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ITC SRA News - January 2009 - December 2009

Wednesday recitals in May

The third Wednesday in May brought ex-scholar Shrimati Rajyashree Ghosh to the Academy. Initiated into Hindustani vocal music at a tender age, she subsequently emerged as a gold medalist both in the B.A. and M.A. in khayal, from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. In 1986 she received the National Scholarship, being trained by Pandit Amiya Ranjan Banerjee. Later she became a scholar at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, under the able tutelage of Vidushi Girija Devi and Pandit Arun Bhaduri. She also supplemented her talim under Pandit K.G. Ginde. She began the evening’s performance with khayals in Raga Nand, after which she sang a khayal in Rag ramdasi Malhar. She then sang two dadras, one in Raga Piloo and the other in Raga Khamaj. On request she concluded with two Bengali Puratani songs. She was ably accompanied on the tabla by Shri Samar Saha, while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.. Evaluation Time In the third week of May, the performance of the scholars and general class students of the Academy was evaluated during the annual gradation tests. The process began a fortnight prior to the tests, with the scholars submitting lists of the Ragas learnt during the year. While general class students are expected to present only khayals in these Ragas, scholars are also graded on their ability to present dhrupads and dhamars.

Wednesday recitals in March

The third Wednesday in March featured a sitar-sarod jugalbandi by Shri Ganesh Mohan and Shri Pradeep Barot. Shri Mohan’s playing style aims at a synthesis of three Gharanas, as he has learnt from Pandit Gopal Nag, Pandit Manilal Nag, Pandit Ajay Sinha Ray and Pandit Arvind Parikh and is greatly influenced by Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. Shri Pradeep Barot’s approach to music is traditional and yet highly creative. Initiated by his father, he also learnt from Shri Vasant Rai, a disciple of Ustad Allauddin Khan, before becoming a disciple of Vidushi Annapurna Devi. That evening they began with alap, jod, gat and jhala in Raga Shree, followed by a gat in Raga Gavati and a dhun. They were accompanied on the tabla by Pandit Samar Saha.
Ex-scholar Janab Waseem Khan performed in the last Wednesday of the month. Grandson of Ustad Basheer Khan Sahib, he took his initial taalim from his maternal grandfather Ustad Ata Hussain Khan Sahib at the age of six. Thereafter, he learnt from his father Ustad Naseem Ahmed Khan Sahib. In July 1999, he became a scholar of ITC -SRA under erstwhile Guru Ustad Shafi Ahmed Khan Sahib, who is one of his grandfathers. He left the Academy in April 2003, after becoming an A grade scholar. That evening he presented khayals in Ragas Jayjaiwanti, Yamani Nat and Sohini. He was accompanied on the tabla by Shri Sandip Kumar Ray Chaudhuri while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.

