Localturnon is proud to present KSHITIJ MATHUR as its Artist of the Week. KSHITIJ MATHUR is a Hindustani Classical Vocalist from the Ghandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi. He has given numerous performances and his Music Avtaars have seen him in the role of Region Head & President (NOIDA) of the Sangam Kala Group, Founder Director of the Saadhyan (College of Music & Dance, Mumbai), Advisor to Savitri Kala Foundation amongst others.
Localturnon gets close and personal with KSHITIJ MATHUR to understand his journey, fav moments and message for the young budding Artists. Below are the extracts of the rendezvous. Read on!
#localturnon: What is the history to your taking up Music – how did it come into being, your journey?
Kshitij Mathur: I was exposed to Music right throughout my childhood. Whether it be local singing competitions, school fests I would be there. In fact my earliest exposure to music was courtesy my grandmother who herself was a protagonist of the Ghandharva style of Hindustani Classical Music. She had studied in Ghandharva Mahavidyalaya and in ways was my first Guru. I was so influenced by the purity of this art form, its teachings, that my journey saw me enrolling at Ghandharva Mahavidyalaya. What started out as a passion is now my profession and I am enjoying what I do.
#Localturnon: So who are your favourites/icons/role models in the field of music?
Kshitij Mathur: All those Indian Classical Musicians and Artists who devote their lives for music and taking it up as their “Saadhna” are my icons. I feel so humbled and touched when I see these artists dedicate their entire life span pursuing, perfecting that single note, working to get close to the eternal truth about our music. Its not just the “Saath Sur” but there are micro elements within each and a lifetime is not enough to say that you have mastered them all. And I admire anyone whom I see being true to this path of musical learning. But yes, If I were to call out specific names then Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Ji, Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande Ji for they compiled, spread and brought the masses, the youth, closer to our Music. Pandit Kumar Gandharva Ji for his style allowing for freedom to experiment within the bounds of traditional and Gaharana style with the preamble that our music should thrive.
#Localturnon: How do rejuvenate your creative insights / get the adrenalin going?
Kshitij Mathur: I meditate and have a bent towards spirituality as well. These are my tools to help me look within, recognise my inner self, widen my vision and somewhere yield my creative potential. I am thankful to be guided by His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji in my quest for spirituality and how to open me to myself.
#Localturnon:Does your Music carry a message / a theme or a story ..if so can you share more on it.
Kshitij Mathur: Let me put it this way. Our Music, Our culture is so vast and rich that it is indeed our fortune that we are engulfed in it. Our Gurus have shown us the path and continue to do so. They are passing this message down to the younger generation. If you have a good voice you are lucky. Yes, if you have a good sense of rhythm and swar its even better. Having a Guru who can mould you, guide you is a blessing. On top of it if one gets to be associated with an Institution then it completes the whole process. These elements are what I believe deliver the message through us. In that sense I am blessed and lucky to have been under the tutelage of Pandit Madhup Mudgal Ji. I believe that we have been taught through our Guru about purity of this music, of being humble and true to our art and this is the message that should reflect in our performances or our communication.
#Localturnon:Of all the performances you’ve given, which is your favourite one and why?
Kshitij Mathur: I have been on stage and in shows and festivals. If you ask me personally, the joy and satisfaction that I get when I am performing in front of my Guru will always remain my favourite. See, when I am in my Guru’s presence I know I am being watched, where I am deviating and where I am on track. This whole connect is what makes it special.
#Localturnon:Do you have any interesting fan stories to tell?
Kshitij Mathur: (smiling) Well, no such fan stories but yes people do come up after the performances and remark that they have heard or seen me in some earlier shows as well. Some listeners even ask if I am from the Vidyalaya or If I am Pandit Mudgal Ji’s shishya. And that feels nice and appreciated. Also when I get to hear that they see my Guru’s reflection somewhere in my style it is indeed an honour.
#Localturnon:Of all the music you’ve created, which is your favourite one and why?
Kshitij Mathur: I am still learning Music is what I can say. This field is so vast that even a lifetime is not enough to master it so creating something is still some time away for me. But yes, I do feel that when I am training youngsters in this field, the whole process of devising small snippets of pieces from our rich repository and customizing it so that the young students can grasp it, understand it and then adopt, is creative fulfillment to an extent.
#Localturnon:How has the musical journey been so far for you and what are you looking forward?
Kshitij Mathur: Every journey has its ups and downs. Same is with me. Yes, there have been all these moments but life is steady now. I am lucky to have my Guru’s blessing with me always and this is what drives me.
Yes, I also look forward to times that will see some efforts being made for our senior Artists, our Maestros. Our greats, whom we have grown up listening and have spread our traditional music far and wide deserve some return or thanks. Whether it be a pension scheme for our greats or tax relaxation for Indian Classical Music, I really feel that we need to do something to promote our art.
Our Indian Classical Music is developed, learnt after a lot of sadhana, spending time, learning the intricacies and then years and years of riyaaz. All this is kind of investment by people involved in this. It is sad that while commercial music sees a lot of funds, sponsors the true Indian art forms kind of get neglected. This is something that I look forward to being changed.
#Localturnon:Do you have any words of advice for youngsters who are thinking of getting into this line ?
Kshitij Mathur:I am a youngster myself and consider myself as learner. This is what I feel all budding classical musicians need to understand. If we can spend 12 years in school and top it up with our bachelors and masters degree why not consider learning music in the same way. Also once we are in our jobs the learning doesn’t stop. It comes with the job. Same is with music and specially with Indian Classical. Youngsters need to respect, align to the learning aspect and adopt our music for its our identity. Running after quick bucks and shows , appearances is something that they need to do a reality check.
While there will always be pressures on financial and social front to make it big, there are no shortcuts. Our eminent artists like Asha ji, Lata Ji, Rafi Sahib and even the recent ones like Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghosal, Shankar Mahadevan, all have and continue to practice, work hard and that’s why they are a success. My message to youngsters would be that Indian Music is all about tradition, respect, culture and this needs to be embraced for its ours.
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