To mark the 75 years of violin exponent and guru Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao his disciple Pantula Rama pays a tribute

The word ‘Guru’ in the Indian context of learning places the person on par with or even higher than God. Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao can be hailed as the pioneer and architect of the rich and healthy music scenario of modern Visakhapatnam – the music capital of the State.

For many decades now, the beautiful evenings of the city have experienced his ethereal music, accompanied by a host of his disciples of many generations of vocalists, violinists, veena players and flautists, in the celebrated ‘sangeetam gadi’. It is a treat to watch him take the mridangam and demonstrate to young percussionists honing their skills.

Born on the 29th May 1938 in Visakhapatnam, Vijayeswara Rao studied music at Vizianagaram under Dwaram Narasinga Rao Naidu – one of the pillars of the legendary Dwaram tradition. Vijayeswara Rao imbibed all the signature traits such as a mystic and enigmatic tonal quality, absolute note purity and unostentatious yet mind-boggling innovation, which mark this stunning style of violin playing.

After the untimely death of his father, the child prodigy started performing and teaching. Guided only by an extraordinary inner vision, he started a full-fledged music school in his Guru’s memory. Later on, upon the insistence of a disciple Pantula Gopala Rao,

Vijayeswara Rao joined All India Radio as a staff artist and worked at Calicut and Visakhapatnam, till his voluntary retirement in 1992.

Stalwarts like Chembai have remarked that his violin accompaniment would align even an out of tune singer. His technical perfection, wide and authentic repertoire, the most complex of pallavis and amazing grasp in accompanying, 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.

We, his disciples, take this opportunity to salute his manifold contribution – as a legendary violinist, vocalist of caliber, a Guru nonpareil and a perseverant propagator of music.

(The author is a city-based exponent of carnatic music)