Gangadharbua Pimpalkhare "the guru" of his class
Born in a middle class maharashtrian family in the year 1911, Gangadhar Pimpalkhare received training in Hindustani classical vocal music from Pt. Vinayakbuva Patwardhan. He was also fortunate to have had the opportunity of accompanying Pt. Sawai Gandharva on the tanpura in several performances and had imbibed from him the essence of that gharana. Gangadharbua’s own gayaki was thus a beautiful blend of the Gwalior and Kirana traditions. He was the Principal of the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha's school and was known for being a strict disciplinarian. He was a true teacher at heart and treated his students like his own children. A man of principles, he led a simple life based on independency, austerity and hard work.
Pt. Gangadhar-bua Pimpalkhare dedicated his entire life to imparting the knowledge of Hindustani classical music in the true Guru-Shishya parampara. He took it upon himself as a life-mission to not just propagate the musical knowledge and wisdom that had come to him through tradition but also to imbibe in his disciples the idea of music as a way of life. Pimpalkhare Guruji, as he was popularly known, was a generous and selfless Guru who taught with complete dedication, sincerity and devotion. His commitment to his students was unparalleled and somewhat a rarity even in those days. A hard-to-please task-master and a perfectionist, Guruji would not rest until he could bring out the exact nuance that he intended from his students.
Pimpalkhare Guruji had little interest in the limelight of the ‘performing stage’ and chose to be a ‘Guru’ who, over his 60 plus years of teaching, groomed about three generations of students! His greatest wealth was the large number of his dedicated disciples, both male and female, many of whom eventually went on to become celebrated artists themselves. Vidushi Padma Talwalkar,Pt Vijay Koparkar, Dr Ram Deshpande, Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Madhuri Joshi, Pushkar Lele, Rahul Deshpande, Gauri Pathare, Dr. Saleel Kulkarni are just a few of his renowned disciples.
His work received acclaim through numerous awards including the Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Sangeet Shikshak Gaurav Puraskar in 1998 given by Bharatiya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Pune. He worked tirelessly till the age of 91 and passed away on 10th August 2003, leaving behind a rich legacy in the form of his numerous and eminent disciples.
In his memory, the Pandit Gangadharbuva Pimpalkhare Puraskar is given to a deserving young classical music exponent every year in the month of August. This Puraskar is instituted by Pandit Pimpalkharebua Smruti Samiti. Some of the recipients of the Puraskar are Mrunmai Siknis/Pathak, Ramakanth Gayakwad, Suranjan Khandalkar and Atul Khandekar. A 3-day music festival titled ‘Gandgadhar Swarotsav’ is organised by Shri. Amol Nisal, one of Guruji’s disciples in his remembrance.