'Classical guitar has changed my life'

'Classical guitar has changed my life'

For 16-year-old Nandini Sudhir, the classical guitar changed her life. “It is my best friend,” says the young maestro, who recently completed her first-year PUC at Mount Carmel College.

Nandini started learning the classical guitar in 2007 at the Bangalore School of Music (BSM). Recalling her journey with music, she says, “I studied in St Francis Xavier School, which gave a lot of importance to music and that’s where I developed my love for it. I was even in the school choir. Plus at home, my father also played the acoustic guitar. This is the first and only instrument I’ve learnt and my biggest inspiration is my BSM teacher Dinesh Khundrakpam. He has been a very dedicated teacher and is a great guitarist himself. Aruna Sunderlal, who founded BSM, has also given me lots of opportunities to perform and learn.”

If one sees Nandini with her guitar, it’s obvious from her expressions that her love for it is no ordinary one. “I loved the classical guitar the moment I heard it and it has completely changed my life. It’s soothing and gives me peace when I play it. It has a sound that’s unique from other instruments and brings out positive feelings in me,” she shares, adding, “My guitar is a handmade Spanish one from a luthier in Granada, Spain. It’s a really nice piece that I picked because it’s loud and has a rich, rounded tone.”

However, she admits that learning it wasn’t an easy task. “It required a lot of practice. But because I love it so much, I didn’t find it stressful to learn and enjoyed the process,” adds Nandini, one of India’s youngest and most talented female classical guitarists.
While she has plans of pursuing music later and joining a conservatory in Europe, Nandini is clear about balancing studies and music. “I enjoy studies and give it enough time but I’d definitely love to pursue music as a career.

My parents have always supported me and always give priority to my happiness and take me for festivals and send me for competitions. Even my school and college have encouraged me,” she says. She has also received more international exposure than most of her peers could boast of. “I’ve trained under international artistes like Pavel Steidi, Denis Azabagic, Adam dei Monte and Simon Cheong.

This summer holiday, I’m going to study in Germany and the Netherlands from Hubert Kappel and Annette Kruisbrink respectively. Another individual is Avik Saha from Calcutta, who has done a lot for me. I attended the Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival and he encouraged me to go to Germany’s Nordhorn Guitar Festival and the Thailand Guitar Festival, where I was an international winner,” she informs.  When asked who her favourite classical guitarists are, Nandini replies, “There’s Marcin Dylla from Poland, Johannes Moller from Sweden and Andrascsaki from Hungary. I also studied under a Bosnian guitarist called Denis Azabagic, who is inspiring.”

When will one get to hear Nandini’s original compositions? “I haven’t started composing yet but I hope to do that someday. I think that will come with experience,” she sums up.

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