Music

Calling out young rasikas

Dr. Sunder

Dr. Sunder  

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Dr. Sunder’s music appreciation workshop on June 25.

It’s never too late to become a rasika. But Dr. S. Sunder believes in catching them young. For the past 30 years, the medico, who is also a musician, has been striving tirelessly to bring more young rasikas to concert halls.

What prompted this disciple of vidwans D.K. Jayaraman, T.K. Govinda Rao and other luminaries, to undertake this as a lifetime mission? “Though medicine is a demanding profession, Carnatic music is my passion. Seeing that artists had to contend with thinning audiences, I wanted to address the issue. Children constitute the audience of the future and must gain that crucial exposure to classical music at an impressionable age,” says Sunder.

“My efforts began in 1987, with YACM’S BAR (Build a Rasika) initiative, where I presented a lec-con (lecture-concert) to the students of Children’s Garden School. It aimed to combine the concert experience with an explanation of kutcheri concepts. For instance, I would stop mid-way through a composition to illustrate what a sangati is, progressing to niraval and raga, keeping the explanations simple, avoiding complex technicalities. In 1997, I released my double album CD ‘Learning to Appreciate Carnatic Music’ from HMV, in association with the YACM”.

Backed by the Music Forum, a corporate-sponsored organisation which promotes classical music, Sunder’s efforts have intensified since 2003. “We have organised over 50 music workshops and lec-dems for children from Std 8-12 at over 40 schools in Chennai, such as PSBB, Sankara, Pon Vidyashram and Lady Sivaswami. My book ‘FAQs in Carnatic Music’ is distributed free to students at these events.

As founder and managing trustee of the Freedom Trust, I regularly hold medical camps at which orthopaedic appliances are provided free of cost to the physically challenged all over Tamil Nadu. I combine these trips with music appreciation events at schools in small towns and villages such as Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Thiruvaiyar. Eminent musicians including Vedavalli, G.S. Mani, Vijay Siva and Suryaprakash have participated.”

The first Sunday of every month is devoted to the Sangeeta Lakshana Lakshya lec-dem series by renowned artists, in association with other music foundations. During the first week of December, Sunder convenes the annual pre-Season Lec-Dem Mela featuring musicians and musicologists. “These programmes have helped many NRIs and music lovers to gain an in-depth appreciation”.

Media programmes to promote listenership include120 episodes of ‘Maithreem Bhajatha’ (Sankara TV) and 100 episodes of ‘Pannisai Vithagargal’ (Makkal TV).

“The mega workshop is an annual event in which about 40 city schools participate, bringing music clubs in schools under one umbrella. We expect a tremendous response with 1,500 children participating and we plan to arrange free transport for students from Corporation schools. During the lec-cons by artists, children are encouraged to ask questions. The three schools from which the maximum number of students attend, are awarded a cup each. For the third year running, the Music Academy is our collaborator and will ensure continuity by scheduling three programmes at the Mini Hall through the year. Doordarshan will record and broadcast the entire event. This year’s highlight is the introduction of ‘Yuva Rasika’ badges which will be given to student groups who can avail free entry to all concerts in specific sabhas including The Music Academy, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, even during the Margazhi fest.

Dr. S. Sunder is a recipient of the Kalaimamani, Best Doctor (Tamil Nadu State) award and President’s medal for Social Service. In co-ordinating the events, he is assisted by long-time associate Usha Bharadwaj. For details contact 9940022234/9381023173

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 11:57:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Calling-out-young-rasikas/article14425926.ece

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