Music has been a constant part of my life since I was very young. I have studied and performed with many master musicians, theorists, composers, and musicologists during my university years and now as I continue to build my professional career. Neeraja Apitakar’s talent for performing and teaching is truly beautiful, compassionate, and encouraging.
I have been a student of Neeraja for approximately three years. With her I have learned 26 Ragas, thumris, dadra, bhajans, stotrams, and other song forms. Day in and day out she challenges me to learn, practice, and perform. Never holding back, she shares knowledge in an open and generous manner – an excellent and experienced teacher that I will always, respect, and trust.
My initial interest in Indian Classical Music began many years ago while studying the music of minimalist composers Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and most importantly LaMonte Young. During a class focused on the early Minimalist Composers I found a unique connection with LaMonte Young and Pandit Pran Nath, which has had a lasting inﬂuence. Since beginning my studies I have been introduced to the music of master Indian Classical Musicians including Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Amir Khan, Kishori Amonkar, Pat Kumar Gandharva, Pt. Mukul Shivputra, and many more. While attending concerts with Neeraja the opportunity to meet artists Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt. Ram Das Palsule, Pt. Yogesh Samsi, and Pt. Miland Tulankar has provided immeasurable inspiration.
Recently, I have had the honour of accompanying Neeraja with vocal support and tanpura at the In the House Festival and at the 120th Anniversary of Swami Vivekanada’s Journey to North America. Her encouragement and positive spirit shines brightly in her presence both on stage and off. Sharing Vancouver as our adopted home, away from family, I know I can count on her like a sister in good and challenging times.
I without reservation highly recommend anyone interested in learning about Indian Classical Music to seek Neeraja’s instruction as it is a treasured experience of my own