Lyon Leifer, the senior
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.