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Music Conference 2015
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
April 3, 4, 5
at The Regis College
Fine Arts Center
235 Wellesley Street, Weston MA 02493
(617) 725-4000
April 2015
Dear Friends:
On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Karyn and
I send warm greetings as you gather to celebrate for the Tenth
Annual LearnQuest Academy of Music’s Indian Classical Music
Music Matters
Music allows all of us to become citizens of the world. The
Indian Classical Music Conference features some of the very best
artists in Indian classical music in Hindustani and Carnatic Styles. We
are proud the conference is in the Bay State where it began nine
years ago.
We are proud to support
LearnQuest Academy Music Conference 2015
and applaud your commitment to keeping the traditions
of classical Indian music alive.
During your stay, we urge you to enjoy our wonderful outdoor
spaces, fantastic restaurants, and historic sites. Please accept our
best wishes for a successful and enjoyable event.
Thomas R. Burton III
Sahir Surmeli
Boston | London | Los Angeles | New York | San Diego | San Francisco | Stamford | Washington
Message from the Conference Chair
On behalf of LearnQuest Conference Committee 2015, it is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you
to the 10th Annual LearnQuest Music conference. After enduring this year’s severe and challenging
winter there seems to be no better way than music to rejoice the onset of spring. I hope you enjoy the
final three days of music LearnQuest humbly offers you.
This nine year collective journey of the LearnQuest Music Conference was only possible by all those who
came along to join this musical sojourn year after year. They include music lovers of the New England
area as well as from out of state, more than 300 musicians and scholars who shared their musical insights
and music with us over the past 9 years, our generous patrons and donors, the conference committee
members and hundreds of volunteers who got together every year to make this music conference a reality.
Among the musicians who have graced the conference by their performances and lectures over past
nine year include such eminent musicians as Dr. Balamurali Krishna, Late Vid. M.S. Gopalakrishnan,
Dr. Prabha Atre, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Imrat Khan, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pt. Rajan
& Sajan Mishra, Late Sri U. Sriniwas, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Rashid Khan, Vid. Aruna Sairam,
Vid. O.S.Thiagarajan, Gundecha Brothers, Vid. T. V. Sankara Narayanan, Pt. Swapan Chaudhary, Pt.
Anindo Chatterjee, Vid. Ashwini Bhide, Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Ganesh-Kumaresh, Pt. Shiv Kumar
Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain (in collaboration with World Music), Shashank Subramanyam, T. M.
Krishna and many more established as well as young and upcoming star performers.
This year’s conference consists of ten days of musical activities spread over a month during March and
April. The conference began with two kick-off concerts in early March with two Hindustani Baithak
concerts, Swati Panda (vocal) and Jawwad Noor (sitar) and two Carnatic vocal concerts by Uma Sankar
and Bhuvana Ganesh. They were followed by a partner event hosted by World Music on March 29th
featuring Ustad Zakir Hussain, Rakesh Chaurasia, Ganesh Rajagopalan and six Celtic musicians. The
conference continued with a series of four lecture demonstrations featuring Boston area musicians and
scholars Dr. George Ruckert, Dr. Rekha Menon, and Jerry Leake in collaboration with the area music
institutions Berklee College of Music, MITHAS at MIT and the New England Conservatory of Music.
As collaborating with local institutions is an important aspect of the conference, we are honored to
have collaborated with organizations and institutions such as MITHAS at MIT, Berklee College of
Music, The New England Conservatory of Music, World Music, The Museuam of Fine Arts, Boston
University and South Asia Center at Harvard University.
The uniqueness of this music festival is in presenting different styles of music – Carnatic, Hindustani,
Dhrupad, Fusion through performances (vocal, instrumental, and classical dance) and lecture
demonstrations over a week of activities.
This year we are honored to feature artists such as Dr. Kadri Gopalnath, Malladi Brothers, Abhishek
Raghuram, S. Sowmya, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Gundecha Brothers, Shashank Subramanyam, Ustad
Nishat Khan, Rupak Kulkarni and several other star performers.
The organization of the conference is only possible because of the several months of tireless work of
committee members. Last but not least we are grateful to our media partners India New England
News and Lokvani, and to our community partner organizations New England Kannada Kutta and
New England Marathi Mandal for their valuable support.
Pradeep Shukla
Chair, 10th Annual Learnquest Music Conference Committee
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.
I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” - Albert Einstein
Patron List
Anuradha Palakurthi Foundation
Suraja Menon Roychowdhury
Veena & Chintamani Gokhale
Mintz & Levin
Bhavana & Ajay Gallewale
Raj & Nalini Sharma
Host Families
We thank you for hosting artists and
opening your heart and home to support
the 2015 LearnQuest Music Conference
Amala and L. Mahadevan
Prabha and Sadashiv Nadkarni
Rucha and Prasad Deshpande
Jeyanthi and Lakshmikanth Ghatraju
Swati and Nanda Sinha
Rachael and Hiteshkumar Hathi
Pratibha and Ravi Torvi
Shubha Chungi
Bhanu Jayaraman
Sumana and Anand Rao
Usha and Sudhakara Rao
Gita and Raja Srinivasan
Pranoti and Mahesh Lachyankar
About LearnQuest
LearnQuest Academy of Music is a non-profit educational institution that provides
formal instruction in Indian Classical Music. Founded in December 1994, the academy
offers curriculum based instructions in several disciplines of Indian Classical Music.
LearnQuest is staffed by a team of accomplished and dedicated teachers of Indian
Classical Music. Since its inception in 1994, the academy has continually grown, gaining
recognition for its activities, and has received appreciation from the community it serves.
The academy periodically organizes workshops, lecture-demonstrations, seminars and
concerts by local artists as well as visiting musicians from India.
LearnQuest’s Mission
LearnQuest Acacemy of Music through its programs and activities seeks to:
t Create a supportive and nurturing environment for high quality instruction in music for
children and adults, contributing to the development of the whole self and adding to one’s
life an aesthetic dimension that is uplifting and fulfilling
t Expose the students and the community to the highest levels of musicianship and scholarship
through professional music performances, lectures and publications in various forms
t Support and encourage music scholarship, research and development of instructional
materials and technology to facilitate quality music education
t Highlight the multicultural aspect of music by bringing together the practitioners of diverse
music persuasions, contributing in turn toward social harmony through music
LearnQuest’s Public Service Activities
t Fund-raising concert by Ravikiran and Shashank for Tsunami Relief (2005)
t Fund-raising concert by students and local artists for Gujarat earthquake relief fund (2002)
t Co-sponsored concerts and lecture-demonstrations in collaboration with local community
organizations such as: MITHAS (MIT Heritage of Arts of South Asia), AID (Association
for India’s Development), IDRF (India Development Relief Fund), Meru Education
Foundation, Chinmaya Center, New England Hindu Temple
t Co-sponsored a music workshop on Carnatic music for western music students in Nashua, NH
t Free seminars and lecture-demonstrations on Indian and western music
Pre-Program Events
Saturday, March 7th
The Hall
7:00 pm  Swati Panda (Hindustani Vocal) & Jawwad Noor (Sitar)
Fine Arts Center Regis College
Friday, April 3rd
7:00 pm  Malladi Brothers Carnatic Vocal
w/ Sadagopan Kannan, Neyveli Narayanan
Saturday, March 14th
The Hall
7:00 pm  Bhuvana Ganesh & Uma Shankar Carnatic Kutcheri
Sunday, March 29th
Somerville Theatre
7:00 pm  Zakir Hussain and Celtic Connections Cross-cultural Fusion
Monday, March 30th
Berklee College of Music (David Friend Recital Hall)
1-3:00 pm  Ken Zuckerman Modal Improvisation
Tuesday, March 31
M.I.T. (Rm 4-237)
7:30-9 pm  Rekha Menon The coloring of Rasas - Visual Arts, Music and Dance
Wednesday, April 1st
New England Conservatory of Music (Rm G01)
9:20 pm  Indrani Mukherjee Hindustani Vocal
w/ Apuraba Mukherjee, Sanatan Goswami
Saturday, April 4th
10:40 am  Sanjeev Abhyankar Hindustani Vocal
w/ Ajinkya Joshi, Milimd Kulkarni
12:00 pm  Layavinyasam Carnatic Ensemble
w/ Amit Kavthekar, Sowmia Narayan, Kamala Kiran, Pravin Sitaran, Tarun Bangalore, Shivraman
1:50 pm  Gupta Brothers Hindustani Sitar & Sarod
w/ Arup Chattopathyay
3:55 pm  Abhishek Raghuram Carnatic Vocal
w/ Akkarai S. Subhalakshmi, Anantha R. Krishnan
6:15 pm  Gundecha Brothers Dhrupad Vocal
w/ Akhilesh Gundecha
9:00 pm  Shashank Carnatic Flute
w/ Akkarai S. Subhalakshmi, Sai Jiridhar
7:30-9:30 pm  Jerry Leake World Hand Percussion Instruments
Thursday, April 2nd
M.I.T. (Rm 4-163)
7:30-8:30 pm  George Ruckert Musical Instruments in India
Sunday, April 5th
11:00 am  Dattatreya Velankar Hindustani Vocal
w/ Amit Kavthekar, Ravi Torvi
12:50 pm  Dr. Sowmya Srinivasan Carnatic Vocal
w/ Sadagopan Kannan, Neyveli Narayanan
3:10 pm  Roopak Kulkarni Hindustani Flute
We apologize for inadvertent errors and omissions and we sincerely regret
any missing or changed information after the magazine went to print.
- The Magazine Team
w/ Hindole Majumdar, Akhilesh Gundecha
4:40 pm  Homage to Artists A/V Presentation Tribute
5:10 pm  Kadri Gopalnath Carnatic Saxophone
w/ A. Kanyakumari, B. Harikumar, Rajendra Nakod
7:30 pm  Nishat Khan Hindustani Sitar
w/ Gourias Shankar
Artist Profiles
Friday, April 3rd
Malladi Brothers (Vocalists duo)
Their musical intellect, melody & aesthetics
provide for a most scintillating concert. They
have sustained a classic and symbolic expression
of Carnatic music, bagging awards from premier
organizations including the prestigious premier
National Youth Music Title of Sangeetha
Yuva Puraskar by Sangeet Natak Akademi;
Isai Peroli by Karthik Fine Arts, Chennai;
title of Aasthana Vidwan of the
Avadhoota Datta Peetham,
Mysore, being the youngest to
receive the honor thus far; title
of Naadha Bhushanam from
Shanmuganandha Fine Arts,
New Delhi; title of Naadha
Mani from Kanchi Kamakoti
Peetam They have traveled
extensively all over India and
abroad (including several tours
of Europe, the USA, Canada
and Australia) promoting and
preserving the rich traditional
music they represent.
Vidwans Malladi Brothers Sreeramaprasad and
Ravikumar were born with a legacy and rich tradition
accrued through their grand father Sri Malladi Srirama
Murthy and through their father
Sri Suri Babu, a disciple of
Voleti Sri Venkateswarulu. They
have received additional
training from Sangeetha
Kalanidhi Sri Pada
Pinakapani and
his well-known
disciple, Sangeetha
Kalanidhi Nedunuri
Krishnamurthy. A
large repertoire of
Carnatic compositions
and possession of
vibrant and powerful
voices have made
Sreeram Prasad and
Ravikumar the most
sought after young
The Malladi Brothers are accompanied by:
Sadagopan Kannan
(aka Embar Kannan aka Kannan)
- Violinist
Embar Kannan is an accomplished violinist and is in the
forefront of violinists of the younger generation. His bowing
technique is of high quality, marked by sweetness and clarity.
Kannan is a disciple of Smt. A. Kanyakumari. Kannan is the
recipient of many awards and honors for both his solo and
his accompanying skills. He is an A grade artist of All India
Radio (AIR) and has played solo concerts and violin duets with
his guru. Kannan has accompanied many leading artists and
performed in India, USA, Europe, and the Far East.
The Malladi Brothers are also accompanied by:
Narayanan Rajagopalan
(a.k.a. Neyveli Narayanan)
– Mridangam
Hailing from a family of music connoisseurs at Neyveli,
Vidwan Neyveli Narayanan was initiated into the art of
Mrudangam playing at the young age of seven, under the
guidance of Sri S.K. Ganesa Pillai. He made his debut at
the age of 11 and ever since, he has been rising in his art by
furthering his horizons and making a mark in the field of
carnatic music. Intensive training under the Maestro Late
Thanjavur Sri Upendran brought about a great amount of
professionalism in Narayanan’s playing. His guru taught
him the intricacies and specialities of the Tanjore Style of
playing on the mrudangam. Narayanan is now blessed with
the rare opportunity of being one of the favourite disciples
of the Mrudangam Legend Padmabushan Umayalpuram
Sri K.Sivaraman. As an ‘A-TOP’ grade artist, Narayanan is
featured regularly by the All India Radio and TV networks,
including prestigious programs like South-Zone Hook-up,
Sangeetha Sammelan and National Programme of music.
Indrani Mukherjee
Indrani’s great artistic temperament and exceptional
aesthetic sensibility has left an indelible impression on
the minds of her audiences and critics alike. Indrani
hails from a family of musicians. At the age of 3, she
started learning under the guidance of her mother
Shikha Chatterje and her aunt Rita Roy; later around 5
years of age Indrani started learning under her maternal
grandfather Shri Sanjib Banerjee, a well known vocalist
of the Kirana Gharana.
Narayanan has performed and continues to
perform in all the leading venues in India and
widely abroad including the USA, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, UK, France, Germany,
Switzerland, Holland, Dubai, Muscat, Doha,
Abudhabi, Singapore, Malaysia and
Hongkong. He has participated in
many National and International
festivals. He teaches in India, the
USA, Canada and the UK.
In 1996 she was selected as a scholar of the prestigious
ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta and came
under the able guidance of Pandit Arun Bhaduri.
Indrani is learning Thumris and Bhajans from
Bidushi Purnima Choudhury, great exponent
of Thumri from Benaras Gharana. She also
got Taalim from the Great Guru Late
Pandit Ramashray Jha Ji of Allahabad.
Indrani is a regular performer in All
India Radio and Television. She is also
a graduate from Burdwan University.
Indrani acquired the degree of
“Sangeet Prabhakar” from Prayag
Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and
“Upadhyay” from Trailokya
Sangeet Parisad, Calcutta.
Artist Profiles
Friday, April 3rd
Indrani has performed in concerts in Calcutta, such
Bagbajar Alaapan, Sangeet Piyasi, Sovabazar
Sangeet Sammelan, Rajya Sangeet Academy (State
Music Academy), St Xaviers College, Oxford Book
Store (for Kolkata Book fair, 2005), Sangeet Research
Academy (Kolkata)” - for Home coming Festival, Akar
Prakar - Thumri concert for the Inauguration of Shri
Ganesh Haloi’s Painting exhibition - Benares, Weavers
Studio (Kolkata) - for Womens day concert, Etv and
Tara Bangla (TV shows), etc.
Indrani Mukherjee is also accompanied by:
Apurba Mukherjee
Other than Calcutta she has also performed in
BE College (Shibpur, Howrah), Sri Aurobindo
Ashram (Pondicherry), Sri Aurobindo Auditorium
(Auroville,Pondicherry), Indian Institute of
Fundamental Research (Bangalore), IIC (Ahmedabad),
India International Centre (Delhi), Kalidas Rangalaya,
Patna, Organized by Surtall, to celebrate 126th
birth anniversary of late Pandit Kanthe Maharaj
Ji, inaugurated by Pandit Kishen Maharaj Ji, “Kala
Prakash” in Varanasi, in memory of Late Guru Pandit
Ramasdhray Jha Ji, Sadaj Baithak- Delhi, Sangeet
Samaroh – Bhadohi, Concert in Raipur, to name a few.
Apurba Mukherjee is a bright and talented tabla player in
the world of Indian Classical Music. Apurba comes from
a musical family in Calcutta. He took his initial training
from Sri Shankar Mukherjee. Since 1989 he has been
learning from the celebrated maestro Pandit Shankar
Ghosh. Apurba is an Honours Graduate (B.Sc.) from the
University of Calcutta.
Academy Of Creative Arts
Apurba has performed in concerts in India, England,
France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Finland, Holland,
Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Norway, Chez,
Slovakia, Amman ( Jordan), Syria, Lebanon,
Azerbaijan and Canada.
Indrani Mukherjee is accompanied by:
Sanatan Goswami
His artistic accompaniment has been highly
appreciated by music lovers. Musicians he
has accompanied include Ustad Sayiuddin
Dagar (Dhrupad), Smt. Sanjukta Ghosh
(Vocal), Smt. Purnima Sen (Vocal), Sri
Kushal Das (Sitar), Sri Partho
Sarathi (Sarod), Sri Partha Bose (Sitar),
Sri Sanjoy Banerjee (Sitar), Sri Kaivalya
Kumar Gurav (Vocal).
