Her father and Guru Acharya Allauddin Khansaheb used to say that Annapurna Devi played the Surbahar like she was Goddess Saraswati herself. Her disciple, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee called her “musicians’ musician,” while others perceive her as the quintessence of the philosophy, technique, artistry and music of the Maihar gharana.
Smt.Annapurna Devi studied Singing, Sitar and Surbahar in the Dhrupad style under her father Acharya Allauddin Khan Saheb. After an exemplary career as a Surbahar player she dedicated her life to teaching.
As a teacher she is exacting, uncompromising, infinitely patient and committed. One of her distinctive qualities as a teacher is that she can intuit the level and need of her disciples and teach accordingly to bring out the creative best in each of them.
There is something unique about her music. Even when she plays a single straight note without embellishment, it sounds extraordinary.
Smt. Annapurna Devi was awarded ‘Padma Bhushan’ by the Government of India in 1977. She received the Sharangdev Fellowship by Sur Singar Samsad in 1988 and Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1991.
She was a professor of Music at the NCPA.
Annapurna Devi is the president of Acharya Allauddin Music Circle, Mumbai, dedicated to preserving and promoting Indian classical music.
Some of her disciples of national and international fame are Ustad Bahadur Khan, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, Ustad Aashish Khan, Shubhendra Shankar, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Nityanand Haldipur, Basant Kabra, Sudhir Phadke, Pradeep Barot and Suresh Vyas.