Holi Programme
Every year, ITC Sangeet Research Academy organises a cultural programme to celebrate the advent of spring. This year’s programme was held at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2009, at the lawns of the Academy. The concert began with vocal performances by ITC-SRA scholars. Guided by Guru Falguni Mitra, scholars Sucheta, Manali, Anal, Deborshee, Adarsh and Pinaki presented a dhrupad in Raga Bahar, teevra tala “Aaj bahata sugandh pavan” and a dhamaar in Raga Adana “Bajata mridanga gavata dhamaar”. This was followed by khayals in teentala, Raga Sohini “Rang na daro shyamji” and Raga Basant Bahaar “Aayi basant ki bahaar” which were sung by scholars Samarth and Sameehan, guided by Guru Ulhas Kashalkar. Scholars Sucheta and Manali and general class students Kasturi, Sohini and Priyanka sang khayals in Raga Desh, teentala “Khelana aaye hori” and Raga Shahana, ektala “Ata jhum jham kar aayi”. Both these compositions were by Guru Arun Bhaduri who had also trained the scholars.
Under Guru Mashkoor Ali Khan’s guidance scholars Arshad, Sandip, Samarth, Sameehan, Adarsh, Anal, Deborshee and Pinaki presented a bandish ki thumri in Raga Kafi “Dekho roko na chhail, gail mori” and a khayal in Raga Basant, ektala “Gaili gaili aindi aindi”. Scholars Sucheta, Manali, Anal, Deborshee, Samarth and Sameehan along with general class students Kasturi, Sohini and Priyanka performed the last few compositions which were under Guru Ajoy Chakrabarty’s guidance. These included a hori dadra in Raga Tilak kamod “Kaun khele tumse hori kanhaiya”, a bandish ki thumri in Raga Kafi “Dekho aali hori khelata nandalal” and a hori rasiya “Najo naina ri nukeeley”.
The performers were accompanied by Shri Jyoti Goho and Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya on the harmonium, Shri Gopal Mishra and Shri Sandip Kumar Ray Chaudhuri on the tabla, Shri Babua Lodh and Shri Biswanath Das on the dholak, Shri Sanjiban Achary on percussion and Shri Apurba Lal manna on the pakhawaj.
After a short interval, Shrimati Prabhati Mukherjee presented semi-classical music including thumri, dadra, geet and a Bengali song on request. She was accompanied by Shri Manas Chakrabarty on the tabla, Shri Pratap Roy on the accordion and Shri Pradip Mukherjee on percussion.

Presentation of bandishes by Dr Vasant Ranade

Musician and Violinist, Dr Vasant Ranade was a visitor at the Academy on November 7, 8 & 9 to present along with his daughter, Smt Vaishali Padhyer many of the 50 vocal compositions that he has written. Dr Ranade received his training in both vocal and violin from his father, his uncle Bhalchandra Ranade, Pandit S. B. Deshpande and Dr. S. N. Ratanjankar. He also received guidance from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. A regular broadcaster for AIR and Doorarshan, his original style of violin playing is blended with both the Gayaki and Tantakari ang. On the concluding day of his visit, December 9th, Dr Ranade gave a beautiful and soulful violin performance at our Wednesday recital. He played ragas Shree, Barwa and Khamaj. He was accompanied by Gopal Mishra on tabla and ITC SRA scholar, Saket Sahu, on tanpura.

Wednesday Recital

The last Wednesday of October ( 28/10/09) brought tabla prodigy Rimpa Siva to the ITC SRA platform once more. Rimpa, who is still attending college, started performing when she was six. All her learning is from her father Pt Swapan Siva, disciple of the Late Ustad Keramatullah Khan of “Farukhabad Gharana”, who has not only trained her but also numerous other well known tabla players of this generation - notably Shubhankar Banerjee. She has already performed all over India and the world and has accompanied maestros like Pt Jasraj and Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia . Honours and accolades have been showered upon her. Rimpa began with a performance in Teentala. It began with a vilambit gat after which she started her display of various compositions by legendary tabla artistes. The first and second compositions were a Kaida and Rela by Ustad Keramatullah Khan followed by Ustad Abid Hussain Khan’s Kaida. Then she displayed a Tukra by Pt Ananth Nath Bose and Ustad Keramatullah Khan. She concluded with a Chakradhar by Pt Kanai Dutta. She went on to demonstrate Tala Rupak. She used a lot of Bols for her display which added grandeur to her performance. The audience, enthralled by her skill and dexterity, responded with tremendous applause at the end of her recital .

