Born on 13 January 1938 in Jammu, Shri Shivkumar Sharma received his training in Hindustani music from his father Umadutt Sharma, a disciple of Pandit Bade Ram Das of the Benaras gharana. Shri Shivkumar is today synonymous with the Santoor, which he has helped to establish as an instrument used in Hindustani classical music. This has enriched Hindustani music and attracted new artists to this instrument of Kashmir. He has performed extensively in India and abroad.
Shri Shivkumar Sharma is credited with introducing useful innovations in Santoor technique. He is also a composer of distinction, and has made a contribution to contemporary film music. The Films Division has produced a documentary film, Antardhwani, on his work. He has been imparting training to younger musicians for many years and has been Visiting Professor at the Jazz Conservatory in Oslo, Norway. He has lectured at several universities in India and overseas.
For his pioneering work in music, Shri Shivkumar Sharma has received a number of honours. These include the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986), the Padma Shri (1991), and the Padma Vibhushan (2001). Honorary doctorates have been bestowed on him by the University of Jammu (1991) and the Indira Gandhi National Open University (2008).
Shri Shivkumar Sharma is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to Indian music.