Sumitra Guha brings to music a rare stream of singing that aspires her listeners to a better quality of life. Her concerts are counted as 'experiences' that bear the stamp of exclusive musical devotion. Her first tutor was her mother, who imbued music with a spiritual fervor. At the age of 11, she began her formal education in Carnatic Music under the acclaimed S. R. Janakiraman (Sangeetha Vidwan). After completing her pre-university course, Sumitraji went to Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan to do her graduation in Philosophy. It is here that she found herself getting drawn to Hindustani Music. In 1964, Sumitraji started learning Hindustani Classical Music under none other than Pt. A. Kanan and Vidushi Malobika Kanan. She assimilated both their styles in her music, and later received instruction from Pt. Sushil Kumar Bose, the accomplished disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. She thus became the first Andhra woman musician to sing Hindustani Classical. She sings Annamacharya kirtanas in Hindustani Style and Tirumala Tirupathy Devasthanam has recorded her Annamayya Sankirtanas in 1986.
Sumitraji attained the Top Grade of "Vidushi" in 1995. In 1972 she was awarded a Gold Medal by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams at Tirupati at her very first public concert while still a student. She received another Gold Medal at the All India Vaggeykar Utsavams at Bhadrachalam. In 1991, Dishari, the West Bengal Journalists Association, conferred on her the Best Vocalist of the Year for 1990. And in 1995, the Central Production Centre made a documentary, called "Ek Mulakat" on her evolution as a musician. She was awarded the Sangeet Kala Ratna by the Sangeet Kala Kendra, Agra , at the Vishnu Digambar Samaroh in October 97. The Asian Academy of Television and Acting has recently awarded her for her contribution to Indian Music. In year 2006 she received the Best Music Teacher at the Sangam Kala Group National Music Awards 2006 sponsored by Hero Honda and the Pt. Gama Maharaj Smriti Samman - 2006. She was awarded the Rashtra Bhushan Samman by Vishwa Jagriti Mission in October 2007 and on 30th March 2008 DTA Excellence Award for Promotion of Fine Arts by the Delhi Telegu Academy.
Sumitraji has also recorded for the archives of Sangeet Natak Academy and the National Channels of AIR and Television. Her cassettes in India have been distributed by the Atlantis Co. and HMV. She has also brought out several CDs abroad for the Indian Archives in New York, Eye Foundation of North America, the MMY Movement Music Foundation and in India for the Marter’s Music Co., G M Records and so on.Sumitra Guha has performed all over India in several Radio Sangeet Sammelans, National programmes, private concerts (Harballav Music Festival – Jallandhar, Saptak – Ahmedabad , Golden Jubilee Festival of Sangeet Natak Akademi – Hyderabad, Concert at the feet of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba – Puttaparthy, Spirit of Unity Concerts – Srikakulam, Maharana Kumbh Festival – Udaipur, Maghotsav – Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai, Times Music Festival – Kolkata, Navratri Festival – Mysore, Delhi International Arts Festival, to name a few) and held workshops in various colleges and universities. She has virtually toured all the continents of the world, mesmerizing audiences with her melodious voice and her soulful renditions.
Her performances abroad include notable concerts at the Musée Guimet (Paris, France in September ’06), Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (UK), Kennedy Center (Washington DC in May ’07), Kabir Cultural Society (Montreal in June ’09) prestigious universities (covering South-East Missouri State University, MIT (Boston), Brown & Wales University, Sackler Music Hall at the Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, to name a few), various Temples, Churches, Synagogues and large world festivals (IL SACRO ATTRAVERSO L’ORDINARIO at Turin in September ’06, World Music Festival at Istanbul). Apart from the sheer number of performances abroad covering countries in North America, Europe, West Asia, South-east Asia, Mauritius and Africa, Sumitraji has demonstrated a unique capability to touch the human heart. She has also done Fusion Concerts and recording with western musicians.Besides a performing artist Sumitra Guha is now an institutionalist. She has founded the Sumadhur Hansadhwani School of Music where music is imparted in the Guru Shishya Parampara style. Some of her students are now graded musicians with the All India Radio. Sumitraji has done a series on “Tribute to the Musical Saints of India” and organized concerts highlighting the contribution and philosophy of a saint each year (like Saints Surdas, Kabir, Brahmanand and Meera). She has also touched other themes like “National Integration Through Music”, “Gurupranaam” and “Harmony, Sur & Taal”. Perhaps, Sumitraji’s musical talent, divinity and blessing can be summed up with one quote from one of her concert reviews in a leading Indian daily: "Not only human hearts, but stones could also melt".