Audio | Homage to Max Mueller: cultural programmes & seminar

A radio programme by Christoph Hahn with German introductions and explanations © 2000 Bayerischer Rundfunk

Excerpts from live programmes and report (click Download >View to listen/read)

Sruti Magazine (India’s premier music and dance magazine, PDF 560 KB):


1974 stamp of India © Wikipedia

Max Mueller Bhavan (German Cultural Institute) in Chennai organised a clutch of cultural programmes and a seminar during 28-30 November 2000 to mark the death centenary of Max Mueller, a great Indologist. Born in 1823, Mueller died when he was 77.

Mueller is remembered for stimulating widespread interest in Indology, mythology, philosophy, comparative religion, linguistics and social criticism. The special cultural relations between India and Germany are largely attributed to his works.

Mueller never visited India. But, had he come to India, he would likely have sought the company of musicians and scholars in the field of the performing arts, considering that he wanted to become a musician and belonged to a family that considered music and poetry a way of life. His first love was indeed music which he would have taken up as a profession but for the unfavourable climate for such a pursuit in his days.

The famous Indologist is best known all over the world for the publication of the Sacred Books of the East (51 volumes), amongst several other works. He was an ardent promoter of Indian independence and cultural self-assertion.

Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, entrusted Ludwig Pesch, a German who has spent years learning and studying Carnatic music, with the task of planning a befitting programme of tribute in Chennai in the wider context of a major German festival under way in India. Hundreds of German artists and scholars are presently touring India but Pesch was to help mount a celebration of a different kind- primarily with and for South Indian participants.

Dr. Eleonore Rahimi (Institutsleiterin, Max Mueller Bhavan Chennai) & Ludwig Pesch

Ludwig Pesch felt that this presented him with an opportunity to highlight the manner in which Max Mueller would have wanted the manifestations and contributions of other civilizations to be recognised, and to explore cultural achievements connecting people from different periods and places. In the event, he sought and secured the cooperation of several renowned performers and scholars, and the students of Brhaddhvani, to be Max Mueller’s guides on ‘a cultural tour’ of South India.

The celebrations began with an invocation and ended with a Musical Journey, both presented by Brhaddhvani’s students.

The morning and afternoon sessions organised at the Max Mueller Bhavan consisted of lecture demonstrations by the artists of four public programmes held at the MMB and at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium.

There were also lectures and lecdems by several eminent scholars in accordance with their chosen fields of specialisation: Dr. K.V. Ramesh (Patronage in South Indian Performing Arts: Evidence from Epigraphical Records); Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy (Harikatha Kalakshepam: A popular multicultural art in the 19th and early 20th centuries); Nirmala Paniker with her daughter and disciple, Kapila (Mohini Attam: About the research conducted at Natanakairali); P. Nanda Kumar (Dance music in Kerala: edakka with mizhavu players of the Natanakairali ensemble); Dr. Prema Nandakumar (References to South Indian Performing arts in early literature); Dr. V.V. Srivatsa (Language in Indian Art); Vidya Shankar (Sanskrit and Music); Rajkumar Bharathi (Bharatiyar’s contribution to the South Indian music repertoire); T.R. Sundaresan with Pakala Ramdas (The beauty of Yati patterns); S. Rajam with disciples and T.R. Sundaresan (Max Mueller’s great musical contemporaries in different parts of South India: Parameswara Bhagavatar, Patnam Subramania Iyer, Ponniah Pillai, Vedanayakam Pillai, and Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar).

Considering that theatre was the original performing art which also comprised dance and music to varying degrees, the first day was entirely devoted to theatre and Harikatha. The second was devoted to dance, and the third to music to reflect the evolution of these arts in their own right.

G. Venu, Founder-Director, Natanakairali (Irinjalakuda) gave the opening lecture-demonstration titled ‘Koodiyattam, the Sanskrit theatre of Kerala: Research, training and presentation in the tradition of Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar’. The story of this small, but famous cultural centre is fascinating and unique in having quietly worked with minimum resources, but successfully so, for the revival of Kerala’s traditional performance traditions over a period of 25 years, this being the silver jubilee.