Guru Purnima Celebrations

The term guru means one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and infuses the light of awareness into our lives. And the word Purnima means full moon day. Guru Purnima celebrates the might of one's teacher or guru through respect and reverence. Mr Anand Nayak lighting the inaugural lamp The full moon day in the month of Ashad (mid-June to mid-July) is observed as the auspicious day of Guru Purnima, a day sacred to the memory of the great sage Vyas, to whom is attributed the authorship of the great epic "Mahabharata", the eighteen Puranas, the Brahma sutras and the classification of the four Vedas. Samarth Nagarkar chanting the Gurupoojan mantra In ancient India where there were gurukuls or ashrams, it was this day when the shishya venerated his or her guru. In continuance of this tradition, on Tuesday July 7, 2009, the scholars and general class students of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy paid homage to their gurus. Manali Bose and Sucheta Ganguly singing the invocation The celebrations began with the lighting of the inaugural lamp by Mr Anand Nayak, trustee ITC-SRA. The gurus were then felicitated in turn, with Samarth Nagarkar chanting the Gurupoojan mantra. This was followed by an invocation by Sucheta Ganguly and Manali Bose. Scholars in performance The students began with a group presentation of a khayal in Raga Bhairav “Guru hamare antaryami”, set to teentala. This was followed by a solo performance by scholar Brajeshwar Mukherjee who sang khayals in Raga Jaunpuri, “Guru charana bina mohe kachhu nahi bhave” in jhaptala and “Prabhu mohe bharosa ek tiharo” in teentala. Brajeshwar Mukherjee singing Raga Jaunpuri The programme ended with a sitar-sarod jugalbandi of alap and gat in Raga Bhairavi by scholars Supratik Sengupta and Abir Hossain.

The Passing of a Colossus

At 5 pm on Wednesday June 24, 2009, a memorial meeting was organised at the Academy to condole the demise of Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib, one of the greatest musicians of our time, who passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2009. The proceedings were conducted by Pandit Falguni Mitra, guru ITC-SRA, and began by observing one minute’s silence in memory of the departed soul. The late Ustad had visited the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in 2001. An excerpt of his speech during that visit was played. This was followed by the Ustad’s rendition of Raga Shri, an excerpt from a performance at Geneva in the 80s. Remembering Ustad Ali Akbar Khan Mrs Amina Perera, daughter of the late Ustad said that she had last spoken to her late father on Tuesday night, when for the first time he had said that he was preparing himself for his last journey. Despite that, he had been teaching even till the very end. Mrs Sanjukta Ghosh, wife of tabla maestro Pandit Shankar Ghosh, recollected her experiences in the 60s when she had taken her 7-month-old son Bickram with her to San Francisco, where her husband had gone earlier. Initially on a housewife visa, Khansahib had changed it to a working visa when he heard her performance and she later taught at the Ali Akbar College of Music. She also recollected that the Ustad had taught her Ragas Chandranandan, Hem Bihag and Gourimanjari with great care.. Mrs Sanjukta Ghosh Pandit Arun Bhaduri, ITC-SRA guru said that speaking about the Ustad was a bit like a lit match describing the sun. He reiterated that the greatest human being of all time had passed away. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, disciple of the late Ustad, reminisced about his first visit to San Francisco on Guru Purnima in 1992, when the Ustad had said that since he was his cousin Ustad Bahadur Khan’s gundabund disciple, he couldn’t tie a gunda, but would complete his unfinished work. Anindya Banerjee, disciple whose association was of 41 years, said that most people are not aware that when Baba was 3, he had been pronounced dead. His Uncle Fakir Aftabuddin said some prayers and revived him. On regaining consciousness, he had sung a sadra in Raga Megh. He pointed out that the Ustad believed that music is food for the soul. About musicianship, the Ustad opined, “If you practise for 10 years, you may begin to please yourself. After 20 years you may be a performer and please the audience. After 30 years you might even please your guru, but you must practise for many more years before you become a true artist. Then you may even please God.” Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty spoke of the numerous occasions when he had interacted with the Ustad and said that music was an integral part of his life, and said that he most certainly deserved the Bharat Ratna. Sitariya Amalendu Choudhury said that he was divinity reincarnated, a musician who would be remembered for time immemorial. ITC Sangeet Research Academy humbly acknowledges the maestro’s colossal contribution to classical music. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Lecture demonstration by Pt Shankar Ghosh

