Tara started training in Hindustani classical music at the age of nine from Shri Narayan Rao Patwardhan and continued her musical education under Smt. Meera Khirwadkar and later, under Pt. Rama Rao Naik. She currently trains under Smt. Lalith J. Rao. Tara has been involved with music on many levels including composition of music for the stage, conducting music workshops and performing. She has also worked with filmmaker Shabnam Virmani in extensive research on the music and poetry of Kabir. In 2005, Tara was the music director for a new media performance that was produced by the Srishti School of Design at the ARS Electronica festival in Linz, Austria.
Tara has Master’s degrees in Education and Agricultural Physics and has earned a Visharad in Hindustani classical vocal music from the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. She has taught Physics and Music to primary and high school students in Mallya Aditi International School for 20 years and is currently an independent consultant in Education and Music with several reputed institutions in Bangalore, Andhra Pradesh and Ahmedabad.
Aditi has received intense training in the traditional paramparic style, characterized by the dedicated and close tutelage of her Guru and father, Pt. Dinkar Kaikini, himself a grand and renowned gavaiyya of the Agra Gharana, and her mother, Shashikala Kaikini, respected radio vocalist and current Principal of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Music School in Bombay.
It was from the same school that Aditi received her academic degree in music, the Sangeet Visharad, in 1982. A worthy spokeswoman of her father’s powerful but nuanced style of singing, she has also chosen to highlight her lighter musical side, following training under Smt. Shobha Gurtu, known for her unparalleled mastery of Dadra, Thumri and Hori.
Aditi frequently gives lecture demonstrations and workshops on Indian classical music to both novices and connoisseurs. Since 1995, she has been regularly called upon to speak for audiences of intellectuals, theoreticians and scientists at Bangalore’s National Institute for Advanced Studies. She is also a devoted Guru to a select group of students. and has also taught Hindustani music at the Mallya Aditi International School in Bangalore.
Panditji began his training with Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, but soon after joined Marris College, Lucknow, where he received the heart of his taalim from his Guruji, Pt. S.N. Ratanjankar. Along with his guru bhai, Pt. S.C.R. Bhatt, Panditji spent his formative years receiving rigorous training in the lineage of Pt. Vishnu Narayan Bhatkande, renowned musicologist and father of the modern day Hindustani music system. Upon his performance for his final examination, he was awarded the Bhatkande gold medal for khayal singing.
His performing career has flourished and received the highest honors throughout India and abroad. In India, he has been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Tansen Award, Sangeet Ratna (Swar Sadhana Samitee, Mumbai), Sharangdev Award (Sur Singar Samsad), ITC Award, just to name a few. He has toured internationally, including the US, UK, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and Europe. He has served as an ambassador for Hindustani music, not only as a performing musician, but also as an educator. In 1974, he was selected by the Government of India to represent the Hindustani classical music tradition in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and East Germany, where he gave performances and lecture demonstrations at Universities and cultural centers. He gave a second similar tour in the US, performing extensively in the academic communities.
Panditji’s career as a musician is a testament to his limitless creativity: it exhibits a profound versatility and commitment to the art. In addition to his thriving performance career, he has held very prominent positions in the music field. In Delhi, he held the post of Producer for All India Radio, and Assistant Director for the Directorate, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This was followed by his long tenure as Principal at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s “Sangeet aur Nartan Shikshapeeth” (Music and Dance School), Mumbai. As Principal, Panditji furthered his longstanding belief in promoting music through education and awareness.
Lalith Rao’s introduction to Hindustani classical music was at the age of three, at a concert by renowned vocalist Faiyaz Khan. She started learning music from Rama Rao Naik, who initiated her into the Agra gharana style of singing. Rao’s first public concert was at the Bangalore Sangeet Sabha at the age of 12. When she was 14, she won the All India Classical Music competition in Mumbai and became the youngest participant of the Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan the same year, and was well received.
Lalith Rao completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Communication Engineering. In 1967, she married Jayavanth Rao who convinced her to abandon her engineering career and pursue singing; she received training from Pt. Dinkar Kaikini and Pt. Khadim Hussain Khan.
Rao went back to the Sur Singar Sansad to restart her performance career and there, became a professional singer. She is as adept at singing Khayal, Dhrupad, Dhamaar as well as Thumri, Tarana and Hori. Under the guidance of her guru, Rao developed a unique style of rendering taranas.
Her first concert abroad was in 1981. She has performed in France, UK, USA and Canada and is a top-grade artiste of All India Radio. Rao regularly performs on the Radio and Television. She was one of the key figures in setting up a trust “Sajan Milap” in the mid-seventies, to popularise the music of her Guru, who used the pen name “Sajan Piya”. She was the chief coordinator for the Ford Foundation Archival project at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy from 1989-91. A few years later she herself sang for the Ethno-Musicology Department of the University of Washington in Seattle for them to archive the music of her gharana.
Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha are India’s leading exponents of the Dhrupad style of music. They are among the most active performers of Dhrupad in Indian and international circuits. Born in Ujjain in Central India, both were initiated into music by their parents.
The Gundecha Brothers received conventional university education and learned the Dhrupad style from Dhrupad maestros Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. They have also sung Hindi poetry by Tulsidas, Kabir, Padmakar and Nirala in the Dhrupad style.
The bandhu and have also recorded over 25 cassettes and CDs with record labels in India and overseas. They have also been broadcast on television in the UK, US, Germany France, Japan and on the radio in Australia.
From 1981 – 85, the Gundecha brothers received the Madhya Pradesh Govt. Scholarship, and the National Fellowship from 1987 to 89. They were conferred the Ustad Allauddin Khan Fellowship in 1993, Sanskriti Award in 1994 and Kumar Gandharva Award in 1998 by the Govt. of Madhaya Pradesh and the Dagar Gharana Award by the Mewar Foundation in 2001.
Yogesh Samsi is one of those rare tabla players whose reputation has been built on his consummate artistry in both fields of accompaniment and solo playing. The son of the renowned vocalist Pt. Dinkar Kaikini, Yogesh was initiated into tabla by his father at the age of four, and later received guidance under Pandit H. Taranath Rao. However it was under the gifted tutelage of the legendary Ustad Alla Rakha that Yogesh received intense training for twenty three years and matured into a fine young tabla player.
Yogesh has accompanied almost every top ranking instrumentalist, vocalist and dancer of India, including Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pt. Dinkar Kaikini, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Pt. Birju Maharaj. Apart from accompaniment, Yogesh has performed numerous memorable solo performances in India and abroad. He has also had the privilege of accompanying his teacher Ustad Alla Rakha and his son, the maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, in their solo performances.
Besides performing, Yogesh has a sound scholastic approach to the subject and has conducted several successful workshops in world music centres in India, USA, UK, South Africa and Japan. He is also a highly respected teacher and has created a syllabus for learning tabla designed specifically for teachers in the West, an initiative which is sure to have great benefits for the advancement of tabla worldwide. Yogesh has also worked on an instructional CD-Rom about tabla which is now available for students.
Arundhati Raja is Artistic Director of Artistes’ Repertory Theatre, an English language theatre group, founded, with her husband Jagdish, in 1982, and of JAGRITI, a flourishing performing arts centre located in Whitefield, Bangalore.
With thirty years experience in the teaching of subjects as varied as science, language arts and drama, she conducts training workshops in drama for groups of all ages and background.
As director she has designed and directed over forty productions and has participated in a British Council seminar in the UK, on Advanced Theatre Direction in July 1994, being sponsored by the British Council and the Charles Wallace India Trust for the Arts.