Sanatan Goswami is an accomplished
harmonium accompanist who studied the art of
harmonium under the tutelage of Pt. Maharaj
Banerjee and Pt. V.G. Jog. Sanatan Goswami,
is not only a fine solo harmonim player,
but also a leading accompanist in the
Indian Classical Music arena. He has
accompanied distinguished artists
such as Smt. Girija Devi, Pt. Ajoy
Chakraborty, Pt. Rajan & Sajan
Mishra, Ustad Rashid Khan
and many other eminent
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Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Layavinyasam - Carnatic Ensemble
Dr. Pravin Sitaram
Dr. Sitaram hails from a family in Mumbai that is steeped in
Carnatic music tradition. Introduced to mridangam at the age
of 8, Pravin has learnt this art from his Guru, Late Shri P. S.
Parameswaran - a disciple of the legendary Palghat T. S. Mani
Iyer. He took advanced lessons with the late Palghat R. Raghu.
Pravin’s sensitive and unobtrusive approach to mridangam
accompaniment has been appreciated by one and all. He has
accompanied several artists of outstanding caliber and repute
including Sangeetha Kalanidhis Dr. R. K. Srikantan, Smt. R.
Vedavalli, and Madurai Shri T. N. Seshagopalan. He has also
accompanied Shri T. M. Krishna, Violin maestros – Shri G.
J. R. Krishnan, Lalgudi Smt. Vijayalakshmi, and Shri Mysore
Manjunath to name a few.
Shiva’s introduction to the music world is a classic case
of serendipity. Shiva was not drawn towards music until
2009 when a chance visit to the Milford, MA Gurudwara
changed the world for Shiva. Gurmatsangeet had this
profound impact.
For the next three years, Shiva religiously practiced
Gurmatsangeet by playing the flute alone on stage at the
Gurudwara before large gatherings, soon realizing that he
had the uncanny ability to identify Raagas - not by name,
not by the notes but by the sheer feel.
Thus began a musical journey!
With absolutely no training in music,
Shiva is a self-taught flautist and
plays the 8-hole Carnatic Flute in the
Hindustani style.
In addition, Pravin has accompanied
several visiting and local artists. Pravin
is a sought after mridangam teacher in
the Boston area. Several of his students
are now performing in the New England
Area. He has been a faculty member at the
LearnQuest Academy of Music since
2003. His students have participated
and won prizes in competitions
held in North America.
Shiva has performed at various
cultural programmes in Boston
lately branching from
Gurmatsangeet into
RobindroSongeet and
Carnatic music.
Tarun has been receiving his fundamental training on the mridangam
from Dr. Pravin Sitaram of Shrewsbury, since the age of 7.
Tarun has also been getting intensive advanced training from
Vidwan K. U. Jayachandra Rao of Bangalore for the past 6 years. He is
currently a senior at the Saint Johns High School in Shrewsbury,
MA. He will be attending the Culinary Institute of America
(CIA) in Hyde Park, NY starting in the fall of 2015.
Kamalakiran Vinjamuri
Sriram Ramesh, a versatile
percussionist, has been a
performing artist for the past
decade. His Gurus are Shri
Vaikom R Gopalakrishnan
for mridangam and Mr
Suresh for drums. He is
currently undergoing khanjira
training under Khanjira
Maestro Bangalore Shri N. Amrit (Disciple of the
great G. Harishankar). He has been performing on the
Mridangam, Khanjira, Drums, Rhythm Pads and Morsing
with various leading artists such as vocalists Sangeetha
Kalanidhi Shri R. K. Srikantan, Palghat Shri Ramprasad,
Shri Shashikiran, violinists Shri Embar Kannan, Shri
Vittal Ramamurthy, veena artist Shri Rajhesh Vaidhya,
flautists Shri B.V. Balasai, Shri. Navin Iyer, mandolin Shri
U. P. Raju, mridangam Shri D. A. Sreenivas and keyboard
prodigy Shri K. Satyanarayanan apart from being part of
various dance performances of Dr. Padma Subramanyam.
Kamalakiran is a 12th grader in
West Springfield High School
in Springfield, VA, USA. His
initial guru was his grand-father,
Sri. Parthasarathy Iyengar. Then
he had some training from Smt.
Malladi Vijayalakshmi. His
father Sri.Subhash Vinjamuri, a
violinist himself started teaching
him violin at the age of 7. When
he is in the U.S., he gets his
training from his father and
when visiting India, he is under
the tutelage of Kalaimamani
A. Kanyakumari. He has won
several prizes in different music competitions, both in
India as well as in the US. In December 2010 and 2013
music seasons, Kamalakiran got the Best Performer
Award from Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Chennai
and in 2014 Kamalakiran got the Best Performer Award
from Chennai Music Academy.
He has accompanied several leading artists including:
Sowmiya J Narayanan (Ghatam)
Sri. Unnikrishnan Sri. Sankaran Namboodri,
Sowmiya started his initial training from V. Rajasekar
/ V. Suresh brothers. Presently Sowmiya is continuing
his ghatam training, lessons and guidance
from Sri. Vijay Ganesh of Ashburn, VA.
Sowmiya is also taking advanced training
in India with Trichy Sri Harikumar
Ghatam maestro Dr. S. Karthick.
Sowmiya accompanied many eminent
artists including Padmavibushan Dr. M.
Balamuralikrishna, Padma Bhushan
/ Grammy winner Vishwa
Mohan Bhatt, Smt. Gayathri
Venkatraman, Smt.
Dr. Sathyavathy,
R. Suryaprakash,
Kalaimamni Sri.
Unnikrishnan and
many others.
Sri TK Govinda Rao,
Sri. Maharajapuram Srinivasan,
Sri. Palai Ramachandran,
Smt. Gayatri Venkataraghavan,
Smt. Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar Padma Vibushan Sri.
Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna
Madurai Sri. T.N. Seshagopalan
Smt. Suguna Varadachari
Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Lakshay Mohan Gupta (Sitar) and
Aayush Mohan Gupta (Sarod)
Lakshay and Aayush are accompanied by:
His performances are admired for their tonal quality,
crystal clear sound of bols (tabla syllables) even at an
electrifying speed, and tremendous sense of rhythm
and melody. He was awarded the top-grade by All
India Radio and Television (All India Radio and
Doordarshan). He has performed with several leading
artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ashish Khan,
Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Rais Khan, Pandit Rajan
and Sajan Mishra, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, Pandit
Manas Chakraborty, Pandit Viswamohan Bhat, Ustad
Rashid khan, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumder,
Pandit Nayan Ghosh and Pandit Kushal Das.
Pandit Arup Chattopadhyay
Lakshay & Aayush Mohan Gupta’s phenomenal
emergence on the concert scene is being seen by
musicians and connoisseurs as the revival of the great
Sitar-Sarod Duet which was the precursor of the
widely popular jugalbandi arrangement today. Their
performances of Hindustani Classical Music have won
the hearts of audiences across prestigious classical music
festivals and venues of the country, some of which are
the RIMPA Festival 2012 held at Ravi Shankar Centre,
New Delhi; Taj Mahotsav, Agra; Ramakrishan Mission
Institute of Culture, Kolkata; Ganga Mahotsav, Varanasi;
All Bengal Music Conference, Kolkata; India Habitat
Centre, New Delhi; Bharat Bhawan, Bhopal; 107th
Lakshmi Narayan Raga Festival, Amritsar to name a few.
Having developed an ingenious and deeply personal
interpretation of their gharana’s rich musical heritage,
Lakshay and Aayush have evolved their own unique
style of playing jugalbandi and have won critical acclaim
by connoisseurs as well as music critics. Their duet
demonstrates two musical souls perfectly tuned into
each other’s aesthetic vision and imagination.
On their
recent collaboration with Grammy Award Winner
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, which brought together for
the first time in the history of Indian Music, the three
plucked string instruments – Sitar, Sarod and Mohan
Veena the Millennium Post wrote “The Capital was
mesmerised by magic of strings”.
Lakshay Mohan Gupta and Aayush Mohan Gupta have
studied for more than a decade under Pandit Balwant
Rai Verma, the senior most disciple of Bharat Ratna
Pandit Ravi Shankar. Years of learning under him has
enabled them to absorb the vast repertoire of Pandit Ravi
Shankar’s musical legacy. They have also taken training
from eminent musicians of Maihar Gharana – Pandit
Umashankar Mishra, Padmabhushan Smt. Sharan Rani
& Pandit Tejendra Majumdar and have learned the
intricacies of ‘Dhrupad ang’ (style) from Padmashri
Gundecha Brothers.
They manage to strike a balance
between technical brilliance, emotional content, raga
purity and aesthetic awareness that is becoming very rare
in the realm of Indian Classical Instrumental Music.
Arup Chattopadhyay was born in Chandannagar, West
Bengal. He started learning tabla at the age of six from
his father Pandit Pankaj Chattopadhyay. After a few
years, he came under the tutelage
of world famous tabla maestro
Pandit Sankar Ghosh of
Farukkhabad gharana with
whom he continues to learn.
Gradually, he has
established himself as a top
class accompanist and a
formidable soloist.
Since 1998, he has accompanied Pandit Ravi Shankar
in his tours throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and
India. He accompanied Pandit Deepak Chowdhury
in his U.K. tour, and Pandit Kartick Seshadri in his
U.S., Canada, Australia and Mexico tours. He is also a
highly accomplished tabla teacher and was a professor
of tabla at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London. Since
1998 he has been a visiting lecturer of tabla at the
University of California, San Diego.
They were recently invited by the Ramakrishna Mission
of Delhi, Jaipur and Arunachal to perform during the
closing ceremony of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth
Anniversary Celebrations.
Reviews of their concerts
have been published in leading national dailies like
the Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Hindu,
The Sunday Standard, Indian Express, Dainik Bhaskar,
Arunachal Times, Deccan Herald, Hindustan, Jansatta
and The Asian Age. The All India Radio invited them
to perform for a special broadcast on the occasion of the
United Nations International Broadcasting Day.
“They impressed with their serious musical attitude and
no-nonsense approach. It was particularly satisfying
that they made no attempt to play up to the gallery
by showing off unnecessary virtuosity though their
taiyyari and neat phrasing was there for all to see.”
“I do think that my Indian
classical audiences thought
I was sacrificing them
through working with
George; I became known as
the ‘fifth Beatle.’ In India,
they thought I was mad.”
They were felicitated by Lok Sabha Speaker Smt.
Meira Kumar and Sh. Shatrughan Sinha on the 75th
Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Litterateur and
Parliamentarian Late Dr. Shankar Dayal Singh. They
have been awarded the Delhi Pratibha Puraskar by the
Arts and Cultural Trust of India.
Their newly released
traditional world music album ‘Echoes From The
Yellow Land’ which is a compilation of 8 North Indian
Ragas in a thematic orientation, has been applauded by
connoisseurs and music lovers world over. - The Hindu
After listening to their performances, music legends
Pandit Jasraj and Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar have
hailed them as one of the most talented musicians of the
younger generation.
- Ravi Shankar
Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Now with over 25 years of a successful career in the
field of Indian Classical Music, Shashank’s landmark
concerts include Rashtrapathi Bhavan (The President’s
Palace at New Delhi) in 1992, Skopje Jazz Festival in
Macedonia; The Smithsonian, Kennedy Center and
National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.;
J. Paul Getty Hall in Hollywood; Cerritos Performing
arts center in Los Angeles; Eastman School of
Music in Rochester; World Music Institute in New
York; Asian Art Museum in San Francisco; Xebec
Hall and Across Fukuoka in Kobe and Fukuoka, Japan;
Hong Kong Museum of Art in Hong Kong; World
Flute Conference in Nashville; Sawai Gandharva
Festival in Pune; Saptak Festival in Ahmedabad;
Dover Lane Music festival in Calcutta; India Music
Group in Bombay; Theater De-La-Ville, UNESCO
& Musee Guimet in Paris, France; Tropical Institute
in Amsterdam; The Lowry in Manchester, UK; The
Sage in Gateshead, UK; Modigliani Hall in Padova,
Italy; Museum Rietberg in Zurich; The Munchen
Residency in Munich, Germany; The Adelaide Festival
in Australia; Improvisation Festival in Lausanne,
Switzerland; Seoul Plaza in Seoul, Korea; and a host of
other prestigious institutions across the world.
A Grammy nominated exponent
of the Bamboo Flute, Shashank
stormed into the music world at the
age of six in 1984. He was the youngest
musician to have been invited by The Music
Academy, Chennai to perform the senior
most slot of The Music Academy (often
performed by Legends of Indian Classical
Music), at the age of 12 - a record yet to
be broken in the history of South
Indian Music.
transposed fingering technique” and the “dual octave
production” have won him world acclaim. Trained by father Subramanyam and vocal maestros
R.K. Srikantan and Palghat K.V. Narayanaswami, he is
presently considered one of the best Bamboo Flute artists
and is hailed as such by the Indian and international
media alike. The BBC World TV telecast a documentary
on Shashank titled “Destination Music”, recently.
He has enthralled audiences in India, USA, Canada,
Macedonia, UK, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany,
Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal,
South Africa, The Middle East, Sri Lanka, Malaysia,
Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong
and Korea.
Shashank often collaborates with many legendary
musicians from India and around the world including
Guitarist John McLaughlin, Tabla Maestro Zakir
Hussain, Ustad Sultan Khan, Pandit Vishwa Mohan
Bhatt, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborthy, to name a few.
Shashank is one of the youngest recipients of the “A Top”
ranking in the All India Radio and TV. A recipient of
the “Kalaimamani” from the Tamil Nadu Government,
“Kuzhal Arasar” from the prestigious Kellogg School of
Management, North Western University, Chicago and
the prestigious Grammy Nomination for the year 2009,
Shashank has over 60 CDs and several DVDs to his
credit. Shashank currently pursues Hindustani music
from the legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj.
With scintillating, primal tones he truly sings through
the most organic and ancient of all instruments. His
logic-defying virtuosity is the result of a magical innate
talent coupled with the best possible training. Shashank
has propelled the Bamboo flute into an enviable position
by his playing techniques of which “the multi flute
Subhalakshmi’s concerts have taken her all over the
world, including Japan, Singapore, U.S.A., Canada,
Germany, Italy, U.K., South Korea, the Middle East,
Australia, Sri Lanka, and many more. She had played
in the Indo-Russian cultural exchange programme at
the age of thirteen, and has been featured in events
like the Théâtre de la Ville Festival (Paris), the farewell
concert for Zubin Mehta (Munich), the Mahatma
Gandhi Institute Sangeet Utsav (Mauritius), and
the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana
(U.S.A.). Subhalakshmi has also played
in jugalbandi and fusion concerts with
Chitravina Ravikiran alongside artists
like Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and
Pandit Ronu Majumdar. Subhalakshmi
has also given many vocal and violin
duet concerts alongside her younger
sister Akkarai S. Sornalatha, a
prodigious artist herself, and they are
well-known as ‘Akkarai Sisters’.
Shashank is accompanied by:
Akkarai S. Subhalakshmi
Akkarai, one of the young stars of India, is a Carnatic
(South Indian classical) violinist and vocalist par
excellence whose soulful music has touched the hearts
of listeners around the world.
A child prodigy, Subhalakshmi
hails from a musical family; her
grandfather Suchindram Shri S.
P. Sivasubramaniam was a prolific
musician and composer, and her
grandmother Smt R Sornambal
a harikatha exponent and music
teacher. Subhalakshmi is the
disciple of her father, Akkarai
Shri S. Swamynathan, a veteran
violinist and founder of the Swara
Raga Sudha school of music, and
his intensive training enabled her
to debut as a performing vocalist
and violinist at the tender age
of eight. She also trained under
Shri V. Janakiraman, Shri O. V.
Subramanian and his daughter Smt
Padma Natesan in New Delhi, and,
later on, Padmabhushan Shri P. S. Narayanaswamy
and Chitravina Shri N. Ravikiran, who in particular
featured her as an accompanist in many of his concerts
and provided her with invaluable musical guidance.
Numerous accolades have come her
way; she received the Rajiv Gandhi
Yuva Puraskar award from the President
of India at the age of thirteen, and has
since earned a host of awards, including
Yuva Kala Bharathi (2002), the Kalki
Krishnamurthy Memorial Award (2007),
the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award from
the Sangeet Natak Akademy (2007), Vani Kala Nipuna
(2012), the Shanmukha Shiromani (awarded to the sisters
together in 2009), Kala Rathna from the Cleveland
Tyagaraja Aradhana (2013). She was identified as one of
India’s 50 emerging stars by The Week magazine’s issue
commemorating the Indian nation’s 50th anniversary. She
is an A-Grade artist for All India Radio.
One of the leading Carnatic violinists today,
Subhalakshmi’s playing is characterized by a rich tone
from precise bowing, as well as sensitive fingering, giving
it a near-vocal quality. She has played alongside many
legendary artists, such as Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna,
Chitravina N. Ravikiran, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Dr.