The second in the series of the Music Legacy lectures, was a lec-dem on Taal, Laya Aur Chhanda by Pt Shankar Ghosh on 1st Nov 2009, at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy premises. Pt Ajoy Chakrabarty presented his Guru bhai and launched into an interactive session with Pt Shankar Ghosh, his guru-bhai. Highlighting Pt Ghosh’s musical career, Guru Ajoy Chakrabarty held him as the best tutor in eastern India for tabla today. Pt Ghosh started his lectures by stressing the importance of tabla as an accompaniment in recent times. According to him, the tabla was a solo instrument in earlier days and subsequently became an accompanist’s instrument. The difference in accompaniment in each kind of music was also highlighted. The difference in playing with, say, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s Sarod and again a particular skill to accompany vocal musicians were stated as completely different forms of presentations. Pt Ghosh stressed the importance of knowing other musical instruments or vocal music along with the learning of tabla, especially to understand the strokes and improvisations for accompanying in vocal or instrumental music because of the inter-relationship of the different kinds of music. According to him, while trying to learn and understand other music, the sense of accompaniment increases in a student. Pt Ghosh opined that specially while accompanying during the jhala of the sarod or sitar, are the aesthetics of the tabla truly exposed. Pt Ajoy Chakrabarty also stressed on the knowledge of tabla for the vocalists. Pt Ghosh recounted his own path towards learning tabla specially while accompanying his sister along with her vocal music. The formal training was imbibed from his first Guru Pt Anath Nath Bose, a neighbor and well wisher. Next he tried to master skills from Ustad Phiroz Khan sahib of Patiala Gharana but failed to learn properly from him. Later, Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh of the Punjab Gharana accepted him as his disciple. In between Pt Ghosh lso had a brief period of learning from Pt Sudarshan Adhikari but he credits Pt Jnan Prakash Ghosh for teaching him in the fullest. Pt Ghosh spoke about the different terms in tabla like kaida, rela, gat,tukra, peshkar etc. Tabla has two groups of compositions: one is a theme variations group and the other, a fixed compositions group. The theme variations group has under it Kaida, Rela, Chhand, Chalan, Peshkar, Laggi, Rang. The fixed compositions group has under it Gat, Tukra, Uthan, Mohra,Chakkardar, Paran. The technical knowledge of playing each subgroup was then explained by Pt Ghosh. Next he laid emphasis on the five Gharanas of tabla , Delhi, Ajrada, Lucknow, Benaras, Farukkhabad and Punjab. After demonstrating from each Gharana, he related the unique contributions of the individual tabla players. There was an elaborate demonstration of the different gharana styles followed by a display of his unique skill and modern day techniques of playing the tabla. The next demonstration was by Pt Ghosh’s students from Tala Laya class who demonstrated a vocal rhythmic pattern taught to them to enhance their sense of rhythm. The concluding session was a tabla demonstration by four of his students.

Music Legacy Lectures - Raga, Roop Aur Rang: A lecture demonstration by Pt Ajoy Chakrabarty on 22.08.09