Sruti, India’s premier music and dance magazine – Issue 197, February 2001

Learn more: Max Mueller (Wikipedia) >>

Gedenkfeier für Dr. Pia Srinivasan am 16. Mai 2022

Pia Srinivasan Buonomo
(Reinbek, 1. März 2020)

Um Pia’s Persönlichkeit gerecht zu werden wollen wir heute mehr als “nur” Abschied nehmen, wenn wir uns zunächst einer respektierten wie engagierten Forscherin und Förderin der indischen Musik erinnern: gemeinsam mit ihrem Ehemann Srinivasan (“Srini” für Pia und viele von uns) öffnete sie Türen, die anders verschlossen geblieben wären. | Begrüßungstext >>

“Heute ist die karnatische Musik noch in hohem Maße lebendig. Der Besuch eines Konzertes gehört zu den zentralen Erlebnissen eines Indienaufenthaltes. Wie immer mehr Menschen aus Asien und Europa mit ihren ganz anders gearteten Musiksystemen feststellen, kann diese Musik leicht auch solchen, die zu ihr erst sekundär Zugang finden, zu einem nicht unwesentlichen Lebensinhalt werden.” – Begleittext von Pia Srinivasan für die preisgekrönte Schallplattenaufnahme Sambho Mahadeva Vina/South India (Live Aufnahme mit Rajeswari Padmanabhan & Karaikudi Subramanian)

Tribute to Pia Srinivasan – vocal, vina and tambura
Tamil song by Sreevidhya Chandramouli & Chandramouli Narayanan

“Im Westen aufgewachsen ging Pia auf eine musikalische Reise, die sie zur südindischen Musik führte. Auf bewundernswerte Weise gelang es ihr, zugleich Freundin, Schwester und Schülerin von Rajeswari – Interpretin der Karaikudi Lautentradition – zu sein. Ihre Musik studierte und förderte sie. Gemeinsam mit Srinivasan stellte sie sich zugleich in den Dienst großer Anliegen unserer Zeit.”

“Blossoming from the West, she embarked on a journey to spotlight us. Attracted by South Indian music, Pia came in search of our Karaikudi Veena. Among a thousand women is the only Pia, a friend as well as sister of Rajeswari, seer of history, and student of the crown jewel–Goddess Sarasvati who is the Queen of Veena … and with Srinivasan was dedicated to serving the world” – Tribute to Pia Srinivasan by Chandramouli Narayanan tuned by Sreevidhya Chandramouli >>

Pia Srinivasan mit Rajeswari Padmanabhan & SA Srinivasan
Kumudam (Tamil Zeitschrift, 1969) | Nachruf >>

Musik zum Nachhören (Auszüge)

1. Sankarabharana Raga (Alapana, Tanam)
Rajeswari Padmanabhan & Karaikudi S Subramanian – Vina, Tanjore Upendran – Mridangam – CD Sambho Mahadeva Vina/South India (Juni 1975 live in Berlin)
2. Sobhillu Saptasvara – Tyagaraja kriti – Jaganmohini – Adi Tala
“O Mind! Praise the divine forms of the seven musical notes”
Rajeswari Padmanabhan & Karaikudi S Subramanian – Vina, Tanjore Upendran – Mridangam – CD Sambho Mahadeva Vina/South India (live in Berlin, Juni 1975)
Vina-Lehrerin Rajeswari Padmanabhan (Kalakshetra 1999) © Ludwig Pesch
3. Pia Srinivasan – Vina, TR Sundaresan – Ghatam (Auszug 0:46, Konzert in Wentorf)
Pia Srinivasan in Reinbek
4. Lied gesungen von der Sangitam Gruppe geleitet von Pia Srinivasan mit TR Sundaresan – Kanjira (Auszug 1:33, Konzert in Wentorf)
5. Pallavi komponiert von TR Sundaresan als Tribut an Pia Srinivasan und SA Srinivasan
Srīnivāsa Pia Priyāya Namaste – Sangīta Sāhitya Rasika
Hamsānandi Raga – Catusra Jati Triputa Tala (Atita eduppu)

Wir erinnern uns voller Liebe an Pia und Srinivasan, herausragende Kenner und Förderer der klassischen Musik und Literatur.