N. Ramani, and R. K. Srikanthan, and is known for
her unique acumen in blending seamlessly with the
music, while enlivening and enhancing it skillfully. Her
perfectionism and deep understanding of the nuances of
music has enabled her to become a much sought-after
vocalist as well.
Subhalakshmi has released many albums, both violin and
vocal, such as ‘Keeravani’ and ‘Varali’, and duet albums
with her sister, such as ‘Inta Saukhyam’ and Charsur’s
‘December Season 2012’. She is also much sought-after
as a teacher for both vocal and violin. She attributes all
her success to her gurus, especially her father Akkarai
Shri S. Swamynathan, who established her as a musician
and continues to guide her.
Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Sanjeev Abhyankar is accompanied by:
Sanjeev Abhyankar
Ajinkya Joshi
Blessed with an exceptionally
sweet voice, his vocation
in life was clear right from
the age of 3. Born in 1969,
Sanjeev started learning
Hindustani Classical Music
from the tender age of eight.
He has been groomed by his
mother Dr. Shobha Abhyankar,
Pandit Pimpalkhare ji and
Padmavibhushan Pandit
Jasraj ji.
Though his aim had been to pursue a career in music
since childhood, he has acquired a bachelor’s Degree in
Sanjeev rendered his first stage performance
in Mumbai, at the age of 11. Since then, he has travelled
extensively all over the country, performing in all the
prestigious conferences and art circles, several times. He has
spread the fragrance of Indian Classical Music in U.S.A.,
Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
He has a distinction of performing in over 200
different cities. Sanjeev’s award winning performance in
‘Godmother’ as also his impassioned rendition of Marathi
Abhangs, Bhavgeets and Hindi-Sanskrit Bhajans
reflect his easy grace and versatility. By adding his own
classical compositions, he has contributed to the already
existing vast repertoire of Mewati Gharana compositions
Besides performing in all the prestigious art
circles throughout the country, he has performed in well
known conferences such as:
• Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Samaroh, Swar Jhankar Festival,
Swar Bhaskar Mahotsav, Vasantotsav, Surel Sabha, Pune
Festival, etc. in Pune
• Baba Harvallabh Samaroh - Jalandhar, Pracheen Kala
Kendra, Chandigarh
• ITC Sammelan, Doverlane Music Conference, Uttarpara
Sangeet Chakra, Indo Oxidental Festival in Kolkata
• Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Jayanti Samaroh, Ustad Amir
Khan Samaroh and Gunidas Festival in New Delhi
• Swami Haridas Sammelan - Vrindavan, Lucknow
Mahotsav, Ganga Mahotsav, Budhva Mahotsav and The
Maha Kumbh Mela Festival in Uttar Pradesh
• Maihar’s Ustad Allauddin Khan Samaroh, Bhopal’s Ustad
Amir Khan Samaroh and Bharat Bhavan, Indore’s Sanghi
Samaroh, Mandu Festival, Ujjain’s Mahakal Mahotsav in
Madhya Pradesh
• The prestigious Radio Sangeet Sammelans in various cities
like Raipur, Cuttak, etc.
• Spirit of Unity Concerts for National Integration in various
cities like Puttaparthy, Srikakulam, Rajmundari, Delhi etc.
• Concerts organised by Sangeet Natak Academy and ICCR.
• Events organised by the prestigious organisations of
Mumbai like the Pancham Nishad, Banyan Tree, N.C.P.A,
Nehru Centre, Hridayesh Arts, M.T.D.C, etc.
• Saptak Conference - Ahmedabad, Master Dinanath
Sangeet Mahotsav and Kala Academy - Goa
• The Indian Fine Arts Society, Krishna Gana Sabha, Bharat
Utsav, The Hindu Fest, etc at Chennai
• Hindustani Kalakar Mandali, Ram Seva Mandali, Bhoomija
Festival, Ubhaykar Smruti Festival and many other
important festivals of Bangalore
• Kalidas Samaroh - Nagpur, Elephanta Festival Mumbai,
Pandit Motiram Sangeet Samaroh - Hyderabad
Pune-based Ajinkya Joshi started his initial
training in music at the age of seven from
Shantilal Shah, one of the senior disciples of
well-known tabla player Suresh Talwalkar.
Ajinkya’s parents were passionate about
music and inspired Ajinkya to take up
playing tabla as a profession.
At the age of sixteen, Ajinkya moved to
Mumbai and underwent intensive training
in tabla for more than ten years from
Suresh Talwalkar.
Ajinkya is the recipient of the Vishnu
Digambar Paluskar Award (1999). He has
accompanied his guru in various tabla
solo concerts all over India. He has been
awarded the National Scholarship for
young artists by the Government of India.
He has accompanied various artists in India
and has also toured Dubai, Abu Dhabi,
Canada and USA for concerts.
Sanjeev Abhyankar is also accompanied by:
Milind Kulkarni
Milind Kulkarni’s natural
flair for Harmonium reflects
the eternal essence of
Hindustani Classical Music
as handed down in the true
“Guru Shishya Parampara”.
Endowed with the talent he
has carved for himself a place
in the divine world of Music
and captured the hearts of
the listeners. Milind’s tryst
with Harmonium bloomed
at the tender age of seven.
Over a period of time, under
the gentle guidance of his
Teachers & his own efforts –
dedication & rigorous ‘Riyaaz ‘- intense hours of practice – this fine
art is flowering to reach a state of exceptional caliber. Milind is today
a reputed accompanist and fast emerging as a soloist. Milind’s father,
an avid Music lover, recognized the inborn talent of young Milind &
opened the world of music at a very young age.
Pt. Vasantrao Gurav of Sangli was the first formal Guru who
introduced Milind to the ‘Seven Swara’. Discovering the potential
of Milind, Pt. Anna Diwan of Sangli further enriched Milind’s
talents. Today Milind is under the fine tutelage of Pt. Pramod
Marathe, leading Harmonium player & Principal at Gandharva
Mahavidyalaya, Pune.
Milind earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music, specializing in
Harmonium at Centre for Performing Arts, Pune University, Pune.
He has accompanied many prominent vocalist, instrumentalist and
Kathak Dance performers. Milind is a regular performer of All
India Radio & Doordarshan (T.V.) network.
Milind has accompanied distinguished & renowned Musicians of
India like Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Suresh Talwalkar, Pt. Anindo Chatterji, Pt.
Kumar Bose, Shri. Sanjeev Abhyankar, Smt. Padma Talwalkar, Dr.
Prabha Atre, Dr. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, Pt. Ullhas Kashalkar,
Smt. Kalapini Komkali, Smt. Aarti Ankalikar-Tikekar, Pt.
Prabhakar Karekar, Shri. Ramdas Palsule, Shri. Vijay Ghate etc.
Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Abhishek Raghuram
• “Yagnaraman Youth Excellence Award” by Sri Krishna
Gana Sabha, Chennai in July 2009
Hailing from a family of legendary musicians, as the
grandson of the late mridangam legend, Sri Palghat
Raghu and with the Lalgudi family name on the mother’s
side, music is in Abhishek’s blood.
• “Shanmukha Sangeetha Shironmani Award” by
Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai in Decmber 2009
Abhishek Raghuram is also accompanied by:
A year later, he performed at the historic Sadler’s Wells
Music Festival in London for the Prime Minister of
Great Britain. Recently, he went back to Germany at
the invitation of Fred Frith, the British experimental
guitarist to perform for the seminal New Jazz Meeting
for SWR 2, a national radio station in Baden Baden.
Ananth R. Krishnan
• “Vasanth Shrest” by Vasanta Memorial Trust in November 2010
• “Senior Outstanding Vocalist” The Music Academy,
A child prodigy, Abhishek started learning the
mridangam from his grandfather, winning accolades
by the age of seven. By 1994, he moved on to vocal
performances training under Vidwan Sri. P. S.
Narayanaswamy. In 1999, he gave his first international
concert tour in the U.S with his grandfather, Sri. Palghat
Raghu. Today, Abhishek is one of most heard Carnatic
vocalists in India and has performed with several
eminent musicians like Dr. T. K. Murthy, Umayalpuram
Sivaraman, Karaikudi Mani, Trichy Sankaran, G.
Harishankar, Ganesh Kumaresh, Mysore Nagaraj and
Manjunath, Jayateerth Mewundi, etc. His recent tours to
U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, London and Dubai
have won him wide international acclaim.
In May of 2008, he was a featured soloist in the Grammy
nominated, Miles from India tour, which premiered in
Town Hall, NYC presenting the great Miles Davis’s
music with Indian instrumentation featuring jazz legends:
Ron Carter, Dave Liebman Lenny White, Ndugu
Chancler, and Pete Cosey. In July of 2011, he performed
in a Carte Blanche Artist Series at the North Sea Jazz
Festival in Rotterdam to a crowd of 64,000.
Madras during the December Season 2010-11
• “Yuva Puraskar” by Sangeet Natak Akademi in September
• “Yogam Nagaswami Award” for Best Senior Vocalist –
The Music Academy, Madras during the December Season
Anand started his musical journey on the mridangam,
the principle drum of South Indian music, the
Carnatic tradition. Anand started performing fullfledged concerts as a child, and has since cemented his
position as a premier mridangam-ist of his generation,
carrying forth one of the greatest drumming traditions.
The grandson and disciple of the pioneering, venerated
and award winning mridangam maestro, Sangeetha
Kalanidhi Shri. Palghat R. Raghu - Anand learned the
fundamentals of the mridangam under his uncle, Shri.
R. Ramkumar and began an official tutelage under his
grandfather at the age of five.
Possessing a combination of virtuosity, aesthetics and
intellect, Abhishek has created a new genre in the field of
music that, according to critics is “food for the intellect,
mind, heart and soul”. He could very well be on his way to
creating a new Gharana, something that could have a big
impact in the Indian music world.
Abhishek is an ‘A’ Grade artist of All India Radio and his
awards include:
• Best concert in the SPIRIT OF YOUTH concert series
conducted by Music Academy in 1997
He performed his first concert at the age of seven. As
a child artist, he received many awards from traditional
organizations of Carnatic Music in India. Notably, he
has won the categorical Best Mridangist Prize from
the Music Academy, Madras, a record five times in
six years. Also, he was awarded the State of the Arts
Award from the New Jersey government twice in
1997-1998 as part of the National Endowment of the
Arts’ effort to promote cultural awareness in the U.S.A.
In 1999, he was invited to perform for the millenium
celebrations in Berlin, Germany at the Haus der
Kulturen der Welt and at the EXPO 2000 in Hanover.
Best Junior vocalist – The Music
Academy, Madras in Dec 1999
Bharat Kalachar in
Dec 2002
VIDWAN” title
from the Kanchi
Kamakoti Peetam in
October 2006
Anantha holds a BA in Western Music and
Philosophy from Dartmouth College in New
Hampshire, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Electronic
Music and Percussion from Mills College, California.
During this time he studied Western percussion
under William Winant. Specializing in contemporary
20th century percussion music, he is perhaps the only
percussionist of Indian heritage to perform the music
of American composers Steve Reich, John Cage, James
Tenney, Jon Appleton, Charles Dodge among many
others. He is also a special interest student of tabla
under Ustad Zakir Hussain for the past six years.
Artist Profiles
Saturday, April 4th
Gundecha Brothers
Dhrupad and Indian Classical Music. Born in Ujjain in
Central India, they were initiated into music by their
parents. Gundecha Brothers received conventional
university education and learned Dhrupad vocal art
under the renowned Dhrupad vocalist
Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (the distinguished
performer of Rudra Veena) under guru
shishya paramapara in Dhrupad
Kendra Bhopal.
Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha are the leading
exponents of the Dhrupad style of music. They are
among the most active performers
in Indian and international
circuits. They were conferred
“Padmashri” in 2012 by the
Government of India for
their contribution
to the field of
Presenting Hindustani Classical Music in a Traditional Baithak Setting
Baithak is LearnQuest Academy’s membership club for
the Hindustani Classical Music Enthusiast.
Enjoy Hindustani Classical Music the way it is meant
to be heard in a traditional Baithak: an intimate setting
in which artist and the music lovers experience music
together and where music can reach unexpected heights
often lost in large concert halls.
Some Artists Featured in Baithak:
The Gundecha Brothers have sung great Hindi poetry
by Tulsidas, Kabir, Padmakar, Nirala in Dhrupad style.
They have recorded about 50 cassettes and CDs by
H.M.V, Music Today, Rhythm House, Times Music, Sony,
Senseworld Music, Sundaram Records, IPPNW Concerts
Berlin, Navras and Audio Rec London. They have also
sung for many television channels in India and have been
broadcasted on British, U.S., German and French, Japan
and Australian Radio as well. As well as being an integral
part of India’s prestigious music festivals, the Brothers
have also performed and conducted workshops at many
important international music festivals and institutions
in about 25 countries in Europe, U.S.A, Australia, Japan,
Egypt, Singapore, Bangladesh, U.A.E and Hong Kong.
The Gundecha Brothers have received the M.P.
Government Scholarship from 1981 to 1985, National
Fellowship from 1987 to 89, Ustad Allauddin Khan
Fellowship in 1993, Sanskriti Award in 1994 and Kumar
Gandharva Award in 1998 by Government of Madhaya
Jayateerth Mevundi
Aliya Rasheed
Kaivalya Kumar
Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay
Purnima Chaudhuri
Kaivalya Kumar
Ram Deshpande
Shaswati Mandal
Sandip Ghosh
Anand Bhate
Debi Prasad Chatterjee
Yogesh Shamsi
Pradesh and Dagar Gharana Award by Mewar Foundation
in 2001. Rajat Kamal – National Film Award for the Best
Music Direction (2006), Puttaraj Gawai Award 2010 from
Puttaraj Gawai Pratishthan, Dharwad.
Rachna Bodas
Pushkar Lele
Ramneek Singh
Praveen Sheolikar
Smt. Manjari Asnare
Shrinivas Joshi
Akhilesh Gundecha has learned Pakhawaj playing from
Pandit Shrikant Mishra and Raja Chhatrapati Singh
JuDeo. He is post graduate in music and graduate
in Law. He also received a scholarship from Ustad
Allauddin Khan Sangeet Academy, Bhopal as well as
the Government of India. He has accompanied many
of the Dhrupad Maestros like Ustad Z. F. Dagar, Ustad
Fahimuddin Dagar, Pandit Siyaram Tiwari, Shrimati
Asgari Bai, Dr. Ritwik Sanyal and Bahauddin Dagar. He
has also played solo recitals in Tansen Festival - Gwalior,
Haridas Sangeet Samaroh Mumbai, Dhrupad Samaroh
Bhopal and many other festivals. He has toured USA,
Europe, Japan, Australia and is regularly featured on
Radio and Television.
Shakir Khan
Sandip Bhattacharjee and
Rajesh Pranjpe
Ustad Shahid Parvez
Purnima Sen
Raghunandan Panshikar
Sanhita Nandi
Debapriya and Samanwaya
Subhra Guha
Manjusha Patil
Shantanu Bhattacharya
Individual Membership
Couple’s Membership
which entitles you to attend all Baithak concerts for free
Please sign up now and become a member of our music
lovers club, and help support Hindustani Classical Music.
You do not want to miss any of the concerts we have
scheduled for this year.
Membership forms are available at the ticketing desk.
You can become a member on the spot by filling out a
form and paying the annual membership dues. Please
see Pradeep Shukla, Jawed Wahid, or Debashis Roy
Chowdhury, for details.
Visit our website: /baithak
for our schedule, membership form, and to pay for your
2015 Baithak Schedule:
Gauri Pathare
April 25th
Mashkoor Ali Khan
Rajan and Sajan Mishra
May 15th
Purbayan and Anindo Chatterjee
Aarti Ankalikar
June 13th
Jagan Ramamoorthy (Hindustani Violin)
Gundecha Bros.
July 18th
Ranjani Ramachandran
Sept 26th
Mitali Bhawmik
Omkar Dadarkar
Oct 31st
Sandip Chatterjee (Santoor)
accompanied by Subhojyoti Guha
Nov 21st
Kaushiki Chakravarty
Artist Profiles
Sunday, April 5th
Surmani Dattatreya Velankar
Academic Credentials
Born into a family of Keertanakaras, Shri Dattatreya
Velankar has inherited a unique lineage from his parents,
Sri. Lakshmandas Velankar and Smt. Meera Lakshmandas.
Inspired by his parents, Dattatreya took up Harikatha at a
tender age and made his mark as a child prodigy. During
his early schooling at the Ramakrishna Balakashrama in
Mangalore, Swami Jitakamanandaji and Sri. Achyutadasji
encouraged Dattatreya to seek guidance in Hindustani
classical music under the renowned maestro, Pandit
Vinayak Torvi. For the last 20 years, Dattatreya has
pursued rigorous training under Pandit Vinayak Torvi,
who has blessed Dattatreya with Ganda Bandan Deeksha.
Dattatreya has authored a book titled ‘Sangeet Mala’
outlining the basics of Hindustani classical music.