In a bid to popularize and demystify Indian Classical Music, ITC SRA started the first of its Music Legacy Lecture series with a lecture demonstration by ITC SRA guru, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty has been associated with this Academy since its inception, from being a scholar to becoming the youngest Guru of the Academy. Ajoy ji started his session with an emphasis on the tanpura. Listening to the tanpura both in the morning and night increases the stability of the mind and composure. After a small session with the drone playing continuously against a backdrop of complete silence, Panditji chanted a sloka in praise of the Guru.Before speaking of the Raga, Ajoy ji explained musical notes, stressing upon the display of 8 notes and their understanding. He described the komal and shuddha (flats and sharps)notes and explained that there were a total of 12 notes which are universally recognized notes of music. A brief demonstration of a Carnatic style of music vis a vis Hindusthani style was given to describe the patterns of music and a gradual introduction to raga music. He also mentioned the western connotations of vibrato and tremolo and its applications in light classical music. To introduce raga to an uninitiated audience joy ji chose practical examples from popular Hindi film songs. He introduced Raga Khamaj through such songs and then went on to delineate the actual colour of Khamaj through the bandish “Aj mori kalhanyiya…”. The difference between mixed and pure Khamaj emerged here. The raginis generated like Kalavati, Rageshri etc from Raga khamaj were mentioned. He went on to demonstrate a few improvisations of the raga, laying stress on the liberty to innovate while rendering a raga, but within a strict discipline. The next session was an interactive session with the audience. The concept of less melodic pattern in recent music was addressed by Ajoy ji. According to him music is a connection to life and synonymous to breathing. The current socio economic patterns, according to his research, is probably responsible for this trend of incomplete melodies. The continuous thirst for excitement at all instances and the need for instant gain adds only little value to products in the long run. He observed that the span of attention of most youngsters too is limited: there is no depth and knowledge of the full melodic circle and instant excitement the only hook. Hence the music suffers. The next discussion was on the knowledge of correct pitch. The pre keyboard era had no standardized norms of measuring the correct pitch. Today the international standard of setting the pitch is at 440 htz and acceptable to all musicians globally. Ajoy ji demonstrated the 8 shrutis of the note Ga and gave examples of how musicians of yester years took any of the shrutis to be their own pitch and therefore caused a lot of confusion while setting standards earlier. To imbibe better standards in music today Ajoy ji emphasized the need of travelling around the country to popularize classical music and make it a benchmark for young musicians. He was confident of changing the scenario within the next five years with continuous efforts from ITC SRA. The lec-dem ended with a flawless rendition of a Bhajan in Raga Bhairavi “ Mein dwaar khol kar….” written by his guru, Jnan Prakash Ghosh.

Wednesday recitals in April

The second Wednesday in April brought a guest artiste to the Academy, Shri K.Upendra Bhat. Beginning his musical career under Sangeeth Vidwan Shri Narayan Pai of Mangalore, Shri Bhat received further training under Pandit Madhav Gudi, a senior disciple of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. In 1980, after moving to Pune, he has been receiving regular talim from his legendary Guru Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. A graded artist of All India Radio, he holds a Masters Degree in Music – Sangeet Visharad and Sangeet Alankar – awarded by Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai. He has performed at most of the prestigious festivals in India and also at UK, USA, Dubai, Bahrain, and the Middle East. Felicitated on the 7th Birth Centenary of Saint Dnyaneshwar, he has also received ‘Musician of the Year Award’ from the Andhra Pradesh Association of North America (2000), a citation during the ‘Millennium Konkani Sammelan,’ held in Chicago (2000) and “Karnataka Rajya Prashasti Award 2008” on the occasion of the “Karnataka Rajyotsav”. He began the evening’s performance with khayals in Raga Puriya Dhanashri, followed by a thumri in Raga Khamaj. On request he also presented khayals in Ragas Tilak Kamod, Basant and Kalashri. He was ably accompanied on the tabla by Shri Jishnu Sirkar, disciple of Pandit Anand Gopal Bandopadhyay, while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.

A concert by a Guest Artiste

The second Wednesday in January brought a guest artiste to the Academy, Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan ‘Niazi’. Son of the legendary late Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan Sahib of the Agra-Atrauli gharana, he was initiated into the world of music at the age of five by his father. After his father’s sudden demise, he received guidance from his maternal uncles Ustad Yunus Hussain Khan and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan. He continues to take guidance from Shrimati Purnima Sen, a disciple of Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan. A versatile artiste, Ustad Shaukat Hussain can sing khayal, dhrupad, dhamar, thumri, tappa and bhajans with consummate ease. A top grade artiste of All India Radio, he has performed at various concerts in India and abroad. Besides winning accolades as a performer, he is currently the divisional head for vocal music at the Saptak School of Music, Ahmedabad, grooming a new generation of performers in the Agra-Atrauli tradition. He was honoured with the Gaurav Puraskar for the year 2004-2005 by the Government of Gujerat.
He began his performance with khayals in Raga Bihag, vilambit ektala, “Dhun, dhun re” and drut teentala, “Hazrat ali tum ho mahabali”. He then presented khayals in Raga Chandrakauns, “Kanha tumhare karan”, vilambit ektala and “Mori pakad baiyan chhedo”, drut teentala. He concluded with a bandish in Raga Suha-Sughrai “Nainan so dekhi maine”. He was accompanied on the tabla by Shri Gopal Mishra, while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.

