Celebrated violinist Atulkumar Upadhye has helped in establishing violin as a complete solo-playing instrument in Indian music. He shares his remarkable journey of six decades in the musical world and the future ahead.
When did you start playing violin?
The age of my violin is 70 (Smiles). Like kids play with toys, I used to play with violin. I have been brought up in a family of violin players. I learnt from my father Prof. Balkrishna Upadhye, who learnt from Pandit Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale Gharana. I also learned the technique from the legendary Pandit Shridhar Parsekar and doyen Dr.Yehudi Menuhin. I follow the unique style of violin playing developed by these legends, which blends Gayaki Aang and Tantkari Tantra techniques which has helped in establishing violin as a complete solo-playing instrument in Indian music. We also developed the right hand technique. Violin is a western instrument, which was created 600 years back in the west. Violin was introduced in India in Karnataka 200 years back and in North India 100 years back. It will take another 50 years for violin to reach perfection in India.
What is the most fascinating aspect of violin?
The beauty of instrument is that it’s closer to the human voice. Violin is the only instrument which easily blends with other instruments. If 100 violins are playing, it gives one sound, it is not chaos.
How has been the journey?
After 60 years in music, I feel it’s just the beginning. It’s a long way to go. Till the time one doesn’t feel that they are listening to Girija Devi’s Thumri while listening to my music, I haven’t achieved much. That is the beauty of music. It’s not about one birth. I believe in one life is not enough for learning one instrument.
I have a dream of playing with piano in Indian Classical style. I have been trying my best to impart my skills to the young generation. I have been teaching from 45 years. Presently, I teach 100 students in my academy and 2000 students online.
Share your experience with the legendary Girija Devi ji?
Girija Devi ji was one of the legends of Indian Classical Music. I was very fortunate to listen to her few years back in Kolkata. It was such a wonderful experience listening to her at the age of ninety plus, it was a divine experience listening to her. I have immense respect for Girija Devi ji. I am happy and fortunate that I will be playing tribute to Girija Devi ji. I will try to play music somewhat closer to what I heard her singing on stage.
Atulkumar Upadhye will be performing to pay tribute to Girija Devi during the Purvi Sangeet Sandhya on 9th March, 2019 at Triveni Kala Sangam, Mandi House, New Delhi.