He is the founder of Shadaja Kala Kendra
a Hindustani classical vocal school in
Bangalore, where instruction in classical
vocals is rendered in the guru-shishya
parampara style.
Gifted with a rich
and graceful
style has
won him
many critical
acclaims and
accolades, both
in India and
• ‘Vidwat’ in Vocal Music from the Government of
• Archives of Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts,
“Sangeet Prabhakar” from Prayag Sangeet Sameethi,
M.A. in Music from Dr. Gangubai Hangal Music University,
Currently pursuing Ph.D from Jain University, Bangalore
Delivered several Lecture-cum-Demonstration
performances on various topics in Hindustani Classical
Dattatreya Velankar is an ‘A’ graded All India Radio and
Doordarshan artist. He has performed at many prestigious
music festivals, such as:
• All Night Music Festival – Gururao Deshpande Sangeet
Sabha, Bangalore
• Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre Youth Festival, Mumbai
• ‘Aarohi’ organized by Pancham Nishad, Mumbai
• Devnandan Ubhaykar Youth Festival, Bangalore
• Soorya Festival, Trivandrum
• Malabar Festival, Calicut
• Kala Prakash, Varanasi
• Uttaradhikari Festival, Ratlam MP
• Tyagaraja College of Music and Dance, Hyderabad
• Swami Vivekananda 150th Anniversary celebrations,
• Pracheena Kala Kendra, Chandigarh
• Santavani concerts in Mangalore and Chennai
• Jugalbandi concerts with Vidwan Balasubramanya Sharma
(Carnatic Vocal)
• Performed and taught at the LearnQuest Academy of
Music, Waltham MA USA.
Honors and Scholarships
• Dattatreya has received scholarships from the Department
of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of
India; Sur Sagar, Bangalore; Ganapati Bhat Hasanagi Music
• “Surmani” title conferred by the Sursingar Samsad,
• “Bhajan Bhushan” title conferred by the Maharashtra
Association, Chennai
Surmani Dattatreya
Velankar is also
accompanied by:
New Delhi
CDs in Classical music and Bhajans
‘Learning CD’, a student’s guide to the basics of Hindustani
Classical Music
Hindustani-Carnatic Vocal Jugalbandi CD
Bhajan CDs released from the Ramakrishna Ashram,
Ravi Torvi
Ravi, a self taught
player, hails
from a musical
family in Dharwad, India. He learned the nuances of
harmonium playing for his uncle, a Gwalior- Kirana
gharana maestro, Pt. Vinayak Torvi. He has accompanied
several well-known vocalists such as Pt. Vinayak
Torvi, Dr. Ashwini Bhide, Pt. Ajay Pohankar, Pt. Ram
Deshpande, Pt. Kaivalyakumar Gurav and others. Ravi is
an engineering manager and is a resident of Nashua, NH.
• Sangeet Mala, Part 1 and Part 2, outlining the basics
of Hindustani Classical Music in a 2-part series, with
accompanying CD
• Swami Vivekananda’s Contributions to Indian Classical
• Hindustani Sangeet Praveshika (a compilation of
Surmani Dattatreya Velankar is accompanied by:
Amit Kavthekar
Amit Kavthekar,
Ganda-Bandha Shagird
of Ustad Allarakha,
has rhythm running in
his veins. He began his
training with the legend
at the early age of six.
Since 1991, he began to
learn tabla intricacies
from the inimitable
Ustad Zakir Hussain.
Amit had his basic
training in tabla from
Shri Ashok Godbole, at the Allarakha Institute of Music.
From 1997 to 2003, Deepak Nerurkar, another brilliant
tabla maestro, imparted his art to Amit. Recently
awarded the Taal Mani by Sur Singar Sansad, Amit is
presently learning intricacies of Delhi Gharana from
Guru Pandit Sudhir Mainkar.
Artist Profiles
Sunday, April 5th
Dr Sowmya Srinivasan (Vocalist)
A Carnatic musician by profession, Sowmya’s life
has been soaked in melody from the very beginning.
Growing up in a traditional South Indian family, she
had her initial tutelage in music from her father Dr.
Srinivasan, a Chemical Engineer with an enduring
passion for Carnatic Music. Later she was singularly
fortunate to be taken under the wings of Sangita
Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan - exemplary musician,
esteemed musicologist and extraordinary human being.
She received further training from Smt. T. Muktha, of
the legendary Brinda-Muktha duo. She attributes her
success and achievements till today to these individuals
and to the bountiful blessings of her beloved Ambal, the
Goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram.
research Sanskrit, at the University of Madras, Sowmya
is a widely traveled, popular vocalist who strives to adhere
to the strict classical
values imbibed from
her gurus Dr.
Ramanathan and
Smt. Mukta.
Rupak Kulkarni
Rupak Kulkarni was a child prodigy and has blossomed
under the fine tutelage of flute legend Padma Vibhushan
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia to become an outstanding
exponent of Maihar Gharana. Since the tender age of 9,
Rupak with arduous training and hard work has mastered
Dhrupad, Khayal and Tantrakari styles equally well. His
recital is always a rare treat combining Dhrupad and
Khayal Gayaki, melodious Aalap and scintillating Tatkar,
innovative improvisation with mesmerising Layakari,
superb breath control and dexterous finger work. No
wonder his concerts are loved and lauded by common
music lovers and connoisseurs.
A top grade artist of all India radio, Rupak’s first solo
flute performance was at the age of 11 at Darbar Hall,
Baroda where he spellbound around 1500 music lovers.
Since then he has performed in almost all prestigious
music conferences all over India and abroad.
The desire to propagate the traditions of South Indian
music worldwide led her to establish Carnatica, an
institution dedicated to music & dance instruction,
archival, talent search and other related activities. In
addition to being an accomplished musician, Sowmya
also has excellent academic credentials. She is a double
postgraduate (Master’s in Chemistry as well as Indian
Music) and was a top-ranked scholar at the Indian
Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) and the
University of Madras. She holds a PhD in music from
University of Madras. Currently pursuing doctoral
Performed in major music festivals:
“I find Indian music very funky. I mean it’s very
soulful, with their own kind of blues. But it’s
the only other school on the planet that develops
improvisation to the high degree that you find in
jazz music. So we have a lot of common ground.”
- John McLaughlin
Darbar Festival (UK), Asian Super Flautist Festival
( Japan), Tansen Samaroh (India), Peshkar World Music
Festival (India), Vishnu Digamber Paluskar Samaroh
(India), Harvallabh Music Festival (India), Times of
India 150 years celebration concerts, Ustad Amir Khan
Samaroh (India), Sawai Gandharv Festival (India),
Gunidas and many other noted music festivals in India
and abroad. Rupak has his own distinct mark and also
followers and fans. His flute concerts are regularly aired
on All India Radio, World Space Radio and various TV
channels such as Doordarshan, STAR TV, Zee TV, and
CNN-IBN, and In Sync.
• “Sangeet Prakarsh” award for contribution to music by
Bhavans in Mumbai
• TOP Grade (All India Radio)
• Concert at Asian Super Flautist Festival in Japan
His first music album was at the age of 18, aptly titled
TENDERLY, accompanied by Tabla maestro Pt. Anindo
Chatterji. Since then Rupak has released his albums through
all top ranking music companies like Times Music, HMV,
Navras, Plus Music, Rhythm House, Ninaad, ABCL’s Big B,
Sense World (London), WorldWideRecords etc.
Music Albums
(Spiritual Music)
Chakraview “Journey towards spirituality
within” (WorldWideRecords), Shraddha – Devotional (Times
Music), Divinity – Instrumental (Times Music)
(Indian Classical Music)
The Flautist (HMV), Allure (RagaRang,
USA), Draupadi “Five styles of Bansuri vadan” (Times Music),
Learn to play flute (Gitanjali), Dharohar (Times Music),
Tenderly (Rythem House), Music Therapy for migraine (Times
Music), De-Stress revive (Times Music), Music for sound sleep
(Times Music), The Divine wheel (Sense World, London), Music Therapy for Diabetes (Times Music), Akansha (Ninaad).
Garbhankur (Times Music), Sumadhur (Legendary Legacy)
Music Albums (World music & Fusion)
Unwind 1 & 2 –
(Ninaad Music), Monsoon Magic (Plus Music), Drishti (Times
Music), Trinity (Sona Rupa), Eternity (Times Music)
Worked with many Hollywood and Bollywood music
directors to score background music in the films.
Artist Profiles
Sunday, April 5th
has never looked back, ceaselessly performing in all
prestigious sabhas of our country and abroad.
Titles and honours have come his way, the most
cherished being the asthana vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti
peedam and the Shringeri Sharada Peedam. Gopalnath
has the distinction of being the first Carnatic musician to
be invited to perform in the BBC Promenade concert in
1994 at London. His recital was sponsored by the Asian
Music Circuit, London.
Among his other distinctions are:
Saxophone Chakravathy, Saxophone Samrat, Ganakala
Shree, Nadopasana Brahma, Sunaada Prakashika,
Sangeetha Vadyaratna (from film director, K. Balachandar),
Nada Kalaratna, Nada Kalanithi (from Sringeri Peetam),
Sangeetha Ratna (from Balamurali Krishna), Karnataka
Kalashree 96 (Karnataka State Award) and Vocational
Excellency Award (from the Rotary of Madras)
Gopalnath has toured abroad extensively. He has
participated in the Jazz Festival in Prague, Berlin Jazz
Festival, International Cervantino Festival in Mexico,
Music Halle Festival in Paris, and concerts in Switerland,
United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Bahrain, Malaysia and
Gopalnath acquired a taste for music from his father, a
nadaswaram vidwan. But nadaswaram didn’t sway young
Gopalnath. He heard the saxophone being played in the
Kadri Gopalnath is accompanied by:
Mysore palace and was thrilled by its vibrant tone and
decided to master it. It took nearly 20 years for Kadri
A. Kanyakumari
Gopalnath to conquer the complex wind instrument and
he was eventually crowned as “Saxophone Chakravathy”.
A. Kanyakumari, a native of Vijayanagaram, Andhra
Pradesh, has been living in Chennai for more than
Gopalnath learnt playing Carnatic music on the
25 years. She initially learnt from I. Vijayeswara Rao
saxophone under Gopalkrishna Iyer of Kalaniketana,
of the Dwaram school and later from maestro M.
Mangalore. His dedication and tireless efforts enabled
Chandrasekaran under the Government of India
him to imbibe all the nuances of Carnatic music and
scholarship. She also had a fruitful long association
the sax. When he came in contact with the versatile
with late Dr. M. L. Vasanthakumari (MLV) as her
T.V. Gopalkrishnan at Madras, the latter identified
stock accompanist. Nowadays, she plays alongside
the youngster’s potenital and chistled him into an
Kadri Gopalnath in concerts.
internationally famed artist. Gopalnath humbly
acknowledges the fact that it is the blessings of his guru
Kanyakumari has accompanied Dr. N. Ramani, Dr. M.
which is responsible for his success.
Balamurali Krishna, Mandolin U. Srinivas, to name a
few. She is a distinguished soloist and has conducted
many innovative recitals featuring violin ensembles of
His maiden performance was for the Chembai Memorial
Trust. It was a roaring success. Since then Gopalnath
Rajendra Nakod
25 to 100 violinists. She has also been given the status
of Asthana Vidhushi of Dakshinamnaya Sri. Sarada
Peetham of Sringeri Math, the Ahobila Mutt and the
Dharma Paripalana Sabha. She is a seasoned artist and
has performed in several countries including the US,
U.A.E, Canada, Australia and many parts of Europe.
Rajendra hails from a family of distinguished classical
musicians. His father Pandit Arjun Nakod is an
eminent vocalist of Kirana and Gwalior Gharana.
His brothers Pandit Raghunath Nakod, Balachandra
Nakod and Vishwanath Nakod are the senior artists
at All India Radio. Exposed since childhood to
traditional and orthodox music, Rajendra had his early
tutelage under his father and later under his brothers.
Rajendra secured top positions in exams conducted
by Karnatak Sangeet Nritya Academy, a cultural
institution under the auspices of the Government of
Karnataka. He is an A grade artist of All India Radio.
B. Harikumar
B. Harikumar born in Changanasery, Kerala was
moulded into the bani of Late Mridangom maestro
Shri Palakkad Mani Iyer by his illustrious Guru Shri
Mavelikara Velukkutty Nair. After completing post
graduation in Mridangom from Swati Thirunal Music
College, he joined All India Radio, Tiruchy in 1989
where he works as a Staff Artist.
Rajendra has carved a niche for himself among
the upcoming talented artists in India by his solo
performance and accompanying talented artists
like Gana Bhanu Pandit Puttaraja Gawai, Late Dr.
Basavaraj Rajguru, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma,
Grammy award winner PanditVishwamohan Bhat,
Begam Parveen Sultana, Padmashri Dr.Kadri
Gopalnath, Pandit Ullas Kashalkar, Arati Anklikar,
Veena Sahasrabudhe, Pandit Ronu mazumdar,
Dr. Prabha Atre, Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota,
PanditVinayak Torvi, Pandit Parameshwar Hegde,
Ubhaya Gana Vidushi Shyamala G. Bhave, and others.
• Maharajapuram Santhanam Trust Award, 2001 for
• Tanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer Award, 2003 by Chennai
Music Academy;
• The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai, Senior
Mridangist Award - 2006;
• Nadabhrama Award – 2007
He has also participated in several prestigious classical
music festivals including Sawai Gandharv Punyatithi
at Pune, Spirit of Unity concerts, Akashavani
Sangeet Sammelan, National Programme of Music,
Delhi International Music Festival, Indo-Arab
Music Festival in Dubai, Sankat mochan hanuman
mahothsav Varanasi, Idea Jalsa – a popular classical
program on DD National etc.
I was born with music inside me.
Music was one of my parts. Like
my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my
heart. Like my blood. It was a force
already within me when I arrived
on the scene. It was a necessity for
me - like food or water.
Rajendra has not only performed at various concerts all
over India, but also toured extensively abroad namely
U.S.A., U.K., Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Singapore and
Gulf Countries on performances. The Kuwait organisation
has awarded him with “BHAKTI TALA SUDAN” for his
excellent performance at Kuwait. The other awards in his
credits are Tala Marthanda & Sangeetha Shree.
- Ray Charles
Artist Profiles
Artist Profiles
Nishat Khan
Swati Panda
Sunday, April 5th
Saturday, March 7th
Nishat is universally acknowledged as a leading sitar
player of his time, transcending musical barriers with
his provocative expression and spellbinding technical
mastery. The son and disciple of Ustad Imrat Khan
Nishat Khan stands at the threshold of the future of
sitar and Indian music with his uniquely invigorating,
contemporary approach.
Born in Kolkata, he has been dazzling audiences since
the age of seven, and was the youngest performer ever to
play All-India Radio at the age of thirteen. His virtuosity
has been compared to such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix
(Chicago Sun Times) and J.S. Bach (Washington
Times) because of the ingenious and deeply personal
interpretation of his rich musical heritage.
the humanity and universality of music, Nishat Khan has
mastered not only the North Indian classical idiom but
has also worked with music as diverse as Gregorian chant,
Western classical music, jazz, and Flamenco. His sensitive
phrasing and remarkable intuition has led to collaborations
with the world’s leading performers and composers such
as John McLaughlin, Philip Glass, Paco Pena, Evelyn
Nishat recently composed for his first Bollywood
film with the acclaimed director Sudhir Mishra “Yeh Saali
Zindagi” which had tremendous success!!
He has performed at major venues internationally,
including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in
New York, and the Royal Albert Hall in London. In
January 2004, the President of Croatia received Maestro
Khan in Zagreb, where he performed “Meeting of
Angels” with Gregorian chant. Later that year, he was
invited to perform alongside Eric Clapton, Carlos
Santana, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and others at
the Crossroads Festival in Dallas, Texas. In Summer
2007 he toured across India in a fiery fusion with
violinist Vanessa Mae. In 2008 he toured Europe with
his pioneering project, “Spirit & Passion” featuring
Flamenco guitar great Paco Pena and his ensemble. In
2008 Nishat made Indian music history performing for
the second time for the Henry Wood Promenade Art
Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Times
“Hypnotic, Better
Music for the Soul!”
Daily Telegraph
“The Real Thing!”
The Guardian, London
“Infinite Imaginative
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
Encouraged by her father, Swati began training in
Hindustani classical music from a vey early age with
Guru Gopal Charan Panda. She then went on to train
under Late Dr. Mohan Charan Senapati, with whom
she spent over 12 years learning the intricacies of
Gwalior-Kirana gayaki. Swati married into a musical
family and continued to explore her love for music,
while receiving guidance from her father-inlaw, Shri, B. C. Panda, a senior Kirana Gharana
vocalist. She has also learned from many eminent
musicians during their stay in Massachusetts.
Swati formally founded Raganjali School of
music in 1993 and continues to learn as well
as teach Hindustani vocal music.
