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Alain Daniélou

Photo: Sophie Bassouls.

Alain Daniélou playing the Vînâ, 1979

The French-born, polyhedric scholar Alain Daniélou first visited India in the early 1930s, later living there between Delhi, Varanasi and Madras until the 1960′s. During this time, he met and worked with the Nobel Laureate Tagore; he was a Sanskrit scholar, making important contribution to Indology with his writings on the ancient wisdom of the Veda, Hindu philosophy, and Shaivism. Also well versed in western music, he studied Indian music and was appointed professor at the Hindu University of Varanasi in 1949 and later, director of the College of Indian Music. He was one of the first Westerners to photograph India’s ancient temple complexes together with Raymond Burnier, their works on the temple of Khajuraho being exhibited at New York’s Metropolitan Museum and then later founded the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation in Berlin and Venice.


Among the various recognitions for his work, we cite: UNESCO-CIM Prize for Music (1981), the UNESCO Kathmandu Medal (1987), the Cervo Prize for new music (1991). He was appointed officer of the Legion of Honour, the National Order of Merit, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France) and Fellow of the National Indian Academy of Music and Dance.


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