Notes from musical past

Notes from musical past

Notes from musical past

This photo was taken around 1956-57. The occasion was the anniversary celebrations of the Vijaya College of Music. This programme was held at National High School, Basavanagudi.
In the 1950s, along with Malleswaram, Basavanagudi was culturally very active, especially in the field of Carnatic music. The Vijaya College of Music (VCM) was started in the early 50s (not to be confused with Vijaya College which had academic courses).

It was located on Kanakanahalli Road (now Kanakapura Road) in a spacious residence in Basavanagudi. The classes were held in the three rooms on the first floor of the house. I would park my bicycle behind the house and climb the stairs and waited in the verandah until the class started. I came from a family of music lovers. I studied violin under Vidwan A  Veerabhadriah, son of the famous harmonium player 'Vidwan' A Arunuachalappa, for about six years at Vijaya College.  I remember Veerabhadriah as a quiet and a patient teacher. Even when I played 'apaswara', he would never get upset but patiently corrected me.  

When Sri Veerabhadriah was busy with his store 'Aruna Musicals', in Balepet, 'Vidwan' H V Krishnamurthy (HVK) taught us. HVK was working as a teacher in the Corporation High School and would come after school to teach violin at Vijaya College. Even now I treasure the lessons that he and Veerabhadriah wrote in my improvised music notebook.

My family lived in Shankarapurum and I bicycled or walked to class in the evenings. Traffic was sparse then and the footpaths were wide and unencroached upon unlike now. It was a pleasant journey under the canopy of trees along KR Road and Vani Vilas Road. Most of the students came from nearby localities. Every year the college celebrated the Ganesha festival in which the students performed. One year, I remember them erecting a 'pandal' for two to three days partially blocking the traffic on Kanakapura Road. I cannot imagine that happening today!  

'Vidwan' L S Narayanaswamy Bhagavatar (founder) was the principal of the college and my wife, Malini, who lived close by learnt vocal music lessons from him. No, I never knew my wife then! She along with her mother, Sushila Parthasarathy, also learnt violin from HVK. M Janaki was a student of Narayanaswamy Bhagavatar who went on to become a teacher herself.  

Other well-known vocal teachers were 'Vidwan' K R Venkatadasappa and 'Vidwan' Venkataramana Shastry.   At that time, we were encouraged to attend live concerts. Two of the venues nearby were the Gayana Samaja on KR Road and the 'Rama Navami' celebrations in the City Institute which invited top musicians to perform.  

The only way for us to hear these musicians in those days were either at live concerts or on the radio. I worked as a biostatistician in the biopharma industry and am currently retired. My wife channelled her love for performing arts by becoming a bharathanatyam dancer and teacher.

The encouragement of the teachers at Vijaya College helped us develop a love of music which has lasted to this day.  

I have a large collection of Carnatic music, love listening to it and sharing it with others, particularly  my  daughter and my son. My children, who are physicians in the US, have also extensively learnt  Carnatic music and bharathanatyam.  At present, the Vijaya College of Music is actively continuing to train students in Carnatic music under the able leadership of HVK's son violin 'Vidwan' H K Venkataram. The college is now located in Jayanagar.  

I hope this photograph brings back some memories to those that were in the Vijaya College of Music at that time.