An eminent exponent of Indian Classical Music, Biresh Roy was born in Calcutta in 1923. Endowed with a mellifluous voice and an innate sense of music, Roy picked up his first whiff of music from his father. In 1933, the 10 year-old Biresh attracted the attention of the renowned maestro Girija Shankar Chakravarty. The legendary musician foresaw a stupendous musical career stretching out before the talented child. The maestro started teaching him music in the traditional (Guru Shishya-Parampara) style, keeping Biresh under his wings in his house. Biresh quickly gained recognition in a few years. From 1939, Biresh began to broadcast and perform regularly.
In spite of his early success, Roy never rested on his laurels. He continued to apply himself diligently to music and mastered different forms of classical music such as, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Tappa, Khayal and Thumri. The last two were his forte. His style of singing the Thumri enchanted audiences over and over again.
Pandit Biresh Roy performed all over India, as well as in other countries like Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany. He also had broadcast musical performances. He worked in Germany as a guest musician of the West German government in 1979. For some time, he was also the Principal of the Classical Music department of ‘Gita Bitan’ – a well-known music institution in India. He joined ITC SRA in the late 80s as a Guru and remained with the Academy till 2008.
He approached music with a spirit of love and devotion. Concentrating on the notes of a melody, he conjured up the visions that lie deep within it. Music, according to him, was also a gateway to spiritual realisation. Biresh da passed away on 28th March 2013 at his residence in Kolkata following an illness.
Following is an excerpt from a performance at ITC SRA where he was accompanied on tabla by Shri Sandip Ghosh and on harmonium by Pandit Chandrabhan Sreesundar.