The 75th birthday celebrations of vidwan Ivaturi Vijayewara Rao, is being organised by his disciples on February 19, at Kalabarathi, Vishakapatnam. One of his prime disciples PANTULA RAMA pays tribute…
“A swift stroke of the bow… a vivacious vibrato of the finger… a poised pause here and there … the musical journey of my Guru, Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao, is all of 75 years now.
The word ‘guru’ in the Indian context of learning refers to someone on a par or even higher than God. There might be those who do not believe in God but seldom those who do not believe in the powers of a guru.
My guru belongs to a great gurusishya parampara from Andhra Pradesh - the legendary Dwaram tradition of Carnatic music. A disciple of Dwaram Narasinga Rao Naidu, he imbibed the signature traits such as a mystic and enigmatic tonal quality, absolute note purity and unostentatious yet mind-boggling innovation, which mark this style of violin playing. My guru inevitably chokes with ineffable emotion whenever he recalls his relationship with his guru.
Born on May 29, 1938, in Visakhaptnam, Vijayeswara Rao went on to pursue his music education at Vizianagaram. A child prodigy even by the rigid old standards, he started performing and teaching very early in life. He shouldered the responsibility of his family even as a young boy, after the untimely death of his father. His guru Narasinga Rao, who became a father figure, also passed away a few years later.
Guided only by his inner vision, the violinist started a music school in his guru’s memory at Vizianagaram. Later, on the insistence of a disciple (incidentally my father and first guru Pantula Gopala Rao), he joined All India Radio as a Staff Artist and offered his services at Calicut and Visakhapatnam, till 1992 and opted for voluntary retirement.
Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao can be hailed as the architect of the rich music scenario of modern Visakhapatnam, now considered the music capital of Andhra Pradesh. His relentless academic pursuits have been fruitful in archiving a treasure of audio recordings and books on music.
For many decades now, in the cool evenings in Vizag, one has experienced the ethereal music of Vijayeswara Rao accompanied by his disciples in the celebrated sangeetam gadi (music room). They include vocalists, violinists, veena players, flautists and also young percussionists. It is a treat to watch him take the mridangam and demonstrate.
Great musicians such as Chembai have remarked that his violin accompaniment would align even an out-of-tune singer. His technical perfection, wide and authentic repertoire and the most complex of pallavis have always been packaged in a seemingly effortless, aesthetic manner.
Vijayeswara Rao is today a living example of a maestro who fought against several odds with the sheer strength of his brilliance, genius, hard work and commitment. His manifold contribution as a violinist, vocalist and teacher can only be saluted with utmost humility.