Swati Panda was accompanied by:
In April 2002, Maestro Khan received an award for his
inspiration and dedication to humanity from a foundation
linked to the United Nations (past recipients included
Sting and Nelson Mandela). In August 2002, he was
invited to perform at the Japanese Parliament DIET in
Tokyo where his concert marked the 50th Anniversary of
Indo-Japanese diplomatic relations. He received an award
for his dedication and musical excellence from the Pacific
Asia Museum in Los Angeles in October 2004. In 2005
he was honored with a U.S. Congressional Award for
Contribution to Culture and Community.
He has taught at UCLA and many other prestigious
universities, and routinely conducts master classes
Nishat Khan’s trademark sitar playing is
most lyrical, as is evident in all his music. He masterfully
extends this lyricism into developing further his family’s
hallmark sitar and surbahar playing, pioneered by his
forefathers in an unbroken lineage of seven generations.
In November 2013, Nishat opened the International
Film Festival in Goa a grand duet performance with the
legendary Kathak exponent Birju Maharaj in a specially
choreographed performance.
He has accompanied internationally famed artists
such a Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya, Pt. Bhajan Sopori,
Pt. Raghunath Seth, Warren Senders, Phil Scarf,
Steve Gorn, Pt. Vinay Torvi, Pt. Vidyadhar Vyas &
Pandit Mohan Singh. Harshal’s rhythm are flowing
and captivating. His flawless changes in style while
accompanying light and classical music make his
accompaniment melodious and charming.
• Recorded for the documentary movie “Mosque
in Morgantown”, with other Arabic percussion
instruments for solo and fusion pieces.
• Recorded background score for documentary “Love
Sick” on tabla and Mridangam.
• Provided background music for a documentary of
Harshal Tole started learning tabla under Pandit
Gopalrao Wadegaonkar (disciple of Ustad Amir
Hussain Khan Sahib) of Farrukhabad Gharana at the
tender age of 4. He gave his first solo performance at
the age of 6. Winner of several regional and national
competitions, including the ones held by All India
Radio, Harshal has won the hearts of the audience.
Kumbha Mela produced by the Himalayan Institute (an
international institute of Yoga science and philosophy).
• Recorded with Mawwal Music group on several tracks
including two songs by legendary Pakistani Qawwali
singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Artist Profiles
Saturday, March 7th
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
He specialises in Khyal, Thumri, Bhajan, Bhav Geet,
Gazals, Old
Hindi Songs Natya Sangeet and Rabindro
Shongeet (Ravindranath Tagore Songs).
Swati Panda was also accompanied by:
Shri Ramchandra Joshi
Artist Profiles
Saturday, March 7th
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
Jawwad Noor was accompanied by:
Pranav Ghatraju
Ramchandra has held workshops in various places in
Switzerland, UK and USA about “Indian Classical
Music Appreciation” which was welcomed by large
audiences. He is a graded artist at All India Radio
Mumbai, India and topped 2nd in All India, in All
India Level Music Competition held by “Akashvani”
in 1994 in Classical and Semi Classical Vocal music
Pranav Ghatraju is a Senior at the Westford Academy in Westford, MA.
He began his training in tabla at the Learn Quest Academy of Music
under Dr. Nishikant Sonwalker. For the past few years, he has been under
the tutelage of Ustad Shabbir Nisar of Ustad Sheikh Dawood Academy
in Hyderabad, India. Pranav has accompanied students and teachers of
various music schools in the New England area and visiting artists from
India for a few years now.
He has also given solo concerts to music lovers both in India and across the
US. Pranav won the mega finals for the under 15 category at Crescendo
2011, a North Indian Classical Music competition conducted by
Swarganga in Atlanta, GA. Swarganga has recorded and published one of
Pranav’s solo tracks as part of the online album, “Rising Stars”.
Training In Music:
1. Initial Training in Classical Music from his mother Mrs
Anjali Tilak - Regular artist on All India Radio Mumbai
2. Learned Classical and Semi - Classical Vocal Music from
Smt. Tulika Ghosh at Sangeet Mahabharati Mumbai
Founded by Late Padmabhushan Pt Nikhil Ghosh.
Shri Ramchandra Joshi is an accomplished vocalist,
player, and music teacher residing
in Boston, MA. He has given vocal concerts and
accompanied on the harmonium in several cities in
the US, Europe and India. He has been active on the
panel of judges in music competitions such as Sa Re
Ga Ma Hindi Manch and BMM.
3. Inspiration from eminent vocalist Dr Veena
Sahasrabuddhe has been influential factor in the
musical journey of Ramchandra.
Jawwad Noor
Jawwad Noor began his study of sitar under (late)
Ustad M. Alam Khan in 1991 and later also studied
with vocalists Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan and Ustad
Nazir Ahmed. Since becoming a ganda-band shagird
in 2007, he has consistently been receiving rigorous
training from Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, the leading
sitarist in the world from the Etawa gharana.
A recipient of a gold medal at a national music
competition in Pakistan, he has given numerous
performances over the years across Pakistan and
USA. He is a faculty member at the LearnQuest
Academy of Music.
(Indian wedding Invitations)
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Artist Profiles
Saturday, March 14th
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
Bhuvana Ganesh
Bhuvana Ganesh received her initial carnatic music training from Sangeetha Vidhushi Smt.Vallabham Kalyana Sundaram,
sister of veteran composer Sri Mayuram Viswanatha Sastry. Bhuvana holds a senior music exam certificate from the Karnataka
Government Music Department. She took advanced lessons from Vidhushi Srimathi, Sri Sathyalingam and is
being guided by Smt.Vidya Subramanian, a senior student of Late Sri.Lalgudi Jayaraman. Bhuvana’s dedication
and long association with carnatic music brought her recognition in Singapore. While in Singapore, she
was one of the most sought after carnatic singer for Bharathanatyam performances. As a member of the
Singapore Indian Choir Group, Bhuvana was selected to sing in the International Arts Festival. She had the
opportunity to travel to Australia to represent Singapore in an exchange program. She also gave solo carnatic
performance on Singapore Television. Bhuvana has performed in India for Gayana Samaja, Indian
Institute of World Culture, Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, Bangalore. She has also sung in various
fundraising programs for organizations like MITHAS, Sri Lakshmi Temple,MA & Cancer Institute
Foundation. She has given solo concerts for organizations like KHMC, Chinmaya Mission
Boston, New England Kannada Koota & Sri Shirdi Sai Temple. Bhuvana was awarded the
Lokvani Spotlight on Excellence Award in recognition of her work. Bhuvana is the founder of
Gaanavaaridhi School of Music and trains several students at Shrewsbury, MA. She is also a
faculty at the Learnquest Academy of Music, Acton. She enjoys singing for classical dance
arangetrams and has given vocal support to numerous professional dance productions.
Bhuvana Ganesh was accompanied by:
Surya Sundararajan
Surya hails
from a family
of music
He received
his initial
violin training
from Sri P.
Dhanapathy for
over 12 years. He has received numerous
accolades for his performances in both
classical music and fusion music. He is
currently pursuing advanced training
from Shri Vittal Ramamurthy who
is the disciple of the legendary Shri
Lalgudi Jayaraman. Surya actively
performs in the New England area for
many concerts and arangetrams. He
teaches in Ashland and works as a Vice
President at Bank of New York Mellon.
Ullas Rao
Ullas Rao started his vocal training with Smt. Geetha Murali, a
renowned Carnatic vocalist, and mridangam training with Pravin
Sitaram, a much sought after mridangam vidwan, at the tender
age of five. He received advanced training in mridangam from
legendary Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri Palghat Raghu and
later from his disciple Sri Trivandrum Balaji. He has
won many awards and prizes in all major competitions
conducted by prestigious music organizations like
Cleveland Aradhana and CMANA of NJ in both vocal
and percussion categories. He had the honor of
winning CMANA’s prestigious M.S. Subbulakshmi
award at the young age of 13.
Artist Profiles
Saturday, March 14th
Uma Shankar
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
Uma Shankar was accompanied by:
K.V. S. Vinay
Uma was introduced to music at early childhood. She
began her formal music education from Smt. Shanta
Balasubramanian (Mumbai) and then did her advanced
training from a very accomplished Guru (Late) Smt.
T. R. Balamani (Mumbai). At present, she continues
to receive guidance from Vidushi. Smt. Vasundra
Rajagopalan from Chennai. Uma had the opportunity to
learn new repertoire with renowned musicians including
Shri T.K. Govinda Rao (Mumbai). Uma has performed
extensively in India and USA specially supporting
fundraisers for charity and noble non- profit causes. She
also leads the programs and education head in KHMC
(a non-profit org) in Boston, MA. Uma’s approach to
music is based on the soul of the raga, with bhava and
sahitya given utmost priority. She has received critical
acclaim for her voice throw and modulation and her
repertoire and sensitive approach to
rendering kritis. She has been
lead vocalist for many dance
productions as well.
K. V. S. Vinay is the grandson
of Sangeetha Kalanidhi
late Sri T. K. Jayarama Iyer,
eminent violinist and father
of orchestration of Carnatic
music. Born and raised in Delhi,
Vinay had his initial training from Mrs. A. Vanaja and
subsequently trained under Late Sri V. Janakiraman and
his uncle Late Sri Kovai B. Dakshinamurthy. A concert
performer for over 25 years, Vinay has had the privilege of
accompanying many leading musicians. He has featured
on national radio and TV in India and has won many
awards including an Indian government scholarship for
training in music. Since moving to the US, Vinay has
had the opportunity to perform with eminent India and
US based artists in leading sabhas across the country. He
has also had the opportunity to collaborate with Bostonbased World Jazz groups “Natraj” and “Bangalore”.
At present, she resides in Shrewsbury,
MA where she actively teaches under
the name of Sruthilayaa School
of Carnatic Music. Her
students have participated
and won competitions in
Cleveland Thyagaraja
Aradhana, NEMA
to name a few.
Siva Ponnudurai
Siva Ponnudurai is from Yaalpaanam ( Jaffna), Sri Lanka
and have been performing mridangam for 20 years. He
received initial tutelage during his middle school days in
Muscat, Oman under Guru Santhanakrishnan,
brother of Thavil Maestro Valangaiman
A. Shanmugasundaram Pillai. Siva
continues advanced training under Guru
Karaikudi.R.Mani of South India. He has
accompanied artists globally in various
classical and fusion ensembles. He lives
in Farmington, CT
with his wife and two
sons. Siva is keen on
developing talent locally
and collaborating with
various cultural sabhas
to bring awareness to
this sacred art.
In 2009, he and his guru Pravin Sitaram, were
awarded a “master-apprentice” program grant
by Massachusetts Cultural Council as a part of
recognizing “Keepers of Tradition”. Ullas has
performed in several concerts in New England and
Tristate areas and also in India both as a vocalist and
as a mridangist and has won much appreciation from
rasikas. He is currently a senior at Brandeis University.
Artist Profiles
Sunday, March 29th
Zakir Hussain - Tabla
Zakir Hussain is today appreciated both in the field
of percussion and in the music world at large as an
international phenomenon and one of the greatest
musicians of our time. A classical tabla virtuoso of the
highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting
performances have established him as a national treasure
in his own country, India, and as one of India’s reigning
cultural ambassadors.
Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary
world music movement, Zakir’s contribution to
world music has been unique, with many historic
collaborations, including Shakti, which he founded with
John McLaughlin and L. Shankar, Remember Shakti,
the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum
with Mickey Hart, Tabla Beat Science, Sangam with
Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland, and recordings and
performances with artists as diverse as George Harrison,
YoYo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira,
Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie
Harris, and the Kodo drummers.
Events prior to April 3, 4, 5 festival at
the Regis College Fine Arts Center
His music and extraordinary contribution to the music world
were honored in April 2009, with four widely heralded and
sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall’s Artist Perspective series.
A multiple Grammy-award winner and the recipient of
countless honors, Zakir has received titles from the Indian,
American, and French governments, Grammys, and “best
percussionist” awards from significant music journals.
He has scored music for many films, events, and productions
including the 1996 Summer Olympics. He has both
composed and performed with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet
(for which he received two Isadora Duncan Awards), YoYo
Ma’s “Silk Road Project” with choreographer Mark Morris,
and, with his oft-times collaborators and band-mates Bela
Fleck and Edgar Meyer, with both the Nashville and Detroit
Symphony Orchestras, under the baton of Leonard Slatkin.
Zakir’s second concerto, Concerto for Four Soloists, a special
commission for the National Symphony Orchestra, was
performed at Kennedy Center in March 2011, conducted
by Christoph Eschenbach. His third concerto, the first ever
composed for tabla, will premiere in Mumbai in fall, 2015,
with the Symphony Orchestra of India.
“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets
that can calm the agitations of the soul;
it is one of the most magnificent and
delightful presents God has given us.”
- Martin Luther
Dr. Suraja Roychowdhury, Lic.Ac, Dipl. OM, Ph.D
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Shuchita Rao
Durga Krishnan
Shuchita Rao is a Hindustani vocalist with a lifelong interest
in learning, teaching and promoting Indian Classical Music.
Besides being a faculty at LearnQuest Academy, she is also
the founder-director of Sharon based music school RASA
(Raaga Aesthetics Sharing and Appreciation).
A graduate of Carnatic Music College of Chennai, India with
degrees including an advanced Teacher’s certificate, Durga
Krishnan has been teaching music for over 4 decades. She
has learned the Veena from the legendary Veena Maestro Dr.
Chitti Babu and accompanied him in several of his recordings.
She has learned music from her parents and several
eminent Gurus in India and has been deeply inspired by
her teacher from Hyderabad, Smt. Malini Rajurkar. She
has also learned Carnatic music from S. R. Janakiraman
and has passed exams in Western music theory from Royal
College of Music in London.
She has been teaching and performing in the Massachusetts
area since 1977 and has had many successful arangetrams.
She has given lecture demonstrations and workshops in
well-known educational institutes in the Boston area such
as Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University,
Berklee College of Music, and Wellesley College. At the
Museum of Fine Arts, her veena music will be featured on
their web site and in an e-book of all the instruments they
have in their collection starting from August 2014. In addition
to LearnQuest, Durga is also on the board of other prestigious
organizations in the Boston area such as MITHAS, and
KHMC. She is the Cultural Director of Chinmaya Mission,
Boston and organizes concerts by well-known artists from
India and Massachusetts. Durga Krishnan has been an
effective and sought after teacher of veena and vocal music.
The Academic Institution
LearnQuest Academy provides formal instruction in Indian Classical Music both in Hindustani and
Carnatic styles. Founded in December 1994, the Academy offers curriculum-based instruction in several
disciplines of music. LearnQuest has a faculty of 12 instructors and 170 registered students and offers
music instruction at three locations in the Boston area - Waltham, Acton and Andover. The instructions
cover classical vocal music and a variety of instruments including sitar, sarod, veena, tabla, mridangam,
harmomium, and guitarod (modified guitar to resemble sarod), as well as Western music lessons in
instruments such as piano, guitar and keyboard.
Workshops in classical music and lecture demonstrations in music appreciation are periodically
conducted each year by renowned visiting musicians and music educators. The academy has organized
workshops and lecture-demonstrations by well known musicians such as Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, Dr.
Prabha Atre, Pt. Ajay Chakraborty, Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta, Pt. Vinayak Torvi, Pt. Sandip Ghosh, Ustad
Shahid Parvez, Pt. Vijay Kichlu, Vid. U. Srinivas, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee and Pt. Ajay Pohankar, Vid. T. R.
Subramanyam, Malladi Brothers, T. M. Krishna, Gundecha Brothers among many others. Our talented
faculty forms the back-bone of the academy and given below are their brief profiles.
Aparna has a pleasing voice, excellent spontaneity, vast
repertoire, and a clear diction. Aparna has been an active
performer for the past 17 years, both in India and in the US.
In India she performs in the Chennai music season in all
major music organizations including the prestigious Music
Academy of Chennai, and also on TV such as Kalingnar
TV, Channel Hitz and Jaya TV, and Sun TV. Concerts,
playback tracks and music albums featuring Aparna bear
testimony to this. She has won many awards, notable
locally was the award of excellence in performing arts from
Lokvani, MA. With the title “Ilam Isai Mamani” conferred
by Madras Kali Bari temple, she looks forward to reaching
many more milestones.
Aparna Balaji hails from a family of musicians. Ever
eager and earnest to learn, Aparna’s music has been
meticulously shaped by her grandfather Sangeetha
Booshanam Shri. O. V. Subramaniam, father Sangeetha
Choodamani Shri. O. S.Thiagarajan, and Shri. Neyveli R.
Santhana Gopalan, who found in her a discerning student.
Aparna is also the founder/director of Abhyaas (www. ), a music school that offers lessons and
workshops enriching the Greater Boston community in
Carnatic Classical (South Indian) music. Abhyaas aims
to inspire and inculcate a sense of reverence to the art in
the minds of its students, through rigorous training and
events that emphasize performing arts.
