Why Carnatic Music Matters More Than Ever

by Ludwig Pesch

Published by Shankar Ramchandran on behalf of Dhvani Ohio


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For this musicologist and author, there are good reasons to believe that Carnatic music matters, perhaps more than ever and almost anywhere in the world. So why not perform and teach it in the service of better education for all, for ecological awareness or in order to promote mutual respect in spite of all our differences? And in the process, get “invigorated and better equipped to tackle the larger issues at hand”.

Sruti Magazine (October 2018)

No complacency in the search for creativity: Manickam Yogeswaran (The Hindu)

Review by Garimella Subramaniam, The Hindu, January 05, 2017 | Read the full review >>

“The many dimensions of the musical persona of Berlin-based Manickam Yogeswaran of Sri Lankan origin are not easy to fathom just from hearing him sing at one recital. […]

However, a conversation over coffee at Chamiers, days after a performance for Tamil Isai Sangam at Raja Annamalai Mandram, gave a glimpse of the different facets of the disciple of T.V. Gopalakrishnan and his exposure to Hollywood. […]

Yogeswaran’s forays into western classical ensembles, and his key role in global music forums for nearly three decades is a career graph, perhaps, typical of the wider scene in the performing arts these days. At the same time, it is the emotional need to stay anchored to the cultural milieu of one’s roots that probably explains Yogeswaran’s crucial engagement with Carnatic music. […] The challenge now, he says, is to nudge current generation of South Asians from a false sense of security about the future of this traditional art form. The conveniences afforded by technology, in terms of access to the treasure trove of recordings of great masters, ought not to breed complacency in the search for creativity, he argues. The key lies in continued reliance on the rigours of relentless individual ‘sadhana,’ a hallmark of classical music.”


Lecture recital: Flutes and tambura – Netherlands

Private lecture-recital at Zoetermeer, 21 June 2014
performed by

Usha Ramesh & Ludwig Pesch – bamboo flutes
Mieke Beumer – tambura

About the musicians

Usha Ramesh and Ludwig Pesch were fellow pupils of Ramachandra Shastry (1906-92) during their student days at Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chennai.

Having studied both music and painting – under renowned artist K. Sreenivasulu (1923-94) – Usha further developed her art after moving to Zoetermeer. She has followed courses at the Vrije Akademie and took private graphic lessons from Marjolein van der Velde. As flautist she worked with classical Indian dance ensembles performing at prestigious venues such as Korzo Theater (The Hague), Tropentheater (Amsterdam) and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam). She also gives presentations for school children.
Homepage: www.usha.mimemo.net

Ludwig accompanied his teacher on many occasions. He taught in several German universities incl. Göttingen, Lüneburg (E-learning courses) and Würzburg. For Bern University of the Arts (Switzerland), he conducted research on Kerala’s performing arts (Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!). For Oxford University Press he wrote the The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music. He also enjoys introducing Indian music to school children, those with special needs and museum visitors (e.g. Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Rietberg Zuerich). More information >>

Mieke Beumer worked as art historian at the Amsterdam University Library. Her research brought her in contact with the cultures of South Asia. It is in this context that she came to immerse herself in Indian music and dance. More about her research >>

The tambura (tanpura) played by Mieke looks quite different from any typical Indian-made instrument. Hers is a modern version made from bamboo, redeveloped by a team of instrument makers in Berlin. Yet its simple shape also indicates what the ‘original’ tambura might have looked and felt like; and indeed, little more is needed than a few strings strung across a plain, well crafted resonator. Besides its rich sound, this tambura has yet another property that counts in Holland: it is easy to transport, even by bicycle!

More about

Art credit: www.Usha Ramesh

Nederlands / information in Dutch >>

Ludwig Pesch – Nederlands

Ludwig_Pesch_0726webLudwig Pesch specialiseerde zich op de Zuid-Indiase bamboe dwarsfluit, toen hij studeerde bij Ramachandra Shastry aan de Kalakshetra kunstacademie in Chennai. Samen met zijn leraar gaf hij concerten bij talrijke gelegenheden.

In samenwerking met twee universiteiten ontwikkelde hij E-learning cursussen (www.carnaticstudent.org). Hij schreef het handboek The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music.


Voor pedagogisch gebruik in workshops en in de dagelijkse schoolomgeving ontwikkelt hij programma’s die elementen uit de Indiase muziek toegankelijk en toepasbaar maken.

Hij is betrokken bij onderzoeksprojecten op het gebied van Indiase muziek en muziekpedagogie zoals “Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!” (Bern University of the Arts) en tentoonstellingen (o.a. Tropenmuseum Amsterdam).


“Thinking and learning in South Indian Music”
In Markus Cslovjecsek, Madeleine Zulauf (eds.)
Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training
Peter Lang Publishers, Bern, 2018. 418 pp., 29 fig. b/w, 2 tables
MOUSIKÆ PAIDEIA Music and Education/Musik und Bildung/Musique et Pédagogie. Vol. 1 pb.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0388-0

The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music
New Delhi: Oxford University Press (2009) 2nd revised edition ISBN 978019569998X

South Indian music Articles in Encyclopedia of India by Stanley Wolpert, Editor in chief. New York: Macmillan-Scribners-Gale (2005) ISBN 0684313499

Zur zeitgemäßen Vermittlung einer zeitlosen Musik

Ludwig Pesch ist ein bekannter Experte in südindischer karnatischer Musik. Sein Spezialinstrument ist die Bambusquerflöte. Nach seinem Musikstudium an der Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik und Universität Freiburg im Breisgau hat er am Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Indien sein Postdiplom für karnatische Musik gemacht. Er wurde als Flötist von dem bekannten südindischen Musiker Ramachandra Shastry ausgebildet. Herr Pesch ist ein innovativer Musikpädagoge und hat für die Universität Lüneburg die Fernkurse “Musik und Künste im südlichen Indien” und “The Music of South India” gestaltet und betreut in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Indologie-Lehrstuhl der Universität Würzburg. Seine bekannteste Veröffentlichung ist The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music (Oxford University Press, 2. Auflage 2009).

In Anerkennung besonderer Verdienste um die Kulturbeziehungen zwischen Indien und Deutschland wurde ihm 2000 das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland verliehen. Er hat auch den Rabindranath Tagore-Kulturpreis im Jahr 2003 verliehen bekommen.
Im folgenden Beitrag wird dargestellt, welche große Rolle indische Musik im Kulturdialog zwischen Deutschland und Indien spielen kann.

Quelle: Ludwig Pesch (www.aiume.org) in
Meine Welt: Zeitschrift des Deutsch-Indischen Dialogs, 2/2012
Manickam Yogeswaran und Ludwig Pesch, Konzert anlässlich der ISME Weltkonferenz für Musikerziehung in Thessaloniki
Manickam Yogeswaran und Ludwig Pesch, Konzert anlässlich der ISME Weltkonferenz für Musikerziehung in Thessaloniki

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