Appreciating Indian Classical Music: LecDem – Raja Angara

By January 6, 2010videos page

The Lec-Dem

Raja Angara, an accomplished sitar player and an academician, explained – with practical demonstration – the nuances of Indian music and how to appreciate it.

He gave a live performance on sitar, accompanied by tabla, for our enjoyment.

PS : This talk has no video.

Raja Angara

Mr Raja is an academician who plays soul stirring music on the sitar’ is how he is known to his audience. In a world where specialization is the order of the day, to be recognized in more than one field is no easy task. Raja has the unique privilege of being an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Hyderabad and at the same time being recognized as a sitarist of high caliber.   His concerts have always had a high tone of seriousness and the discipline with which he develops the raga is characteristic of his recitals.

Having been initiated into music at a very young age by Shri Satish Chandra, a disciple of the Pandit Ravi Shankar, Raja blossomed into a fine sitarist by the time he was an undergraduate student at the Banares Hindu University. His recitals in the holy city, which is also the seat of culture and music, won the hearts of many famous musicians who heard him.  The famous violinist Smt.N.Rajam, after hearing him, called him “a very devoted sadhak (seeker) of music “.  The great tabla maestro, Pandit Kishan Maharaj invited him to play at his residence where he earned the master’s praise as a promising young sitarist.

After having had a brief study period with the eminent sitarist of Calcutta, Sri Monilal Nag, Raja is now the distinguished disciple of the greatest living legend of Hindustani Classical Music, Smt.Annapurna Devi, sister of the great sarod maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.  Considering the fact that her earlier disciples include the great sitar virtuoso — the late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiya, the famous flautist, Raja feels privileged to learn, create and perform in the aura of her blessings. Her training has imparted the golden touch to Raja’s music, which has earned him the reputation of being a sitarist who is totally free of unnecessary display of technical prowess and embellishments.

Hearing Raja’s music is like an echo from the past of a great tradition handed down by the great musician –teacher Ustad Allaudin Khan, the father of Ustad Ali Akbar and Smt. Annapurna Devi.  Listening to him is an unforgettable experience.

Being an academician and teacher makes Raja particularly good at conducting lecture-demonstrations on music to foreign audiences – a fact that he put to good use when he was in England while on a commonwealth fellowship.  Back home, in recognition of his talents, the University of Hyderabad invited him to conduct classes in Hindustani Classical music under the Study India Program for American students from the University of Pittsburgh.

He has recently returned to India after having spent three years in Germany where he gave many performances in Hamburg and Bremen. He was also associated with the Institute for Indian Classical Music, Hamburg, Germany where he taught the sitar to German students.

Raja performs regularly for All India Radio and other audiences.

Raja also conducts Sitar classes for both Indian and foreign nationals at regular intervals and has several American and German students.

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