Shuchita started teaching music to children in 2004 and
in more recent years has been giving tutelage to several
adult students. Over the years, Shuchita has given several
performances across the country in Denver, Pittsburgh, and
Long Beach and has also given several lecture-demonstrations
and workshops on Indian Music in Massachusetts. In 2009,
she recorded a CD for teaching nursery rhymes to young
kids and a fusion album called ‘Triveni Confluence’ with
respected artists from New England.
Pravin Sitaram
Dr. Pravin Sitaram hails from a family in Mumbai that is steeped in Carnatic music tradition.
Introduced to mridangam at the age of 8, Pravin has learnt this art from his Guru, Late Shri P. S.
Parameswaran - a disciple of the legendary Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer. He was also fortunate to have
advanced lessons with the Late Palghat R. Raghu. Pravin’s sensitive and unobtrusive approach to
mridangam accompaniment has been appreciated by one and all. He has accompanied several
artists of outstanding caliber and repute including Sangeetha Kalanidhis Dr. R. K. Srikantan, Smt.
R. Vedavalli, and Madurai Shri T. N. Seshagopalan. He has also accompanied Shri T. M. Krishna,
Violin maestros – Shri G. J. R. Krishnan, Lalgudi Smt. Vijayalakshmi, and Shri Mysore Manjunath
to name a few. In addition, Pravin has accompanied several visiting and local artists. Pravin is a
sought after mridangam teacher in the Boston area. Several of his students are now performing in
the New England Area. He has been a faculty member at the LearnQuest Academy of Music since
2003. His students have participated and won prizes in competitions held in North America.
Nishikant Sonwalkar
Nishikant is an
accomplished Tabla
player. He earned
his Bachelor’s degree
in music under the
supervision of the
renowned Pandit Kiran
Deshpande and Pandit
Sharad Khargoankar
of Indore Gharana.
He regularly performed on All India Radio and Doordarshan
(TV) while in India as a tabla solo performer. During the
last two decades in Boston, he has accompanied numerous
distinguished musicians from India, vocalists such as Firoz
Dastoor, Gulam Mustafa Khan, Vinayak Torvi, Ganapati Bhatt,
Gokulotsav Maharaj, Vidyadhar Vyas, Sanjeev Abhyankar,
Sudha Malhotra, Sujata Bhattacharya, Tripti Mukherjee and
Sumitra Guha, Subhra Guha, and instrumentalists such as
Buddhadev Dasgupta, Bhaskar Chandavarkar, Shahid Purvez,
and Jamir Ahmad Khan to name a few. He has also performed
in two Jazz-Fusion CDs with Abby Rabinovitz (“Flute Stories”
and “We used to dance”).
Priti Chakravarty
Priti Chakravarty received
her Sangeet Visharad in
Hindustani Classical Music in
Bhagalpur, Bihar. She received
her advanced training from
Late Pandit Vinayak Narayan
Patwardhan, renowned
disciple of Late Pandit Vishnu
Digamber Paluskar, a pioneer
of Hindustani Classical Music.
From a young age, he enjoyed
performances and competitions,
and has received numerous
prizes and recognitions for
her talent. Priti has been associated with teaching vocal
music since the early sixties as professor and head of the
department of a degree college in India. She has been
extensively involved in developing music curriculum as
member of board of examiners in various universities. She
served as the chairperson of the curriculum committee of
a university in Patna, Bihar. She took her students to interuniversity competitions to Delhi many times and received
recognition from eminent personalities including Dr. S.
He is the Music Producer and Host of a monthly
Radhakrishnan. She is a regular vocal performer and an
Multicultural Music Magazine at Arlington, TV and has
accomplished harmonium player. She has accompanied
recently published a Tabla Solo CD “Rhythm Improvisations” many eminent visiting vocalists from India, such as Pandit
available through iTunes. Dr. Sonwalkar is the Director of
Suhas Vyas, Dr. Nagraj Rao Havildar, Pandit Hemant Pandse,
Research at USDLA and Managing Director of Synaptiv
and Smt. Rajyashree Ghosh. She is an active faculty member
Global Learning, LLC. He has been teaching tabla at
of LearnQuest Academy where she teaches vocal music,
LearnQuest since its inception.
harmonium and keyboard.
Jawwad Noor
Jawwad Noor began
his study of sitar
under (late) Ustad
M. Alam Khan in
1991 and later also
studied with vocalists
Ustad Mubarak Ali
Khan and Ustad Nazir
Ahmed. Since becoming a ganda-band shagird in 2007, he
has consistently been receiving rigorous training from Ustad
Shahid Parvez Khan, the leading sitarist in the world from the
Etawa gharana. A recipient of gold medal at a national music
competition in Pakistan, he has given numerous performances
over the years across Pakistan and USA.
Bhuvana Ganesh
Bhuvana Ganesh received her
initial Carnatic music training
from Sangeetha Vidhooshi
Smt.Vallabham Kalyana
Sundaram, sister of veteran
composer Sri Mayuram
Viswanatha Sastry. She took advanced lessons from Vidhushi
Srimathi, Sri Sathyalingam and at present is under the
guidance of Smt.Vidya Subramanian, a senior student of
Late Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. Bhuvana’s dedication and long
association with Carnatic music brought her recognition
in Singapore where she was one of the most sought after
Carnatic singers for Bharathanatyam performances.
As a member of the Singapore Indian Choir Group, Bhuvana
was selected to sing in the International Arts Festival. She
had the opportunity to travel to Australia to represent
Singapore in an exchange program. She also gave a solo
Carnatic performance on Singapore Television. After moving
to United States in 2000, Bhuvana has been actively teaching
music to both kids and adults. She has also performed for
various organizations like MITHAS, the Sri Lakshmi Temple,
KHMC, Chinmaya Mission, New England Kannada Koota,
and Sri Shirdi Sai Temple. Bhuvana is also the founder of
Gaanavaaridhi School of Music and trains several students
in Shrewsbury, MA. She enjoys singing for classical dance
arangetrams and has given vocal support to numerous
professional dance productions. Bhuvana was awarded the
Lokvani Spotlight on Excellence Award for her wonderful
work in the Boston area Carnatic music circle.
Phil Kaplan
Phil has been performing,
composing, producing,
and teaching music in
the New England area
and internationally since
graduating from New
England Conservatory of
Music in 1979. Classical
Indian music hit Phil early when his older brother put Ali
Akbar Khan and Allah Rakha’s Raga Shree on the stereo
turntable. Over the years, he has sought guidance from many
exponents - Peter Row and Warren Senders of the New
England Conservatory, and Pradeep Shukla of LearnQuest.
He has learned from Pandit Vinayak Torvi, Pandit Ajay
Pohankar, Dr. Suresh Mathur, and Shuchita Rao.
In recent years Phil has been under the tutelage of sarod
master Shri Puspen Dey, a senior disciple of Pandit
Buddhadev Dasgupta. Phil has received expert and cogent
guidance in repertoire, expression, and technique, along with
much practical and philosophical wisdom from his Guru.
Part of Phil’s musical journey has included an ongoing love
affair with the electric solid-body guitar. Phil’s distinctive
contribution has been his uniquely customized model of
an instrument he calls the Guitarod – a Hindustani Fretless
Guitar. It has a sweet sound that has delighted the listners.
Phil has been with LearnQuest since May 2000. He has
performed extensively in India and the U.S. at venues
such as the Hard Rock Café in New Delhi, the Blue Frog in
Bombay, New England Marathi Mandal, Vedanta Center,
Providence, LearnQuest Conference, India Day at the Hatch
Shell, Essence of India, local/area Jazz & Rock venues such as
Ryles Café, Lizard Lounge, Toad, and Chianti.
Rajesh Puranik
Rajesh inherited his general
love of music from his mother,
who often played classic
Bollywood songs at home.
However, it was not until 1994
that Rajesh got the opportunity
to learn tabla. Since then, he
has been fortunate to learn
from some of the leading tabla teachers around Boston,
including Nishikant Sonwalkar, Jerry Leake, and Aditya
Kalyanpur. In 2009, Rajesh initiated online Skype lessons
with teachers in India, both for him and his son. His success
with online lessons drove Rajesh to start a music education
website, , where Indian music teachers
offer live online lessons globally. Rajesh’s own search for
music teachers for his son drove him to start teaching other
children. Rajesh joined the LearnQuest faculty in 2012. He
feels privileged to share his own love for tabla with the next
generation, and feels strongly that learning Indian music and
arts is one of the best ways for children to gain exposure to the
rich heritage of Indian culture at large.
Pradeep Shukla
Pradeep Shukla is an avid
music enthusiast and teaches
Hindustani vocal music at
LearnQuest. He received his
initial training in vocal music
from Pandit V. V. Paranjape
in Ujjain, India, and later
from Pandit Govind Prasad
Jaipurwale in Mumbai. While
in the US, he received valuable
guidance and training from Pandit Madhav Gudi of the
Kirana Gharana. Pradeep is President of LearnQuest Academy
of Music and is a Professor of Mathematics at Suffolk
University, Boston. He has collaborated with numerous
organizations in the Boston area and in the U.S. for over
twenty years for spreading Indian music and culture.
Sadhana Upadhyay
Debajit K. Biswas
Evari valla varnimpa thagune
[Who is there competent to describe?]
by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan
- Line from the Tyagaraja kriti Entha muddo in the ragam Bindumalini -
Sadhana’s training in Classical Vocal music
was attained in India, at Besant School and
Banaras University under the guidance of the
Late Pandit M.K. Samant, and the Late Pandit
M.V. Kalvint respectively. Sadhana is a faculty
and a board member of LearnQuest Academy,
where she has been teaching vocal music for
almost 15 years. She regularly creates and
composes bandishes for her students. Her
music is characterized by a resonant, rich
voice. Sadhana specializes in the Khyal genre
and performs in the Boston area frequently.
She is a licensed clinician by training.
Debajit K. Biswas started his training on Sarod at the age of 19, with
Pandit Biswanath Chakrabarty and later under the renowned Sarodia
Shri Radhika Mohan Maitra of Kolkata, India. Both of these Sarodiyas
were disciples of Sarod-Newaz, Ustad Mohammed Ameer Khan of
Shajahanpur. After about ten years of training, Dr. Biswas moved to USA
for the pursuit of his profession as a Scientist. He persisted his musical
endeavor with periodic visits to Kolkata and continued training till the
last days of his Guru Shree Radhika Mohan Maitra. Dr. Biswas sustained
his music training with Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta of Kolkata, the
ace disciple of Shree Radhika Mohan Maitra. A cancer biologist by
profession, he served as a faculty member of Harvard Medical School
since 1968 and later as a senior scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute, a Harvard Medical School affiliate.
The late night concert had commenced at the Music
Academy and my mother Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan
was hurrying to enter, when she ran into Madurai T. N.
Seshagopalan at the lobby. After the greetings he held
her back to tell her about a wonder boy who had played
the Mandolin earlier in the evening at another Sabha. He
was in a daze as he went on to describe the virtuosity, the
imagination, the incredible control over the instrument,
He plumbed the depths of major ragams with each svaram
“This boy, not even twelve revealed vistas in Nalinakanti
hitherto unknown! I just didn’t know what to do. I went up weighted down with gamakas. He swam the length and
breadth of rare ragams with mighty strokes. dived and
to him and offered him the ring I was wearing!”
Seshagopalan was all starry eyed and excited at the
new star that had arrived from nowhere in the musical
firmament. It was the Music season in Madras in
December 1981.
Curious about the prodigy, my parents and I attended
the next concert by U. Srinivas. What we witnessed was
nothing short of a miracle! My father, who had first
heard Flute Mali as a boy of twelve and had held him
as the acme of Carnatic music, came to the immediate
conclusion that Srinivas was the reincarnation of Mali.
My mother was more metaphysical in her pronouncement,
“Where was the time to learn, practice and perfect, leave
alone gain experience through listening? He has spent one
Janma to learn and another to practice. In this birth he
has come straight to perform.”
There was an interview in the Illustrated Weekly of India,
where the editor Pritish Nandy had asked dancer Sonal
Mansingh about her favourite instrumentalists. After
mentioning a few artists of the north and south she said
“…there is a boy, a very young boy of 12 or 13, a prodigy.
His name is U. Srinivas. He plays, if you please, the
mandolin. When I first heard him, my God, I couldn’t
believe it. The papers had raved about him and people
had talked about him and one usually takes such cases
with a pinch of salt. But when I listened to him I really
believed in God.”
Even though he was amazing every time that anyone
listened to him, it was his musical maturity and the
incredible flights of imagination that won the admiration
of the great musicians of his time. Leading accompanists
vied with each other to play with him. He was a dream
performer for percussionists as they found him rising
brilliantly to their challenges and responding with
challenges of his own.
soared until they attained the stature of major ragams.
After listening to his elaboration of Thodi, my father who
had heard T. N. Rajarathanam Pillai, the all time great of
Nagasvaram, was convinced that Srinivas had a streak of
the maestro in him.
Once when I tried to contact a friend in her office, I was
put on hold by the operator. As I waited I was mesmerized
by the Thaye Yasoda in Thodi played by U. Srinivas, and
was upset when it was abruptly cut and my friend came
on the line. It was probably the only time I was happy to
wait interminably for a call to connect.
His Ragam tanam pallavis in the rare ragams Bindu
Malini and Garudadhwani at the Music Academy are
etched in the memories of music lovers as rarest of rare
treats. While speed was his forte he could also go into
a meditative mode with every note on the base strings
tugging at the listeners’ heart. With an ever widening
repertoire he held the audience captive with delectable
numbers from start to the end.
The respect he showed his accompanists, often decades
older to him, was genuine and sincere. Without being
condescending or supercilious he could express his
pleasure nevertheless, like a child playing a game with
adults. There was once this jugal bandi of the Mandolin
and a senior Sarangi player. The first half of the high
profile programme was, to say the least, plain disaster.
The Sarangi player made repeated attempt to reproduce
the lightning flashes of the mandolin and the result was
With Best Compliments from
Only a faint hope that there could be delectable sequences
from Srinivas made me even wait for the second half after
the interval. And the wait was amply rewarded. Srinivas
imperceptibly took the lead and gently guided his fellow
artist through familiar ground and put him entirely at
ease. It was smooth sailing thereafter and the concert
became actually enjoyable.
Aalok Fashion
Known for Fashion,
Tailoring and Beauty
for over a decade
There was a period in the eighties when music lovers
started despairing about the future of this great art.
The audiences were dwindling and those remaining
were mostly senior citizens. The advent of the younger
generation musicians like Srinivas brought upon a
resurgence in Carnatic music. Youth began to show its
presence among the listeners too.
Location: 404 Moody St.
Waltham, MA
My nephew Ananth, totally untouched by Carnatic music,
in the midst of our music mad family, would opt for
Simon and Garfunkle and not Semmangudi. And then
he discovered Srinivas. Like Mary’s little lamb he literally
followed Srinivas everywhere that December, attending
his concerts every day. Like a greedy hoarder he started
amassing cassettes of Srinivas’ recordings and concerts.
Tuesdays - Saturdays
11 am - 8 pm
1 pm - 7 pm
Closed Mondays, all state
and federal holidays
Like Ananth there were innumerable rasikas, young and
old, who had an insatiable thirst for the Srinivas magic.
For them it was not enough to listen to him on the radio
or from cassettes. They had to listen to him in person.
Live Sound
For it was a treat to watch him play onstage as he bent
over his baby like instrument and looked up to smile
with pleasure at the music, at his accompanists and at the
audience. He found and gave immense joy and his very
body language was an epitome of atmanandam.
His joy was not in music alone. He derived joy in
people as well. He was invariably mobbed at the end
of his concerts and would greet each one with genuine
pleasure and affection. Never missed speaking to any. It
was amazing to watch how he could handle the pressure
when several tried to catch his attention at the same time.
Effusive praise would be acknowledged with the humble
words “God’s grace.”
Live Sound Engineering is proud to be managing the
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He certainly had a direct link and stayed connected every
time he picked up his beloved instrument.
Please Contact Us For Your Next Event
Here was a Srinivas, when comes such another?!!!
Call Jawed: 774-259-4285 or
(Published in Sruti, November 2014)
Gurukulam, the Internet and
Musical Heritage
by S. Chaks Srinivasan
The music landscape is currently undergoing an apparent
metamorphosis in the teaching of Carnatic Music. There is
online music training now available for all disciplines, from
Carnatic vocal to instruments - percussion, violin, morsing
and on. The Indian diaspora is said to have created this
demand, chiefly by encouraging children to actively pursue
Carnatic Music. The internet seems to bring about the
best of both the worlds. Thousands of miles of separation
from homeland does not matter and a life style the parents
are used to and comfortable with continues. Established
musicians such as Neyveli Santhanagopalan, vocalist,
and Delhi Sounder Rajan, violinist, to mention just two,
are available for internet coaching, providing, of course,
the students get accepted. Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy,
a Kalamazoo, Michigan native and concert class
percussionist, terms this “Virtual Gurukulam” (1).
to, however, in Indian lingo as “Karnaparampara” –
aural lineage. This was especially so where chanting
was involved, as, for example, with the Sama Veda. The
written word alone would not do justice to the intent of
the Veda, namely, chanting of the verses (Sama Gana),
the verses being drawn from the eighth and ninth books
of the Rig Veda, mostly. The music that developed and
grew following Sama Gana has been handed down to us
through written text and Gurukulam training. Support
for the running of a Gurukulam would have needed
benefactors since there was no remunerative angle to the
spread of knowledge in those times. Token Dakshinas
(payment) may be given by the disciple to the master at
the end of training, however. Guru Bhakti (unconditional
and total devotion to teacher) figured prominently in this
learning process.