“Let us pay homage to Pia and Srinivasan whom we remember fondly for their support of music and learning “

6. Ranjani Mala composed by T Sankara Iyer, gesungen von DK Jayaraman 
“O procuress of happiness, with lotus-soft eyes, soft-spoken one, procuress of delight to the mind, who mothered the god of love, You the one to purify all and everything” (translated by SA Srinivasan)

“Oggi abbiamo cominciato un pezzo in un altro raga, Ranjani, che mi era piaciuto molto in un concerto. […] Suoniamo e ripetiamo il pezzo nel raga Ranjani […] Fuori intanto continua a diluviare: sarà il monsone che arriva con ritardo o dipende dal raga Ranjani? Che sia un malai raga (un raga che porta la pioggia)? Rajeswari dice di no.”

Heute übten wir ein neues Stück im Raga Ranjani, der mir während eines Konzerts gut gefallen hatte. Als es stark zu regnen begann, fragte ich Rajeswari, ob der verspätete Monsun von diesem Raga abhinge, er somit als Regen-Raga gelte. Sie sagte ‘nein’.”– Pia Srinivasan in ihren memoiren Il raga che porta la pioggia

7. Sudhamayee – Muthiah Bhagavatar Kriti – Amritavarshini Raga – Rupaka Tala
Seetha Doraiswamy, Jalatarangam

“One who is the source of the immortality nectar, priya- loved, kamini- who is loved, aananda- bliss, joy, amritha- nectar of immortality, varshini- who showers, rains” – Translation on

Reviews and feedback for
Il raga che porta la pioggia >>
Paola Buonomo liest Auszüge aus den italienischen Memoiren von Pia Srinivasan: Il raga che porta la pioggia (Aufnahme: Ludwig Pesch 16.05.2022)

Tribute für Pia Srinivasan

Photo gallery for sharing freely: Remembrance by Paola Buonomo (Naples) >>

Familienbeitrag Wolfgang Thies

Pia und Srini waren wir jahrzehntelang verbunden. Was wir an ihnen schätzten, lässt sich nicht mit wenigen Worten umreißen. Offenheit, freundliche Zu­ge­wandt­heit, menschliche Wärme, Achtsamkeit, Bildung, Liebe zur Musik, geistige Regsamkeit bis ins hohe Alter, ihre Treue zueinander – das sind nur einige Stichworte. Unsere Begegnungen mit Pia und Srini haben uns jedesmal bereichert. Durch Pia lernten wir klassische indische Musik kennen, und bei einem Besuch in Reinbek bekamen unsere beiden damals noch jugendlichen Töchter eine kurze Einweisung an der Tambura. Zu der Zeit wohnten wir schon in Bayern, und bei unseren Kontakten per E-Mail und Telefon war die Entwicklung unserer Kinder immer ein wichtiges Thema für Pia. Unsere ältere Tochter schrieb, dass sie Pias ansteckende Begeisterung für die indische Musik, ihre Freude am Gesang, ihre herzliche und aufgeschlossene Art, ihre Gastfreundschaft, Energie und Lebensfreude sehr bildhaft in Erinnerung habe, und die jüngere Tochter bekräftigt dies. Wir sind dankbar dafür, dass wir Pia und Srini kennengelernt haben und über so lange Zeit mit ihnen in Kontakt waren. Uns bleiben wertvolle Erinnerungen an zwei liebenswerte Menschen.

