North Indian art music, popularly called Hindustani classical music, is a formalised musical system having its roots in very ancient times. It is almost wholly improvised within a set of strict theoretical rules. As such, it challenges both performer and listener, simultaneously appealing as it does to both head and heart. It is deeply spiritual, meditative, introspective and elevating on the one hand and highly entertaining, too, on the other.
Acharya (or Prof.) Dr. Chintamani Rath, who holds a Ph.D. in Hindustani music from Rabindra Bharati University of Calcutta, India, is a renowned and respected scholar-musician. A superb violinist equally at home in Indian as well as western classical music, he has enthralled audiences all over India, Nepal, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Australia and New Zealand with his consummate wizardry over the instrument based upon a solidly traditional approach coupled with innovative and highly sensitive musical imagination.
These traits make his recitals an awesome and memorable experience. He has performed before such distinguished personages as H.E. the President of India, H.E. the Governor of West Bengal, H.H. Pope John Paul II, and others. On invitation, he performed at the London School of Economics and at the British Council headquarters at London in 1998. While on tour in the UK in October 1999, he performed at many charity concerts to raise funds for victims of the sudden and devastating cyclone and floods in his home state of Orissa in India.
Dr. Rath is also a composer (some of his compositions are detailed below), teacher and reputed musicologist with several publications on music, both for the technical student and for the layman. His fluent communicative skills make him a much-sought-after lecturer and resource person in seminars, symposia, workshops and similar exercises. A "practical" or "applied" theoretician, Dr. Rath has also resurrected several ancient and medieval Ragas from musicological texts and successfully performed them on the concert stage. Similarly, he has performed different Alap styles that are not in common vogue any longer.
The violin is Dr. Rath's main instrument. However, he also plays Indian music on other bowed stringed instruments, like the viola and, to some extent, the violoncello. Among Indian bowed stringed instruments, he is adept on the Esraj, which he plays, on occasion, on the concert stage. He can also handle Tabla, Pakhavaj and Harmonium. He has occasionally accompanied Prof. Basavi Mukerji on the violin, the Tabla or the Harmonium in concerts; a sample of his Tabla playing can be heard in the Tarana clip (Raga Tilak Kamod) in Prof. Mukerji's page in this website. There is more about the instruments mentioned here in the pictures page of this website.
Examples of Dr Rath's playing of the Esraj, the Tabla, the Pakhavaj, as also of the use of his voice, may be heard in the several tracks of the CDs "Kaleidoscope of CROWL" and "Ten Strings on Fire". See the "Audio CDs" section of the publications page of this website.
Apart from music, Dr. Rath has several wide-ranging interests, covering diverse fields like history, classics, astronomy and telescope making, mathematics, travelling, reading, writing, cooking, etc. He enjoys cooking eastern Indian food and shares his expertise as a chef with the community by teaching eastern Indian cooking in the continuing education programme at Tauranga Boys' College (apart from his western classical music appreciation and Indian art music appreciation classes at the same institution), where his courses are hugely popular term after term. He shares his favourite recipies elsewhere on this website. His interest in travelling and Indian classical culture and his desire to share this culture with all has prompted him to organise special cultural tours to India.
Dr Chintamani Rath hails from a traditional scholarly family of the province of Orissa in eastern India. As such, he naturally imbibed Sanskrit and Brahminical traditions during his formative years. His grandfather, Gopabandhu Vidyabhushan, a stupendous and enormously respected scholar, was, among other things, the Court scholar and teacher of the King of Parlakhemundi (in Orissa) in his days. From him, Dr Rath developed a keen interest in and respect for the best in Hindu traditions, philosophy, culture and practices. This, coupled with his long years of study and association with Jesuit priests (and others of the Christian Faith) also fostered in him an interest in a study of comparative religions, which he has pursued in a private capacity.
Dr Rath's knowledge and understanding of Hindu philosophy, Sanskrit and music has enabled him to further another of his deep interests -- namely, the correct chanting of Sanskrit liturgical poetry (Stotra). He has compiled several of these in CD form, not only chanting them himself but also composing, arranging and performing all the musical background himself. His renditions of these Stotras is marked by particularly meticulous adherence to the rules of Sanskrit phonetics, resulting in correct and model pronunciation of the syllables. Click here to listen to an excerpt of his chanting the famous Shivatandavastotram of Ravana.
