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East meets west

Geetha Srinivasan
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MEET Jyotsna Srikanth, a talented violinist from Karnataka, performs fusion with a band of musicians from the West

Expanding repertoire Jyotsna Srikanth Photo: K. Gopinathan
Expanding repertoire Jyotsna Srikanth Photo: K. Gopinathan

J yotsna Srikanth, a medical doctor by profession, is renowned in Carnatic classical music and has been taking part in world fusion music for the last two decades, both within UK and outside.

“We have planned an interlacing of East with the West — a mix of different cultural styles, ” says Dr. Jyotsna, who has herself skilfully stringed medical profession with musical passion.

Her journey into music began at five, and at eight she gave her first concert. Her mother, vidushi Rathna Srikantaiah, recalls watching her eight-year-old holding a violin that nearly covered her. Her Kalyani alap had impressed the packed audience. The traditional environment in which she grew, laid a strong foundation for her studies. A front-bencher and top gold medallist all through, Jyotsna also pursued music seriously. Inspired by Kunnukudi Vaidyanathan's violin, she came under the tutelage of maestro R.R. Keshava Murthy, the living legend of seven-stringed violin. She had the privilege of accompanying Dr. Balamurali Krishna, when she was studying to be a doctor. Once she was qualified with P.G. in Pathology, a full fledged doctor, and a full time professional artist, it was time for Dr. Jyotsna to choose between profession and passion. She decided to pursue both with equal strength and vigour.

Marriage took her to London, where she continued to give 20-25 concerts every month. Soon, she became a global performer. “Violin is a versatile instrument used in all genres of music, be it classical, film, light music. It has travelled from west to east. To understand the full form of violin, one has to learn the western classical violin, to be complete violinist,” says Dr. Jyotsna, who initially learnt violin from The Bangalore School of Music. Her passion took her to the renowned maestro V.S. Narasimhan, the solo violinist for Ilaiyaraja. As she moved on to do recordings for music composers, she did all her grade exams from the Royal School of Music, London.

Having established her own music group called “Fusion Group”, she travelled often to Europe to perform. She has brought out a unique album in which she plays violin in eight different global styles.

Jyotsna visits different universities like The Cambridge University, Liverpool University and lectures on comparative techniques between Indian violin and western violin, comparison between Indian and western music. Winner of several awards, she has set up the Dhruva Foundation in U.K. to help upcoming artists from India to perform there. This versatile artist has been recently conferred with a Fellowship from the Trinity College of Music London.

Geetha Srinivasan


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