In memoriam Pia Srinivasan Buonomo (15 May 1931 – 8 April 2022)

With vainika Rajeswari Padmanabhan
(Madras, winter 1974-75)

With the demise of Dr. Pia Srinivasan, the world of Indian music has lost one of its most fervent supporters.

For over three decades she and her husband, renowned Indologist Prof. S.A. Srinivasan, spared no effort to acquaint discerning music lovers with the intricacies of South Indian classical music; and this with remarkable success as evident from critical acclaim for their publications including a musical memoir in Italian titled Il raga che porta la pioggia; a work not just distinguished by an understanding for the traditions and the ways of life in India but – in the words of Renata Maione –  an empathy that enables her to judge in freedom from her own cultural heritage and gets the reader too involved in the India she describes.

rajeswari_pia_vina_1969
Pia with her guru in 1969

In her own words, it all began “when I joined Kalakshetra in 1968 to learn Carnatic music. It was there that I met Rajeswari. It was a great event in my life as I came to realise more and more.”

Prof. David Reck (Amherst University), a close friend and associate in her lifelong pursuit of spreading Carnatic music far and wide, expressed best what this music meant to them and their students:

For those of us who experienced those halcyon days Pia brings back wonderful memories. For other readers her writing will bring the images, smells, tastes, personalities, rhythms of existence, and most of all the music of those times vividly to life.

In short, her and her husband’s quest was all about building bridges across cultural and linguistic divides; one that continues to benefit anyone willing to make an extra effort for the sake of getting immersed in this music for an extended period of time.

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Perceptions of “Guru” now and then

A teacher teaches music – the curriculum, the techniques, the methods and so on, but a Guru teaches how to approach music: how to understand it, how to internalize it and how to enjoy it. […]

Music is a lifelong pursuit and its emotions start sinking into you with more internal growth of the self (for which the Guru is an enabler). At a certain phase in this pursuit, you become your own Guru.

Vasudevan Ram in Learning Music – A Guru Is More Than A Teacher >>

The word ‘Guru’ in the Indian context of learning places the person on par with or even higher than God.

Pantula Rama paying tribute to her violin guru Ivaturi Vijayeswara Rao of the Dwaram tradition in “Architect of Vizag’s music scenario” (The Hindu, 19 February 2013)

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