To be able to understand and realize Dhrupad, a complete musical perception of this living art is necessary. Of the many distinct styles of classical vocal music performed today in North India, Dhrupad is believed to be the oldest of these styles, older than the better known khayal and thumri, and it has contributed much to the development of the younger vocal styles and to the parallel traditions of north Indian instrumental music.
Pandit Ritwik Sanyal (born 1953) is an outstanding Dhrupad Singer, Guru, Professor, Composer and Writer.
During the last 40 years, he has immensely and extensively contributed to the propagation and revival of Dhrupad in almost every part of India and in around 50 countries of all the continents across the globe. This includes his performances and workshops in around 600 prestigious and prominent concert platforms and various music organizations and institutions. From grass- root levels to apex professional platforms, his untiring work and achievements in music speaks of his quality and personality.
He is 'top' grade artist of All India Radio/Doordarshan and is Ex-Professor of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
This musical journey started at a very young age with his mother Mrs Ranu Sanyal, writer and vocalist followed by rigorous training of Dhrupad in Mumbai with Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar(1963-1974).
Academic studies of philosophy nurtured his mind and soul for concepting and experiencing beauty from his illustrious father Prof. B. S. Sanyal of IIT Mumbai. The practice (prayog) of Dhrupad got confirmation in the theory of Music (Saṅgīta Śāstra) with his Ph.D research under Prof. Premlata Sharma.
He assimilated the Dagar tradition of Dhrupad and evolved a distinctive style of his own advanced technique of Alap, Dhrupad, voice culture and pedagogy, both traditional and institutional. Apart from the judicious blend of the two Ustads, he cultivated the fineness of the Raga and Dagarvani and evolved an original style in performance that highlights several musical layers of variation evoking the profundity of Dhrupad.
He has also created and infused new dimension to Dhrupad performances such as Sanskrit verses, modern poetry, inclusion of cello, flute, vichitra vina with voice, Dhrupad choir and fusion.