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|August 3, 2000|
A year of melody
Nitish S Rele in Tampa
The Pandit Jasraj School of Music in Tampa continues to evolve and grow under a new management. The school completed a year in April.
Every week, on Thursday and Sunday evenings, vocal and tabla classes are being held simultaneously at the India Cultural Center here. Age isn't a factor at all. In fact, some of the 50 students enrolled in the school are barely 3 or 4 years old.
Needless to say, Pandit Jasraj is the unparalleled doyen of North Indian classical vocal music. One of the most internationally acclaimed classical vocalists, he comes from a family in Haryana that has produced four generations of musicians.
In his honor, a Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation has been established in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Pandit Jasraj Academy of Music in New Jersey. The University of Toronto has instituted a scholarship in his name to help deserving young Canadian students who want to learn Indian music.
Besides Jasraj, the faculty includes violinist Kala Ramnath who is also the principal of the school. Vocalists are Suman Ghosh and Lalita Sharma. Vijay Ghate and Shantilal Shah are tabla players. The teachers are on the faculty on a rotation basis and have been provided with accommodations.
After completing a four-month stint, Ghosh is preparing to leave for concerts in United States and Europe. Sharma will replace him around August 15. Tabla player Ghate just recently left for India and Shah of Benares and a disciple of maestro Suresh Talwalkar has taken over his place.
Pandit Jasraj, who is recuperating from bypass surgery, may visit Tampa in September if his health permits it. Ghosh says he is excited by the school's progress.
"The students are growing musically and I will miss them, starting from the little kids who at just four years old and are so musically inclined," he said.
Though people take vacations around summer time, Ghosh feels that attendance has been good at the school. "Every month, we are receiving new enrollment," he said. "This is very encouraging. I am happy with the overall enthusiasm of the people."
A native of Calcutta, Ghosh received initial training in vocal music from Gyanprakash Ghosh before Pandit Jasraj took him under his sings.
"My association with guruji (Jasraj) goes back to my childhood," he said. Ghosh plans to wrap up his US stay with concerts in New York, Philadelphia and Houston before heading over to Europe.
For more information on the Pandit Jasraj School of Music, call Ghosh or Shah at (813) 881-9846.
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