In September 2001, he relocated from India to New Zealand, where he has set up the GVR Centre for Indian music and Culture to disseminate and teach the essence of Indian cultural heritage and, in particular, its music. He is active in performing, lecturing and teaching at various centres in New Zealand. His sound scholarship, well developed communication skills and proficiency in both Indian and western art musical traditions make him a sought after resource person for lectures, workshops and informances. Here is a set of powerpoint slides he prepared and used in his talk on Indian music at the Tauranga campus of Waikato University.
Earlier, he was based in Calcutta, India, where he was educated by Jesuit priests and, apart from musical activities, taught law and accountancy (in each of which he holds masters degrees) at St. Xavier’s College (his own alma mater), a Jesuit college and rated among the top three institutions of higher education in India. Currently, he is based in Tauranga (as a citizen of New Zealand) and, apart from his many musical activities, also works as an investigator for the Inland Revenue Department and runs an independent business.
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A condensed CV of Acharya Dr. Chintamani Rath is given below:-
Indian classical music: In India, Nepal, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Australia, New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton, Hastings Blossom Festival at Napier).
Also on many prestigious occasions for dignitaries like
- His Excellency the President of India,
- HH Pope John Paul II,
- His Excellency the Governor of West Bengal,
- the German Consul General at Calcutta,
- for the Prime Minister of England Mr. John Major,
- the Rt. Hon’ble Virginia Bottomley MP at British Council Headquarters, London,
- in the London School of Economics, London (during its first ever International Alumni Meet in 1998), etc.
Western classical music: Calcutta Chamber Orchestra (1st violins, 2nd desk),
Tauranga Concert Orchestra (1st violins)
and many chamber recitals.
In India, England and New Zealand.
Recorded with famous musicians like John Richardson, rock star of yesteryear England and with recordists such as Nick Coler, who recorded Boy George and Cher.
CDs of Indian classical music, Indo-Celtic and Indo-rock fusions.
(click here to return to link in article above)
“Encore from Calcutta”: 14 compositions for solo violin (see the publications section of this website for more details, including preview of scores)
"A pair of Bows": 10 Duets for two violins (see the publications section of this website for more details, including preview of scores)
“The Day and the Night”: composed for Stradivaria, the renowned Baroque music group from France
“Todi Sonata”: for brass quintet
“The Seven Beat Pianoforte”: 6 compositions for pianoforte (see the publications section of this website for more details, including preview of scores)
“An International Person in Quadruple Time”: for solo horn
"First Symphony": a short two-movement work – an overture like a fanfare and the next movement based upon the Raga Lalit, both in seven beat time. Click here for the score.
… and others
manuscripts and publications:
Book: “The Evolution of Ragas”, based upon Dr. Rath's Ph.D. thesis of the same name – A study of how the concept of the Raga evolved over the centuries in response to social, political and cultural changes in India, as described in ancient and medieval Sanskrit and other music Texts.
Several technical papers as well as general articles on musicological topics, music appreciation, music education, etc.
- West Bengal State Music Academy, - Govt. of W. Bengal, Calcutta;
- IPTA School of Music, Calcutta;
- SNDT University, Mumbai;
- Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London;
- Indian Music Congress at its Calcutta, New Delhi and Bhopal sessions;
- Swati Tirunal Sangit Sabha, Trivandrum;
- All-India Oriental Conference at Baroda;
- Philomel, Calcutta;
- Tauranga Boys College, Tauranga,
- University of Waikato at Tauranga, etc.
formal institutionalised music teaching:
Postgraduate Dept. of Instrumental Music Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta (as part-time lecturer, 1985 – 1990)
- Executive Committee of the Indian Music Congress
- Executive Committee of the West Bengal State Music Academy
- Research and Publications Committee of the West Bengal State Music Academy
English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya. Currently learning Maori.
- Acted in a major role in the first New Zealand produced Indian feature film “Gupta v. Gordon” in April 2002.
- Recorded for cinema, gramophone disks, music cassettes, CDs and radio and television programmes.
- Played the violin in theatrical productions, including for “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and "The King and I", both by the Tauranga Musical Theatre.