Wednesday recitals in February

This year Basant Panchami, celebrating the advent of spring, was on January 31, 2009. In Bengal this Hindu festival is associated with the worship of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music and art. At the Academy the occasion was celebrated the following Wednesday. The evening began with a performance by ITC-SRA scholar Deborshee Bhattacharjee, disciple of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. He began with a Saraswati vandana in the dhrupad style, based on Raga Desh, after which he presented another Saraswati vandana in Raga Hansadhwani. The concluding artiste ITC-SRA Guru Pandit Arun Bhaduri presented khayals in Raga Saraswati. They were accompanied on the tabla by Shri Gopal Mishra while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.
The third Wednesday in February brought Shrimati Saniya Patankar, disciple of Dr Ashwini Bhide Deshpande to the Academy. She began with khayals in Raga Shree. She then presented khayals in Raga Karnatak Basant, concluding with a Hori. She was accompanied by Shri Swapan Mukherjee on the tabla and Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya on the harmonium.

Important visitor at ITC SRA

On 25.11.09 an important visitor, Mrs Kusum Awasthi Gupta, Chief Commissioner Income Tax, Kolkata visited the Academy. A special recital by our scholars was organized for her. The first scholar was Joyeeta Sanyal on the Sitar who demonstrated raga Charukeshi. Pt Gopal Mishra accompanied her ably on the tabla. Next, Manali Bose put up a recital of raga Bilashkhani Todi. This was followed by a sarod recital by Abir Hussain. Abir played an enchanting version of raga Mishra Khambaj. The final recital was by scholar Brajeshwar Mukherjee who sang a Thumri in raga Sohini.

Pierre's Story

Sometime in early August, we had yet another visitor, Mr Pierre Grammon. Here is his story : “Coming from France, one of the main targets of my third trip to India was to listen, enjoy and learn more about Hindustani music and I feel really lucky that I found by lucky chance, the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, where people welcomed me and kindly took some of their time to show me and teach me some aspects of this music that I love. First, although I am a 32-year-old mechanical engineer working in Paris, France, listening to and playing guitar has been my main passion for years. After concentrating on Jazz (in particular the saxophone player, John Coltrane), I started to discovered Indian classical vocal and instrumental music a few years back. The more I listened to CDs and concerts, the more I loved the melodic and rhythmic subtleties of this highly sophisticated and beautiful music that speak to both to my brain and my heart. My CD player finally playing almost only Indian classical music during the last year, I started to learn tabla in Paris with Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan a few months ago. Naturally, I decided to visit India again during my summer holidays, this time, for a music-focused journey. I arrived in Kolkata on August the 2nd, and I immediately liked the city's relaxed and cultural atmosphere. On the second and third evenings I really enjoyed a music festival in Jhulanbari Temple. But, during the days, I tried to find a music school without success. Quite by chance, an employeeof the India Tourist Office "Incredible India" told me that I ought to go to the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, in front of the Tollygunge metro station. I decided to go there immediately, without knowing yet at all the prestige tthat the Academy enjoys. As soon as I entered in the ITC-SRA complex, I noticed, as a good omen, the sculpture of the singing bird on the tabla. While I was trying to explain my case at the reception, I met the webmaster, Ratnaboli Bose who impressed with my interest, immediately took me across to meet Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta. Pandit Dasgupta spoke to me and asked me to come and attend class the following day. Almost immediately, Pandit Dasgupta started to show me the notes on the Sarod. That evening, after a wonderful Wednesday Recital (featuring the Sarod scholar Abir Hossein), I had the great opportunity to meet the ITC-SRA Executive Director, Mr Ravi Mathur who kindly introduced me to Pandit Arun Bhaduri and Pandit Samar Saha, with the authorization to also attend their vocal and tabla classes during my stay. Although I quickly understood that I was a complete beginner in the middle of really advanced scholars and students, I listened and learnt as much as I could in these few weeks: melodies, rhythms and a fascinating approach to the music purity and creativity. I found all the people really nice and patient with me and I have been particularly impressed by the really respectful relationship between master and pupils. I would like to thank everybody at the ITC-SRA, and, when I return to France, I will be happy to help the academy by networking with the Hindustani music lovers, musicians or concert organizers community in France. Thank you very much again, Pierre”.

