From harpsichord to guitar

Konarak Reddy, finger style guitarist and composer known for organizing world guitar nights felt the best homage to Bangalore School of Music (BSM) founder, Aruna Sunderlal, would be a musical one. At BFlat, Konark released, Presto which he transcribed for guitar, as a tribute to Aruna who passed away on June 25.

The BSM founder started the school with three students in her house in 1987. As of today, over 9,500 students have passed out of BSM, which now occupies a 12,000 square foot building in R.T. Nagar equipped with classrooms, recording studios and an auditorium with support from trustees, board members and music lovers. The Music Outreach programme by BSM has enhanced the lives of over 5,500 underprivileged, physically-challenged children through a formal music education.

Born in Delhi in 1939, Aruna studied music privately in England and Germany. She raised crores to disseminate the niche art of western classical music and BSM was instrumental in popularising fusion music in the city. Aruna felt, “Classical music may well be in a renaissance of sorts, but fusion is a craze with youth and I recognize that.” BSM has held concerts ranging from classical and jazz to fusion music throughout the year.

Konarak says, “While BSM was born out of Aruna’s deep sense of music, her endeavour to spread melody in Bengaluru was phenomenal. I have been working on Presto for many years. When I decided to release it, I thought I would do it as a homage to Aruna and her great musical persona.” Excerpts from an interview.

You have known Aruna Sunderlal for long…

I have known Aruna over the years as a family friend as well as someone who encouraged youngsters play music. I have played some concerts for BSM, including one with my friend, Claus Boesser-Ferrari. The release is my appreciation of a kindred spirit who worked for the arts in Bangalore.

Why did you choose Handel’s Suite No. 3 in D Minor Presto?

When I was about 11 years old, my sister was given a guitar as a present. But I took it up while she studied piano instead. I first studied western classical guitar and over the years have always come back to certain beloved pieces for practice as well as to relax with. Presto has been a long time favourite of mine. Though it was written for harpsichord, I loved trying it out. So it was natural that I should transcribe it and put the notation down.

How difficult was the endeavour and what does it mean to other guitarists?

I loved the exercise as ‘Presto’ has been close to my heart. To other guitarists it would mean that they can now read the notation and practice the piece. It is available both in hard copy as well as a downloadable file.

I am very pleased to have so many enquiries about it already. In essence it means there is one more piece of written music to practice and work with.

Also, to have notation for a piece that was originally composed for harpsichord, is very interesting and challenges the speed of our playing. At a recent concert in the city I was invited by a guitarist from BSM, Nandini Sridhar, to release my transcription as a homage to Aruna.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 1:16:55 PM |

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