The Olden Days
Lineage – Sishya Parampara
In the beginning there was the “Gurukulam”, a word that
invokes images of a Sishya (an ardent student) doing daily
chores in his Guru’s household, attending to Guru’s comfort
and learning a discipline at Guru’s convenience. As for
Guru’s comfort, sage Parashurama resting his head on his
disciple Karna’s lap for a moment of repose comes to mind
and, perhaps, this was not far from truth in olden days.
Musical lineages that ensued preserved the musical style
of the master. Thus, to cite just a few examples:
Purandara Dasa had Swami Haridas (Tansen’s teacher) as
his Sishya, among others;
Saint Thyagaraja had a number of disciples, at least thirty,
Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar being the foremost
among them;
Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s tradition was continued by,
among others, Sattanur Panchanadam Iyer, by the Tanjore
quartet - Ponniah, Chinnaiah, Vadivelu and Sivanandam
and by Dikshtar’s family;
Teaching was imparted by the Guru to Sishyas over years
and the Sishyas, blessed by their Gurus, would go on
to become Gurus themselves in due course. Coaching
could be one-on-one or could be in groups. Sishyas
would advance in learning at their own pace. However,
admittance to Gurukulam may not have been egalitarian.
Selection of a disciple often would not be based on merit
and sincerity alone. His post in life may count as well.
Ekalaiva was denied Drona’s mentorship in archery since
he was not of the right royalty; Karna, a Kshatria, had to
employ deceit to get art of war tutelage from Parashurama
who would mentor only Brahmins. Stories though
these may be, they give us a peek into the mindset of
the Gurukulam order that may have existed. And it was
mainly a male dominated set up.
Shyama Sastry’s son, Subbaraya Sastry, was his prime
Subbaraya Sastry also had the unique privilege and honor
of learning under Thyagaraja and Dikshitar.
We owe much to these and the myriad other sishyas for the
immense wealth of music that has been bestowed on us.
Gurukulam in Modern Times
The need for Sishyas having to stay with the Guru eased
up as society developed along modern ways and students
could visit their Guru’s abode, spend long hours of
learning and get back to their own homes.
Since Vedic times, knowledge - religious and cultural spread in India essentially by word of mouth – referred
In cases involving women, teachers would visit student’s
homes (2). As a consequence, an educational set up that
was essentially a male bastion gave way to admitting
lady members to its fold in great numbers. M. L.
Vasanthakumari could become the Sishyai of GNB; she,
in turn, would tutor Sudha Raghunathan; Mudikondan
Venkatarama Iyer would tutor R. Vedavalli; Musiri
Subramania Iyer would find an able Sishyai in Suguna
Purushottaman. The list could go on. And the GuruSishya relation turned more academic. T. N. Seshagopalan
had this to say regarding his tutorship in Madurai under
his Guru Ramanathapuram C. S. Sankarasivam (3):
“I didn’t have to wash his clothes or press his feet. It was
a simple student-teacher relationship. And what a great
teacher! I am what I am because of his blessings. I used
to go to his house at six in the morning and stay with him
until it was time to go to college, and then go back for
another session in the evening.”
Welcome to New Gurukulam!
Technology and Tuitions
Technology intruded in the early 1900’s in the form
of Gramophone and radio broadcasting. New avenues
opened up relating to music preservation and teaching.
Now, one could, in principle, not only store musical
styles of great masters but also learn from their “record”,
Ekalaivan style, without fear of rejection or retribution.
Madras All India Radio Station (AIR, Chennai Vanoli
Nilayam) was commissioned in 1938. The station began
publishing the Tamil journal “Vanoli” and started on-air
music lessons two or three days a week. The classes were
conducted by stalwarts such as Dr. S. Ramanathan, ably
assisted on air by their students. The music lessons would
be published beforehand in Vanoli with complete details
regarding raga, tala, lyrics, notation and the name of the
composer. Avid students would gather around the radio
and repeat after the teacher.
This marks the start of long distance teaching. Looking
back, the internet based Skype and Google Talk music
sessions of today now appear to be part of a continuing
evolutionary trend. Following the gramophone, reel to reel
and cassette tape recorders and digital recording media
came on the scene enriching our music libraries beyond
measure. The next major technological advancement was
the internet ushering in the online phenomenon.
Online Musical Training Websites
Several websites exist that provide free recorded lessons
on Carnatic Music. The one maintained by Shivkumar
(4) and another, Raga Surabhi (5), are worthy of mention
here. (6) provides free access to introductory
lessons up to varnams presented by R. Vedavalli and
Bombay Sisters. However, the Gaana site is not exclusively
devoted to Carnatic music. In these websites, typically,
the lesson will be presented in print form, and the piece
will be sung by the teacher to be repeated by the listening
student. Recorded music lessons are also available for
purchase from noted artists such as R. Vedavalli, Mysore
Nagamani Srinath and Sowmya - to mention just a few.
These sites and materials are to be considered as useful
adjuncts to face to face or online Skype sessions since
they lack teacher-student interaction – a necessary part of
learning, especially for beginners.
Online Musical Training
Limitations and constraints do exist in online teaching. If
the teacher happens to be in India and the student in the
U.S, the different time zones will dictate when the online
session can take place and for how long. Next, there is
the latency factor. Due to transmission induced delays in
signal travel both ways, teacher and student may not be
in sync to sing or put talam together. Issues relating to
video and audio quality and dropped connections impact
session continuity. While these challenges do not exist in
personal, face to face training, they are of technological
nature and may disappear with improvements in the
field. In an online session typically the student may put
on headphones, turn on the audio, record the session and
turn the video on only occasionally.
Internet teaching is lucrative on two counts for a teacher
in India. First, the teacher commands tuition rates that
are several times the local, Indian rate (1) with the rates,
however, appearing reasonable on the American side.
Secondly, the teacher can teach several students at the same
time thus augmenting his or her income several fold.
Worthy of mention here is the Shankar Mahadevan
Academy in Bengaluru which, University style, holds
online classes, conducted in “modules”, in Hindustani,
Carnatic, Devotional and Bollywood music genres.
Operating in 18 geographical time zones it is open
from 4 AM to 10 PM, with a mission to “spread the joy
of music across the world” (7). The courses have been
designed with help from experts in each field, Nedunuri
Krishnamurthy for Carnatic Music, being one example.
Upon completing a module the student receives a
certificate signed by Shankar Mahadevan.
The Future
Questions arise as to how effective online music training
could be. Can it produce concert class Vidwans? Does
it augment Gurukulam? Can it replace Gurukulam?
Where are we headed with this?
The response to the above is that Gurukulam, a proxy
word for personal training, and online musical training
are not mutually exclusive. Online training is in fact a
continuing and evolving Gurukulam phenomenon that
started with on air music lessons. It has brought quality
music closer to the masses. When judiciously employed
it can be a powerful adjunct to face to face, one-on-one,
tutorship. To quote one source:
When asked about the impact of such a model on a traditional
performing art form, most musicians feel that in a way the
online model is keeping classical music alive, “If we did not
have access to this technology or we chose not to use it, it is
likely that these students would have discontinued learning
music completely. Is that desirable at all?” (8).
Face-to-face, one-on-one, tutorship is undeniably
essential so that student missteps which may be missed
in an online session are attended to in a timely fashion
before the missteps get ingrained. However, for those who
do not have stage performance aspirations, namely, music
hobbyists, serious Rasikas and college students intent
on credit points, online training may suffice. Indeed, a
tutorial site such as Shivkumar’s may just work for them.
competition, dance and drama programs. Webcasts are
available, for a fee, courtesy of icarnatic. The festival has
an education program called “Sustaining Sampradaya”
in which selected students get music lessons on chosen
pieces of compositions on a themed program, online and
in person, by noted musicians from Chennai.
Likewise, The Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam, started in1977,
has student participation programs wherein preparatory,
online Skype sessions figure in. The Chetulara
performance program is one such.
Surprisingly, initial online training has spurred on a kind
of reverse migration of sorts. Several committed students
have moved from the U.S to Chennai taking permanent
residence there to receive closer training from their
Gurus. This involves, in addition, finding admission in
a Chennai school for their education and a two-country
family set up for the parents.
It will not be surprising if, before long, the December
Chennai music season becomes accessible online and
enters our living rooms live, thanks to the internet.
Internet Online teaching is here to stay and, like all other
technical tools that have aided in the preservation and
propagation of our music, it too will help us sustain our
heritage. Newer dimensions will open up as creative
students get drawn to Carnatic Music in greater numbers.
1. Logging on to the Virtual Gurukulam:
2. Mani Krishnaswamy interview in “A Gurukulam in Digital Times”:
Purists have, in the past, frowned at technology, at
the introduction of the mike and the loud speaker in
concerts, for example. One cannot now imagine a present
day music concert without the mike, except in “chamber
music” sessions involving small audience. Others have
looked askance at AIR broadcasts, saying that “the glut of
musical programmes makes for familiarity, a law of nature
that breeds contempt” (9). A point well noted, perhaps,
but the same can be said for the music season in Chennai
where there is an apparent “glut” of musical programs and
Carnatic Music is none the worse for it.
3. Sruti , Issue 3, December 1983,Page 31 summarized in: http://
4. Carnatic Music Basics, Geethams & Varnams Audio Lessons Archive:
5. Raga Surabhi :
7. Gurukul Tradition Goes Online: http://www.newindianexpress.
8. Virtually Music, Hindu July 11, 2013:
Technology figures prominently in the Cleveland
Thyagaraja Festival, conducted every year in the month of
April, around Easter, since 1978. It lasts almost two weeks
and is replete with concerts by prominent artists, music
9. R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, History of South Indian (Carnatic) Music,
1972, p332
Motivation in Music Learning
by Shuchita Rao
Many young children of Indian descent living in the
Boston area have given high quality music and dance
debut performances over several years. They have dared to
aspire to present high-caliber performances, have spent
considerable time and effort in preparing for such events
and have pulled off highly successful three to four hour
long performances.
As a music teacher, many parents approach me with this
request. “Can you please put my child on the arangetram/
manch-pravesh track? I want that my child should dream
big, work hard and deliver a grand musical performance
preferably before they enter junior(11th) grade in the high
school! Such parents usually have a very deep and genuine
love for the classical arts and perhaps un-fulfilled desire to
have succeeded in music performance. They may or may
not care whether their child has similar interests and goals.
Having trained two young high school students who have
given successful debut Hindustani classical vocal music
performances, and coached several delightful children
whose parents are determined to make them succeed as
musicians, I have no simple answers as to what makes
some students practice with persistence to achieve their
musical goals while others with equal or better ability
never fulfil their potential. I can however share some
observations and offer tips to enthusiastic parents and
young musicians who aspire to do well in music.
Several factors influence a student’s motivation to practice
what they learn. The student’s background, personality
type(easy-going vs hard working), sense of self and
conscientiousness play a part as much as their teacher’s
scholarship, methods of teaching and inspiring as well as
their parents’ nurturing attitude. Let us look deeper into
some of these factors.
A Teacher’s Role
A teacher can play a powerful role in inspiring and
motivating students. Effective teachers research, find and
present appealing content that speaks to the students’
souls. The music must reveal to them a kind of beauty
that words alone cannot convey and affect their lives in
positive ways. Teachers must raise students’ appreciation
of great music by introducing them to the music of the
great masters. If teachers offer a child an opportunity
to choose what they learn, provide opportunities to
improvise, perform in community sharing events, and
listen to what the students have to say about the music
they learn, they help them fulfill their need for autonomy
and enhance intrinsic motivation. Teachers should
communicate clear expectations to a student that shows
potential to achieve and provide supportive comments to
help the student to improve his/her skills. Feedback that
focuses on the process of practice and on outcomes rather
than on the student’s personality works best. Finally,
teachers must also lead by example and work on their
own performing skills to ensure that the students see
good stage presentations by their own teachers.
A motivational environment takes the
student a long way
Aim for perfect attendance: Try not to miss a class. Continuity
is extremely important for practicing musicians. Gaps in
training create problems.
To improve a student’s engagement with music, parents
and teachers must work towards creating a musical
environment that fosters learning. A neat and clean
practice room, a library with interesting books, audio
and video recordings, shared family experiences at good
quality concerts, discussions at home about music,
hosting artists and helping artists create a motivational
environment. Understanding how students think and feel
about themselves, their musical preferences and goals,
attending their performances and providing constructive
feedback also help.
Invest in an electronic tanpura/table app: It is very important
to have an electronic tabla/taanpura app on your smart
device. I-tabla-pro costing $24.99 is a lifelong investment that
must be made the day you start your lessons. You can play it
anywhere you have quiet surroundings to practice music.
Rewards and Punishments
Daily practice must be a commitment: Music lessons are
rewarding but real progress happens when you practice
between lessons. Skills are introduced during the lesson –
success, however, depends on how you work on those skills
between lessons. Daily practice between 20 minutes to 60
minutes is a commitment that every young musician must
make over a period of several years. Enjoy the journey.
Should parents offer rewards to encourage their child
to practice or do they enable the child to take control
of their own learning and progress? A basic theory of
motivation suggests that rewards encourage continued
action while punishments discourage it. Some parents
may argue that rewards strengthen desired behavior but
research suggests that rewards foster extrinsic reasons to
engage in music practice. There is no way to accurately
determine if the child practices music to earn the reward
or to improve their skills and do well in music.
Great musicians such as late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
has shared sad stories about immense pressure and
punishment from his father to put in long hours of
practice. He turned out to be a very great musician but
there is every chance are that he would have been an even
greater musician had he been intrinsically motivated to
practice music. If your child does not practice music even
after reminders, there is a possibility that while he/she
may love music and show good potential to succeed, his/
her heart is really not in learning music with the grand
goal of presenting an arangetram/manch pravesh show.
Observe the child to see what activities they genuinely
enjoy and encourage them in that direction.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes: The classroom is practice
ground. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Be natural. If
you make a funny sound, laugh at what happened. Develop
confidence in yourself. We all learn from mistakes.
Practice slow and steady: Do not be in a hurry to sing fast
passages. It is important to first sing slowly to develop good
intonation and perfection in pitch and rhythm.
Know when to stop: If your voice is becoming hoarse, there is
no point in running it down further. Take a break and gives the
muscles a rest. Take precautions such as avoiding fried foods.
A Few Practice Tips for Aspiring Musicians
Mental practice is as important as physical practice: Recall
the lesson taught to you frequently. Even if you cannot
exercise the vocal cords, practice by recalling the content
without looking at your notes. If you cannot remember,
consult your notes.
To be a musician, think like a musician: Practice not just the
exercises and songs you are taught, but put your thinking cap
on and come up with some original exercises on your own.
Too many students expect the teacher to do all the thinking
and to spoonfeed the content. It is important for the young
musician to improvise and compose on his/her own and
present his/her creations to the teacher for feedback and
About the author:
See full bio in
Faculty section,
page 33
You are the player and the umpire: The good part of the
“practice” game is that you make your own rules about
practice. Understand the rules and stick to them. If you cannot
devote an hour at a stretch, divide it into a half hour session in
the morning and a half hour session in the evening.
Shuchita Rao is the founder-director of RASA (Raaga
Aesthetics Sharing and Appreciation) school of music
based in Sharon and faculty member at Learnquest
Academy of Music. A computer science graduate,
she performs in the New England Area frequently
and is an arts educator who has given several lecturedemonstrations on Hindustani Music. She is a lifelong
learner of music and journalism and is currently pursuing
a part-time master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at
Boston University.
Develop good organization habits: Make a colorful binder
where you store all the content given to you. Order the
sequence such that the handout of the most recent class is
the very first document you can access. Record the audio
portion of the lesson using a recorder or a smart phone and
listen to the lessons as often as you can. Listening is the key to
learning music properly.