Visitor from Ukraine

Ukrainian ethnomusicologist, Olha Kolomyyets is a lecturer at the Franko National University in Lviv. Faculty of Culture and Arts, currently teaching subjects like Ukrainian musical folklore, World music and the Music of the Orient. Her special interests are Traditional Rites in family life in Ukrainian folk music, Hindustani classical music (vocal genres, especially khayal) and comparative analyses between Ukrainian and world traditional culture. A recipient of numerous scholarships, she has conducted intensive research, participated in many conferences and has had several papers published on her range of subjects. Olha poses on the verdant lawns of ITC SRA. Introduced to the Kirana style of Hindustani Classical Music by a friend in Ukraine, Olha spent 17 days at our Academy in August 2009, researching various aspects of the Kirana gharana, under Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. Her quest was to describe the gharana itself, its origin and roots; investigate the contribution of the historical figures of the gharana as well as modern musicians; and finally, to analyze the origin and development of the genre, its position among other genres of vocal varieties of Hindustani music and its musical characteristics. Her research is the first of its kind in Ukraine. During her stay here, she had the opportunity to listen to ITC SRA’s immense archives and take taalim (training) from Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. She also conducted in-depth interviews with the Ustad to facilitate her study. Thus, she acquired both theoretical and practical knowledge, the latter being a valuable add-on, which helped her go deeper into her research. Over and above the call of her research, Olha was able to observe and be a part of a day in the life of a practicing musician. This was the highlight of her research trip to ITC SRA – to witness the relationship between guru and shishya, to observe all facets of their professional and personal relationship – a most interesting experience. Olha interviews Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan with his student, Shounak Chatterjee acting as interpreter. Over and above the call of her research, Olha was able to observe and be a part of a day in the life of a practicing musician. This was the highlight of her research trip to ITC SRA – to witness the relationship between guru and shishya, to observe all facets of their professional and personal relationship – a most interesting experience. Olha benefited immensely from all the help she received – from staff, scholars and musicians alike as well as from the library and archives facilities. She was, in particular, very impressed with the extremely well organized program that was tailor-made for her. Thanks to this, her day was filled with numerous interesting activities that gave her a multi dimensional insight into the world of Hindustani Classical Music. On the eve of her departure, she gave a very interesting presentation to all of us at the Academy – giving us a peep into traditional Ukrainian music.

Recital By ITC SRA Scholars at Hotel ITC Sonar

On 17.11.09 Corporate Human Resources of ITC Ltd invited us to host an event showcasing our talented scholars for the Managers Training Programme held at the ITC Sonar. The five scholars who performed were Anindita Deb, Deborshee Bhattacharya and Manali Bose in classical Vocal, Saket Sahu on the Violin and Abir Hussain on the Sarod. They were accompanied by Gopal Mishra on tabla and Rupashree Bhattacharya on harmonium. Abhijit Apasthamb and Sohini Bhattacharya provided tanpura support. Gurus Pt Arun Bhaduri and Pt Falguni Mitra were present to give encouragement to the scholars. Anindita gave a beautiful presentation of Raga Multani, Saket presented an uplifting Raga Hamsadwani, while Deborshee presented Bihag. Abir played a version of Raga Desh learnt from his Guruji and the concluding performance was by Manali. She sang two bandishes of Raga Rageshri. The performances were extremely well received and as a token of ITC Ltd’s appreciation, the Gurus were felicitated by Mr Kurush Grant. The scholars were given a token of appreciation by Mr R Srinivasan and the accompanists by Mr Anand Nayak. The evening ended with an elaborate dinner.

