BV Raghavendra Rao is a highly talented violinist, who accompanied Dr.Nithyasree Mahadevan, along with Patri Satish Kumar on Mridangam. We were able to get few minutes to talk to this distinguished artist.
BV Raghavendra Rao hailed from a family of musicians. He received the appreciation from the President of India for his able accompaniment to the celebrated musical genius Dr M Balamuralikrishna. He won several prizes and awards from many sabhas in Chennai. He travelled across the world to many countries, and accompanied many distinguished artists such as Sri TN Seshagopalan, TV Shankaranarayanan, OS Thyagarajan, Smt Sudha Raghunathan, Smt Sowmya, Smt Bombay Jayashri etc.
DS: Hello Sir, It was a fantastic concert this weekend in Denver. Can you please tell us about your family of musicians?
BR: I was born and brought up in Chennai. My father is Sudarshan Rao, and mother’s name is Girijamba. My father used to work in movie music as flutist, one of the leading musician in 1950s and 60s. He worked with the famous music directors V Ramanathan, Daksihana Murthy, and has been permanent member in KV Mahadevan troupe for almost 25yrs. He also worked with Ramesh Naidu, Chalapathi Rao, Devarajan master in Malayalam etc. He wanted to learn Carnatic music, but could not pursue it because of his busy schedule. Hence he wanted us to get into Carnatic music. We are 5 brothers and 4 sisters. My elder brother B.V. Ganesh Rao is a tablist having accompanied great maestros of Hindustani music in many a Kutcheri. Another elder brother B.V. Subba Rao plays the Ghatam and Mridangam. My third brother B.V. Balasai is a well-known Flutist and composer. My younger brother B.V. Sivaramakrishna on the Sitar has received accolades for his artistry. I have 4 sisters out of whom the youngest, Bala Tripura Sundari, is a talented and highly acclaimed Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam exponent. All are settled in music profession and we all live together in one big music family.
DS: Tell us about your gurus.
BR: When I was 7yrs old, my father introduced me to teacher called Balan, who was my first guru. At times my father used to learn from Sangeetham Meerasaheb, who is a disciple of Sri Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, who used to be coming to Chennai. He taught me some lessons to practice the Carnatic music. I then joined with Thiruvallur Veera Raghavan for some time. I then started to learn from Sangeetha Kalanidhi TN Krishnan, and currently I am his disciple. I am also interested to western classical music, to I took some basic lesson, and started learning from VN Narasimhan sir, who is in Maestro Ilayaraja orchestra.
DS: It seems you have exposure to both classical and film music.
BR: All my brothers are all-rounders, both in movie music and the classical. I am settled with classical music because violin is more classical oriented, and goes as an accompaniment to classical concerts.
DS: Apart from accompaniment, do you do any other solo concerts?
I am now ventured into solo concerts, jugalbandi’s and fusion music concerts with various bands. We have a band called Pranavam under which we perform these concerts.
DS: What’s your most challenging concert?
BR: The most challenging concert for me was with Dr M Balamuralikrishna. When I was 20 yrs old, I accompanied Sri Balamurali sir, and it was quite a challenge. I got the appreciation from the President of India for this concert.
DS: Thanks much Mr. Rao, for spending some time with us. We wish to see you back in any future conerts.
BR: We have got a great response from the audience in Denver. It is a memorable concert. Thanks to CFAA for hosting our concert.
Thanks Colorado Fine Arts Association for getting us the opportunity to spend few minutes with the guest artist.