Thats (Hindustani)
& Melkartas (Karnatik)
Thats (Hindustani) and Melkartas (Karnatik) by Suresh C. Mathur
By Suresh C. Mathur The concepts of That in the Hindustani Music System and Melkarta in the Karnatik Music System are identical. The two Classical Music Systems in India are based on 12 semitones. The Figure 1 depicts the relationship of the 12 semitones in the Hindustani, Karnatik, and the Western Classical Music Systems. 12 Semitones of the Indian and Western Musical Scales The musical octaves In the Western, Hindustani, and Karnatic Music systems are based on similar 12 semi-­‐tones as shown below Indian Nomenclature Notes Karnatic RI 1 – Shudha Rishabh Dha 1 – Shudha Dhaivata RI 2 – Chatussuruti Rishabh Dha 2 – Chatussuruti Dhaivata RI 3 – Shatashruti Rishabh Dha 3 – Shatashruti Dhaivat Ga 1 – Shudha Gandhar Ni 1 – Shudha Nishadha Ga 2 – Sadharana Gandhar Ni 2 – Kaisikl Nishadha Ga 3 – Antara Gandhar Ni 3 – Kakall Nishadha Ma 1 – Shudha Madhyama Ma 2 – Prati Madhyama Pa -­‐ Panchama 52
Hindustani R्e – Komal Rishabha Dh्a – Komal Dhaivat
Re – Shudha Rishabh Dha – Shudha Dhaivat G्a – Komal Gandhar N्i – Komal Nishadh
Ga – Shudha Gandhar Ni – Shudha Nishadh Ma – Shudha Madhyama
M्a – Tivra Madhyama
Pa – Pancham NOTE: A chart containing the 72 MELAS of Karnatic music with the scales in equivalent Karnatic and Hindustani notations is available. Figure 1. Pt. Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (1860-­‐1936) spent considerable time during his research travels in the City of Madras (now Chennai) learning from the Vidwans the description of Venkatmakhi’s 72-­‐Melkarta System. Pt. Bhatkhande provided the description of the 72-­‐Melkarta System in his Kramik Pustak Mala (vol. 3, p. 10-­‐12) in Hindi language translation, published by Sangeet Karyalaya, Hathras, U.P., India (1967). The description of the 72-­‐Melkarta System is provided below in both the Hindustani as well as the Karnatik notation. Hindustani Notation Karnatik Notation The 12 semitones of the octave are: R2 R3 D2 D3 Sa Re Re Ga Ga Ma Ma’ Pa Dha Dha Ni Ni S R1 G3 M1 M2 P N3 G1 G2 N1 N3 In the Lower and the Upper Tetrachords, the possible combinations are: Lower Tetrachord Upper Tetrachord Lower Tetrachord Upper Tetrachord 1. Sa Re Re Ma Pa Dha Dha Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N1 S’ 2. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S’ 3. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S’ 4. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S’ 5. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S’ 6. Sa Ga Ga Ma Pa Ni Ni Sa’ S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S’ Combining the sequence #1 in the Lower Tetrachord above with each of the six sequences (1-­‐6) in the Upper Tetrachord, results in the following 6 Melkartas: 53
1. Sa Re Re Ma Pa Dha Dha Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N1 S’ 2. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S’ 3. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S’ 4. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S’ 5. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S’ 6. Sa Ga Ga Ma Pa Ni Ni Sa’ S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S’ Combining the sequence #1 in the Lower Tetrachord above with each of the six sequences (1-­‐6) in the Upper Tetrachord, results in the following 6 Melkartas: 1. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Dha Dha Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D1 N1 S’ 2. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D1 N2 S’ 3. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D1 N3 S’ 4. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D2 N2 S’ 5. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Dha Ni Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D2 N3 S’ 6. Sa Re Re Ma I Pa Ni Ni Sa’ S R1 G1 M1 I P D3 N3 S’ Continuing this procedure, combining each of the remaining 5 sequences in the Lower Tetrachord with each of the 6 sequences in the Upper tetrachord results in 6X6 = 36 Melkartas. The remaining 36 melkartas are obtained simply by substituting the Shuddha Madhyam (Ma) by the Tivra (Hindustani) or the Prati Madhyam (Karnatik) in each of the previous 36 Melkartas. This results in a total of 72 Melkartas. The 72 Melkarta System discovered by Pt. Venkatmakhi is acknowledged by all musicologists of the two Classical Music Systems of India. Lalit Group of Ragas in the Hindustani Music System We must note that the Lalit Group of Ragas use both the Shuddha Madyam as well as the Tivra (Hindustani) or the Prati Madhyam (Karnatik). This is a unique usage, which sets it apart from Venkatmakhi’s 72 Melkarta System, which uses Shuddha Madhyam only in the first 36 Melkartas and the Prati Madhyam only in the second 36 Melkartas. The Arohan and the Avarohan of the Raga Lalit are: Arohan: ni Re Ga Ma’ Dha Ni Sa’ Avarohan: Sa’ Ni Re Ni Dha Ma’ Dha Ma’ Ma Ga s Re , Ma’ Ga Re Sa Lalit Ang The other Ragas of the Lalit Group include Lalit Pancham (Lalit Ang with the use of Pancham), Lalita Gouri (Lalit and Gouri Angs), Lalitkali (Lalit and Ramkali Angs), Ahir Lalit (Lalit Ang and Ahir Bhairav), Lalit Bhairav (Lalit Ang and Bhairav). Deepavali (Yamamn Kalyan with Lalit Ang) etc. Putting together Venkatmakhi’s 72 Melkarta System (discovered around 1680) with the Lalit Group of Hindustani Ragas, we can comprehensively cover the gamut of nearly 1500 Hindustani and Karnatik ragas currently in use. About the Author Born in 1930, Suresh studied Hindustani classical 54
Music at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in New Delhi during 1951-­‐58. He received specialized training In About the
Born in 1930,
Suresh studied
classical Music
at the Gandharva
Mahavidyalaya in
New Delhi during
He received specialized training In Hindustani flute from his Guru
Late Pt. Prakash Wadehra, an eminent flautist of India and a noted
music critic. Since coming to USA in 1958, Suresh has continued
his study, performance and research in Hindustani Music. He
has presented many public concerts in the Boston area and
many other states during the past 56 years. He has also studied
and practiced orchestral music, performing with Kathak
dance, Bharatnatyam dance, and orchestral ensembles. He
also enjoys teaching, writing, and lecturing about Indian
Classical Music. He has a long-standing deep interest in
Karnatik music and is striving to deepen his knowledge,
understanding and enjoyment of Karnatik music through
study and performance. He has participated since 1992,
as a member of orchestral ensembles supporting
Bharatnatyam dance arengetrams for Guru Smt.
Neena Gulati and many other dance Gurus in
the Boston area.
Suresh retired in 1996 as a
Professor of Physics from
the University of
Kudos to LearnQuest
for bringing us
the Gift of Indian
Classical Music
With Best Wishes
Nalini & Raj Sharma
The Re-Surgence of Dhrupad
by Vandana Rao, in Conversation with The Gundecha Brothers
This article is the result of conversations with Pts. Umakant
and Ramakant Gundecha, one of the leading exponents of
dhrupad music. They belong to the Dagar gharana and are
based in Bhopal, India.
Dhrupad music is as old as the hills! It can trace its origins
to the Sama Veda, steeped in chants and vedic rhythms. It
evolved through the centuries and, around the eleventh
century, settled into its present form. The lyrics were mostly
Sanskrit-based spiritual and devotional, in praise of the
Gods. Poetry in Braj Bhasha was later introduced during
Miyan Tansen’s era. Dhrupad is a philosophy through
which a raga is explored and is considered as the mother
of all music in India from which stemmed many different
genres. However, around the 19th century dhrupad music
experienced a decline, attributed by many to a lack of
innovation, increased rigidity in presentation, and adherence
to convention without much improvisation. Dhrupad
started moving further away from the basic elements of sur,
and became more entrenched in laya and taal. It lost much
of its aesthetics, became very conventional and static in the
name of tradition, instead of being fluid and continuously
evolving. Interest in this genre of music started to wane.
The Dagars
Photo Source:
At the same time, changing social and political influences
saw the emergence and popularity of other genres of
Hindustani music such as khayal, thumri, and tappa.
These resonated far more with the general population, and
connected with audiences as well as the royals at a more
visceral level. These genres allowed more improvisation and
gave singers a lot more freedom with fewer rules in exploring
the ragas and presenting the various moods of the ragas
and the lyrics. Lyrics and their expression were much more
romanticized and flowery - about love, seasons, feelings, etc.
while dhrupad was more spiritual and meditative.
The Turning Point
The 20th century saw two significant turning points that
were instrumental in rejuvenating dhrupad music. The
first was in the 1960s when the Dagar gharana, through its
vision and renewed interpretation, first helped change the
course of dhrupad music in India. Dagar bandhu – Ustad
Naseer Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Aminuddin Dagar as the authentic bearers of a 19-generation strong gharana
presented dhrupad in a
different, yet authentic
and aesthetic manner.
They moved dhrupad
aesthetics closer to the use
and exploration of sur in
a much more convincing
way that people started to
take notice.
Secondly, much of what we hear today in dhrupad is due
to the philosophy of Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar who was
very keen to teach dhrupad outside of the family. He was
the first Dagar Ustad to reach outside his family, religion
and society to teach students of all backgrounds, including
the Gundecha brothers,
Uday Bhawalkar, and Dr.
Ritwik Sanyal. This was
a big turning point in
the journey of dhrupad
wherein a tradition of only
teaching family members
was broken. The aspect of
Gundecha Brothers
music that people missed
Photo Source: ICMA, California, 2014
in dhrupad but had been
appreciating in khayal style of singing, was understood
by him and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, and was being
brought back to life. Both of them brought aspects of sur,
laya, and taal, the right pronunciation and expression of
words, and the clarity of voice, and slow exploration of alaap
back to the fore in their renditions and teachings of dhrupad.
This changed people’s idea and impression of what dhrupad
was, from what many considered as rigid and boring to
one with strong expressions of sur, laya and taal. The two
Dagar Ustads were instrumental in popularizing dhrupad
by traveling extensively all around the world giving concerts
and conducting workshops.
The Gundecha brothers learnt this reinvigorated style of
dhrupad and have in turn taught it to many students. Over
the last 30 years they have toured almost 30 countries
around the world, and have performed at all the major music
festivals in India. This has resulted in an increased awareness
about this ancient art form among the general public.
A New Dimension in Dhrupad
It is truly dependent on the musician – if s/he wants to
explore that style of music through his/her instrument.
One can listen to different interpretations of sound,
including meend (stretching of a note through an elongated
sound or pulling between the notes), laya, taal, chhand of
dhrupad on the different instruments.
Today, dhrupad is creating yet new pathways in musical
exploration. The Gundecha brothers are not only expanding
the universe of dhrupad singing through their Gurukul,
which they established in Bhopal ( ),
but are also actively exploring other
Today new instruments, such as
dimensions of dhrupad as played on
the santoor or the saxophone, are
diverse non-traditional Indian and
being used as a medium to explore
western instruments. In addition to
dhrupad. The Gurukul is home to
the rich tradition of teaching vocal
various instrumentalists interested
music, various instruments such as
in exploring dhrupad music on their
the sitar, sarod, flute, saxophone,
instruments. The santoor is different
surbahar, silver flute, santoor, violin,
from other string instruments in
esraj, rudra veena, vichitra veena, and
that the way it is played does not
qanoon (a Turkish instrument) are
lend itself to ‘pulling’ of the string
being played at the Gurukul. Each
to produce a meend, which is a very
instrument showcases a different
Dhrupad Institute students, Bhopa, India significant part of dhrupad. Yet a
dimension of the dhrupad ang that
Photo Source: Pt. Ramakant Gundecha santoor student is learning dhrupad.
best suits its intricacies, structure,
Satyendra Singh Solanki from
sound, style of playing, etc.
Bhopal, a santoor student at the Gurukul feels that despite
The significance of this is enduring; instruments that are
these limitations, the dhrupad focus on laya (tempo) and taal
inherently designed to play only staccato (notes sharply
and the temporal and rhythmic intricacies of the genre can
detached from one another) are now expressing the essence
be deeply explored on the santoor. According to Ramakant
of Dhrupad, which demands legato (smooth flow between
Gundecha, in the santoor in particular, the talaang or taal
notes) playing. To truly understand this one must go back
paksh (cycle of beats), and laya paksh (rythym) can be very
to the basics of instrumental playing and the nuances of
beautifully rendered. Also, other instruments such as the
each instrument. Playing on any Indian musical instrument
sitar and the sarod – that were not suited to the slow tempo
is very vocal oriented, i.e., it is inspired by vocal music. By
and low register – are being played in the dhrupad ang.
listening to the vocalist sing, the instrumentalist imitates that
The Gurukul offers a very nurturing environment wherein
sound and expression on his/her instrument, bringing out
different instrumentalists from different schools of learning
a different sound and flavor to that instrument. When an
can come together, spend time with each other and be able to
instrumentalist plays a raga, especially the initial alaap that
present a different flavor of music through a very constructive
is played without accompanying percussion, it is strongly
exchange of ideas. The Gundecha brothers believe that the
inspired by dhrupad shaili (style) of alaap, jhod, and jhala.
right music takes you to the right technique. All instruments
Many prominent instrumentalists of today have
have their own beauty, unique style and limitations. So apart
incorporated dhrupad in their renditions. The great
from the meend effect in an alaap there are various other
maestro Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia who was originally
features such as the sense of timing, delicacy of movement
trained in dhrupad ang, and the sitar maestro, Pt. Ravi
between the notes, the joining of notes to form phrases,
Shankar both incorporated dhrupad in their alaap, jhod,
all of which can be explored in these instruments. So as
and jhala, and passed that style on to their disciples. Ustad the instrumentalists are exploring dhrupad music, a new
Ali Akbar Khan’s playing of the sarod reflects dhrupad ang technique automatically evolves on the instrument as a way
to quite an extent.
to play and express the dhrupad ang.
The Future of Dhrupad
About the author:
Dr. Vandana Rao is a
music enthusiast and a
Hindustani music vocalist
and teacher in the Boston
area. She is also an active
member of the LearnQuest
Conference organizing
Dhrupad is contemplative, meditative, and spiritual and
today resonates with people all over the world. Over the
last 10 years, people of 35 different nationalities, including
France, Japan, Brazil, America, Australia, Belgium, and
Nepal have visited the Gurukul and have returned to teach
Dhrupad in their countries. Dhrupad has been able to make
a connection with people in India and abroad. In the last
10-13 years alone, the Gundecha brothers have been able to
train about 20 performers. Similar successes are seen with
other teachers of the Dagar gharana. If they continue along
this trajectory, then in the next 10 years they should be able
to train at least another 20 more in vocal and instrumental
music who in turn will further spread the wonders of
dhrupad to their students and audiences around the world.
The future of Dhrupad is extremely bright.
Vandana is an
environmentalist by
profession and works
on Water and Climate
Change policy issues for
the state of Massachusetts.
2015 LearnQuest Conference
Steering Committee
Pradeep Shukla (Chair), Debashis Roychowdhary, Bhavana Gallewale, Ravi Arora, Durga Krishnan, Jawed Wahid
Program and Artist Management
Durga Krishnan
Pradeep Shukla
Shashank Nene
Vijay Kumar
Pravin Sahay
Pradeeep Shukla
Shridhar Kulkarni
Sound & Facilities
Jawed Wahid (L)
Dilip Pai
Uday Tembulkar
Kedar Risbud (Light)
Lakshmikant Ghatraju
Meena Sundaram
Anish Khanzode (L)
Neelam Wali
Pradeep Shukla
Vandana Rao
Sanghamitra Roychowdhury
Sunita Shukla
Paul Huckfeldt
Financial Management
Pradeeep Shukla
Jawed Wahid
Ravi Arora
Pradeep Shukla
Kedar Risbud
Sunil Barot
Shridhar Kulkarni
Dilip Acharya
Anish Khanzode
Shriniwas Sane
Venkat Nagesha
Preetesh Shrivastava
Debashis Roychowdhary (L)
Vikram Kulkarni
Dilip Pai
Anish Khanzode
Food and Vendor Committee
Jayashri Shahane (L)
Vandana Rao
Artist Hosting
Bhavana Gallewale (L)
Durga Krishnan
Conference Operations
Preetesh Shrivastava
Pallavi Gandhi
Madhu Nene
Shuchita Rao
Masters of Ceremony
Aparna Balaji (L)
Hari Arthanari
Shuchita Rao
George Ruckert
Ranjani Saigal
Vandana Rao
Durga Krishnan
Shashank Nene
Aparna Balaji
Praveen Sahay
Ajikya Nene
Shuchita Rao
Durga Krishnan
Atharva Kasar
Deepali Khanzode
Dilip Acharya
Dilip Pai
Eshani Shah
Jharna Madan
Kedar Risbud
Lakshmikanth Ghatraju
Meena Sundaram
Meesha Acharya
Pooja Parameswaran
Poornima Risbud
Rahul Joshi
Rekha Palriwala
Sanjay Jain
Sekhar Kommaraju
Shivaram Karandikar
Shridhar Kulkarni
Sunil Barot
Uday Tembulkar
Ved Dhole
Vikram Kulkarni
Selina Benerjee
Ritika Saxena
Rajiv Gongurde
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