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Devendra Murdeshwar
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Profile >> Lyon Leifer

Lyon Leifer, the senior living disciple of the late Pt. Devendra Murdeshwar, became his disciple in 1965 after being named a Fulbright scholar. He had already received a degree in Western flute playing from the famed Juilliard School of Music in New York, and become a member of the St. Louis (Missouri) Symphony Orchestra, from which he resigned to take his Fulbright.

Pt. Murdeshwar imparted training that was both loving and painstaking over a period of five years, after which Leifer returned to his home in Chicago, USA. From that time he has maintained his interest in both bansuri and in Western classics. He is a leading flutist performing both raga music and a wide variety of Western classics.

Style / Achievements

Lyon Leifer organized his Guruji’s concert tour of North America during 1985, where Murdeshwarji gave some twenty concerts from coast to coast and in both Canada and the United States. At that time, Leifer performed as backup flutist on a number of these concerts.

In 1988 Lyon obtained a grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies to continue his study with Murdeshwarji and to expand into the realm of collecting vocal compositions from a number of veteran vocalists. With his Guruji’s blessings and good offices, Leifer was able to record extensive material of stalwarts such as Smt. Girija Devi, the late Ustad Yunus Hussein Khan, the late Pt. K.G. Ginde, and the late Pt. Ramesh Nadkarni. This resulted in a valuable collection of khayal and thumree compositions for study and archiving.

In 1997 Lyon published How to Play the Bansuri: A Manual for Self-instruction Based on the Teaching of Devendra Murdeshwar, a work conceived as guruseva. It has been accepted as both the first and most extensive work of its kind and has become a standard reference item for hopeful bansuri players, particularly in Western countries, and particularly for those intrigued by the intricacies and nuances of the Pannalal Ghosh tradition.

In 1999, Lyon made his most recent visit to India. At that time, he performed in numerous Mumbai venues as well as in a concert at New Delhi’s Habitat Centre. The latter was covered nationally on Zee TV. In 1999, he also received his final talim from Pt. Murdeshwar, who passed away in 2000.

Since 1999, Leifer has performed on bansuri in England, Turkey, China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Barbados, as well as in a number of venues across the United States.

In 2005, Lyon has again been awarded a Fulbright to India, as a senior research fellow. He will be in residency at Mumbai’s Sangit Mahabharati, collaborating with a number of Indian musicians, most particularly with Sangit Mahabharati’s Principal, Pt. Nayan Ghosh. At that time, Mr. Leifer intends to share many details of his training under Pt. Murdeshwar with members of the Pannalal Ghosh tradition, as well as to offer chamber music coaching and instruction in Western flute to all those who may be interested.