About Department of Music

The Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi, we are proud to look at the Fifty years of effectuating the strategies of adapting our classical music from the traditional Gurukul system to that of the university system. The conceptual foundation was laid by Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, the famous economist and former Education Minister, who was also the Vice Chancellor of this university at the time of its inception. With the aid of an endowment fund from Sir Shankar Lal Foundation, the Department of Music, University of Delhi, was instituted in the year 1960. Translating the concept into reality was commenced by the pioneers Prof. R.L.Roy, Shri C.S. Pant, Shri Pran Nath, Prof. V.V. Sadagopan, Smt.Ambujam, Shri Debu Chaudhuri and Shri V.K.Aggarwal, along with staff artistes Shri Chhamma Khan, Shri Faqir Chand and Shri Ram Swaroop.

Started with a modest batch of twelve students of Hindustani and Karnatak Music, both Vocal and Instrumental (Hindustani Music), the department was initially situated at the Barracks at the back side of Miranda House. Since then, it has expanded to over four hundred and fifty students at its current location at Mall Road. During this period, the two main disciplines of music in India, viz, Hindustani and Karnatak, have grown parallel to each other in this department. With the passage of time, other courses were introduced, andat present, the Faculty offers B.A. (Hons.), M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Sangeet Shiromani (Diploma Course), One Year Certificate Course,Two Year Diploma in Harmonium,Advance and Short-term courses.

With strength of thirty two teachers and contribution of noted personalities, artistes and music lovers, the Department has seen many fruitful and prosperous years with rapid development. Equal emphasis is being laid on both theoretical knowledge and practical orientation. Music being a performing art, emphasis is laid upon Oral Tradition within classroom teaching. Noted experts are being invited regularly to share their knowledge with the students. We have the proud privilege of having some reputed artistes in our Faculty, who have been a guiding force for our students. No wonder, quite a few of our alumni are performing artistes with Radio and TV grading, while others are placed in eminent positions in various universities, colleges and many government and private organizations.

One salient feature of the infrastructure of this Faculty is its vast and well-equipped library with several wings. The reading and lending section of the library has more than 25,000 books, some of them are very old and rare, providing for valuable source material for regular as well as research oriented study. The Braille section for the visually challenged has a vast collection of books and relevant material transcribed into Braille and talking books. Such students are provided with CDs of these books free of cost. The audio section has a listening room and lending facilities for over 22,000 cassettes, CDs and records. Students are encouraged to listen more and more, so as to absorb the finer nuances of this great art form. Apart from this a separate Computer section with internet connection, printers, e-books and e-material facilities has been set up for the benefit of the teachers and research scholars. While developing the deep-rooted base for Indian classical music, the main aim of this section is to encourage everyone to be acquainted with growth, development and research of music worldwide.

The Faculty opened a museum, which shall display old and rare instruments with their history so as to provide a valuable source of data for researchers. At present, the studio is in the process of being upgraded with archival sections, where priceless archival music of stalwarts and connoisseurs of music, recorded earlier at the Faculty, shall be made available to students and teachers.

The Faculty is proud to have had on its rolls, students from not just India, but also from abroad, such as the U.S.A., Japan, China, Mauritius, Thailand, Iran, the Netherlands, Kuwait, South Korea and Fiji, as also from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The Faculty also enjoys the distinct achievement of regularly (conducting short-term courses for the students of the Soka University (Japan) and UCLA(the U.S.A.) as the MOU has been signed in the University of Delhi. There has also been an exchange programme with the Thummasat University (Thailand). In this sense, the Faculty can rightly claim to have attained a unique status vis-à-vis expanding the horizons of Indian classical music far outside of our borders. As the saying goes, music has no boundaries!

Music being foremost, a practical art, special attention and continuous stress is laid on achieving excellence in performance, not only amongst the students, but also upon the teachers as well. In order to orient them with the fine art and nuances of performance, the Faculty organizes concerts from time to time, where teachers and students alike are given a platform to display the richness of their talent in the league and company of national-level artistes, who are invited to perform. One of the prime concerts organized every year is the which celebrates the spirit of the rainy season with varieties of Malhar. A regular forum for concerts, Lecture-cum-demonstrations and workshops, gives a vast variety of programmes both in Hindustani Music,Karnatak Music and Percussion Music. Supportive teaching and interaction with experts through enhance the regular classroom teaching programmes.

The Department also celebrates the annual festival with zeal and vigour, which is well attended by renowned artistes, scholars and the university community. After seeking the blessings of Ma Saraswati in traditional puja, toppers of Inter class competitions, teachers and staff artistes pay homage to the goddess of learning and knowledge Ma Saraswati through seasonal ragas, depicting shades, essence and fragrance of the spring.

The Faculty lays stress that the students, upon entering the field of career-making, should be adept at the theoretical aspect of music as well as the practical side. Keeping this in mind, the Faculty organizes National/International level seminars under the Special Assistance Programme of the U.G.C., and sometimes in collaborations with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (I.C.C.R.) or the Sangeet Natak Akademi, as the case may be. This year, for the first time, an International seminar had been organized for the benefit of students, teachers and music lovers, thus widening the horizons of music at the global level. The Faculty is indeed privileged to have had over the years, some illustrious names in the field of music as panelists, such as Padma Bhushan awardees Pt. Debu Chaudhuri, Prof. S.K. Saxena, Vidushi Shanno Khurana, Vidushi Kapila Vatsyayan, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Sangeet Natak Akademi awardees Pt. L.K. Pandit, Vidwan T.R. Subramanyam, and many others. They have shared with us all, the wealth of their knowledge and experiences, which have greatly benefitted one and all in the Faculty. The Faculty also brings out the annual journal Started in 1986, the journal has completed a glorious journey of 25 long and musically enriching years. The journal is a treasure house of knowledge, which encourages scholastic outpouring of information and innovative ideas in the field of research in music. It publishes research papers and articles contributed by eminent musicologists, teachers and research scholars both from the department and other institutes in India.

Admission in the Department of Music, University of Delhi, is a truly unique experience for the students. This is because on one hand, the students pursue their concurrent courses and qualifying subjects in the college where they secure their admission. On the other hand, the students also learn classical music from a different institute, and hence a new environment in the form of the Department of Music. Thus, the students can enjoy the twin experiences of studying in a regular college, as also learning music from a traditional institute.