music has been towards the popularization of the folk classical instrument ‘Santoor’. Panditji made it world famous and gave it an important place in classical music. He put in great efforts to improve and enhance the sound of Santoor. He carried out experiments with Santoor for many years to make it more suitable for his classical technique. He made it bigger in size and made changes to the aadghat (way it is played). As a result, reverberation (gunjan) and sweet melody was heard and it now became possible to recreate the swars in a regular fashion. By using 29 bridges in place of 25, he played four more swars on the Santoor. He is also known for creating a technique for smoother gliding between music notes in order to imitate human voice quality. He created a new form of resting on the swars and an independent style of Dhrupad Gaayaki. He also invented his new method of tuning the Santoor. By performing Santoor vaadan at numerous venues, he made the instrument internationally famous. He successfully performed duets on the Santoor with renowned artists such as Ustad Bismillah Khan (Shehenai), Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (Sarod) and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia (Flute).
2. Tansen Puraskaar (Govt. of Madhya Pradesh)
3. Dinanath Mangeshkar Puraskaar