Farewell, Dr (Pt) V.Vyas & Welcome Mr R. Mathur

On June 15, 2009, the trustees, management committee members, and all other members of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy assembled at the auditorium to bid adieu to the outgoing Executive Director, Dr (Pt) Vidyadar Vyas who has chosen to return to his home in Mumbai for personal reasons. Incumbent Executive Director, Mr Ravi Mathur, who had retired in 2007 as General Manager, Corporate Human Resources, ITC Ltd., was also given a warm welcome. Mr Nayak giving Dr Vyas a memento The evening’s programme was conducted by Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty, guru ITC-SRA and began with scholar Sameehan Kashalkar’s khayals in Raga Gaud Malhar. Mr P.K.Sinha spoke on behalf of the trustees, thanking Dr Vyas for his invaluable contribution to the Academy and welcomed Mr Mathur to take charge of the Academy. Mr Anand Nayak, Executive Vice President, Corporate Human Resources, ITC Ltd also bade farewell to Dr Vyas and welcomed Mr Mathur. Gurus Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta and Pandit Arun Bhaduri said a few words while Mr Ravi Mathur spoke of the heady mix of creativity and science that the Academy stands for, reiterating ITC’s major contribution to society. Dr Vidyadhar Vyas then delivered his farewell address, thanking all the members of the Academy for their cooperation and said that he was confident that the good work of the Academy would continue unabated.

Visit By Prof Ronald Kurt from Germany: 10th October 2009

Dr Ronald Kurt visited ITC SRA on 10th October 2009, Saturday as a guest of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Prof Kurt is Professor for Sociology at the University of Kassel, Germany and is also head of a research project “Intercultural Understanding in Schools of the Ruhr Region”, KWI Essen (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities). Prof Kurt showed snippets from his documentary film “Be a Medium” with a special emphasis on “Guru Shishya Parampara”. This film was partly shot in ITC SRA about four years ago. The campus and Gurus were featured for about 10 mins in the film. Later another documentary by the professor was screened. This is a documentary on a Fusion Music Workshop held in Germany. The film laid emphasis on the divergence as well as convergence in the world of Western as well as Indian music. The film showed a final recital of Fusion music by German and Indian students of Music, a composition by Pandit Madhup Mudgal. The film show was followed by a recital by our own students. Our Musician Scholar Supratik Sengupta gave a recital on the Sitar after which young Junior Scholar, Subha Ghosh gave a Vocal recital. A gala lunch capped the morning’s events.

CSM Concert

The seventh ITC-SRA concert at the Sandre Hall, Calcutta School of Music, was held on February 14, 2009. Scholar Sucheta Ganguly, disciple of Pandit Arun Bhaduri, began with khayals in Raga Yaman, ektala “Sumarana tora tu karim rahim”, teentala “Sughara sundarava balamava” and a tarana composed by her guru Pandit Arun Bhaduri. She then presented khayals in Raga.Basant madhya laya, teentala “Piya sang khelori” and drut “Eri, eri, gaili gaili teerata sab nari”. On request she sang a khayal in Raga Hameer, rupak tala “Aaj bajey murali”. She concluded with a thumri in Raga Bhairavi “Rasake bhare tore nain”. Shri Sandip Kumar Roy Chaudhuri ably accompanied her on the tabla while Shrimati Rupashree Bhattacharya provided harmonium support.

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