Mein Bruder schrieb mir über Pia: vor meinen Augen sehe ich sie immer noch zu Zeiten des Altonaer Konzerts von Rajeswari Padmanabhan, an das ich mich immer gern erinnere. Die Welt wird wieder ein kleines Stück ärmer, wenn liebe Menschen, die das Leben eine lange Zeit begleitet und bereichert haben, sie verlassen.

“I will miss her presence in my life a lot.” – Eminent Carnatic vocalist Kiranavali Vidyasankar

Kalakshetra Beach in Chennai (ca. 1974-1975) © Carol Reck

“Pia and Srini were both very dear to us over the decades since we met in the late 60s in Madras. We’ve shared some good times, experiences and lots of music together.” – Carol Reck also speaking on behalf of her late husband, Prof. David Reck (Amherst University)

Day places its golden veena
In the silent hands of the stars,
To be tuned to Eternity’s raga

Rabindranath Tagore: The Jewel That is Best
by William Radice (2011)

Book release & Foreword: “Arangilum Munnilum Pinnilum” – Gopal Venu and Kerala’s thriving performing arts

Foreword to Gopal Venu’s new book in Malayalam, titled Arangilum Munnilum Pinnilum; shared by Vinod Kumar (Chennai/Dubai) during the book release online event held on 16 November 2021: an opportunity to reflect on shared cultural roots, values and an association spanning several generations via both, the author’s parents and those of the present writer. In short, one of those rare occasions when light may be shed on the role played by renowned performers and teachers whose contributions to artistic life and training have stood the test of time for all to see and enjoy:

Photo © Natanakairali

The distilling of art education, sharing of knowledge and dissemination of a timeless tradition is best evidenced in Shri Venu’s work on his now legendary ‘Navarasa Sadhana’ workshops that are now attended by dancers, theatre artists, writers, actors, rasikas and even simple folk who carry a deep interest in the art of abhinaya.

Learn more: “Navarasa Sadhana: A system of acting methodology for actors and dancers” by Gopal Venu on, India’s Gateway to the World of Dance >>

Inquiries on Navarasa Sadhana workshops:

Ludwig Pesch – reviews & testimonials

“Your collaboration is, I think, an inspiration to many. The presentation you both gave was the highlight of the conference for me. Fascinating discussion afterwards.” – Paul Christiansen (School of Music, University of Southern Maine); on the paper and lecture recital presented by Manickam Yogeswaran and Ludwig Pesch at the International Congress Music | Musics. Structures and Processes (Goettingen University 2012)

“Excellent concert by German flautist – The Carnatic flute recital by Ludwig Pesch was a feast for the ears of music lovers. ” – MATHRUBHUMI: The National Daily in Malayalam

“An eloquent demonstration of the universal fact that music transcendents cultural and linguistic barriers … Pesch impressively delivered choicest numbers strictly adhering to the tenets of classicism” – INDIAN EXPRESS, Cochin

“Pesch presented an incredibly beautiful and inspired solo improvization.” -BERLINSKE TYDINGE, Copenhagen

L Pesch flute

“Carnatic music appeals in a direct manner and is also characterized by a degree of playfulness. Through its crisp and concentrated compositions, Pesch created melodies that reached one’s heart … altogether a splendid introduction to a music that deserves to be known much more widely.” – EINDHOVENS DAGBLAD; The Netherlands

“Both types of listeners – those new to classical Indian music and arts as well as connoisseurs – benefitted by way of inspiration, new insights and a high degree of aesthetic pleasure …. with his bamboe flute, Ludwig Pesch demonstrated everything he had earlier conveyed theoretically.” – KIELER NACHRICHTEN

“The flute player from the land of Beethoven … treated an audience of Trichur’s music lovers to a rare feast of music.” – DEEPIKA (Malayalam Daily), Trichur

“A rare evening of pure music.” – MALAYALAM MANORAMA (Malayalam), Cochin

“Captivating and chaste rendition … an active cultural ambassador … and a golden link with the West.” – ANOTHER GARLAND: A Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers and Musicians; Chennai, 1993

Book reviews >>