Pandit M. Venkatesh Kumar is an Indian Hindustani classical vocalist. Born in Lakshmipura, in the Dharwad region of northern Karnataka, he is renowned for his vibrant, classical singing style.
In 1968, when Venkatesh was 12, he was taken by his uncle to the Veereshwara Punyashrama in Gadag (central Karnataka), run by Puttaraja Gawai—the religious saint and Hindustani musician. Venkatesh lived and studied at the ashram for the next 11 years. Under Gawai, Venkatesh learned Hindustani vocal in the Gwalior and Kirana gharana styles.
Venkatesh got his first break in 1993; 14 years after he left the ashram. He was invited by the great Pandit Bhimsen Joshi to perform at the Sawai Gandharya Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune that year. Since then, Venkatesh has featured in many National musical programs, and has been an “A” grade artist of All India Radio since 1988.
Venkatesh’s vast experience and deep-rooted commitment has made him a name to reckon with. He has performed at all major music festivals in India and abroad, has received multiple awards, and has several Devotional and Classical albums to his credit. Venkatesh currently teaches music at the Karnatak College of Music, Dharwad. He also received a post graduate degree in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.