Vidya Muthukumar

I've been really passionate about music - both Indian and Western - since I can remember. This page talks about my musical interests, and contains samples of my performances.

Indian Classical (Carnatic) Vocal

I began learning Carnatic vocal music when I was seven from my grandmother, who is well-versed in Carnatic music. I continued learning from Mrs. Asha Ramesh, a disciple of Sri. D.K. Jayaraman (DKJ), for a couple of years in the Bay Area. We moved to Bangalore, and I joined the school of Mrs. Savitha Kartik, also a disciple of DKJ, who was instrumental in encouraging my interest in Carnatic music and developing my vocal style. Some of my favorite artists are DKJ, D.K. Pattamal and G.N. Balasubramaniam from the past, and Sanjay Subrahmanyan, T.M. Krishna and Ranjani-Gayathri in the present.

I have given a few concerts over the past four years. My first concert was in the Unnati SGBS Sabha, Bangalore, where I performed for two and a half hours. Recently, I gave a performance along with fellow students from my music school. You can listen to segments of the concert here:

In my third year in college, I performed two concerts - one at the well-known Karpagam Gardens, Chennai, for one and a half hours, and one at the Thirrupugazh Sangam, Chennai, also for one and a half hours. You can listen to segments of the Karpagam Gardens concert here:

In IIT Madras itself, I have performed small concerts at the Shiva temple as part of Navarathri celebrations. I would reiterate that my voice is worth hearing, but I believe that too much of a bad joke does become a bad thing :)

Aside this, I have also participated in some competitions in Bangalore and Chennai. I won a prize at a competition organized by the Hamsadhvani Sabha, Chennai, and participated in the finals of the Kamala T. Avadhany Memorial competition in Bangalore twice. Most of all, I enjoy singing for God and for my own happiness, even if it's in a bathroom or messy hostel room.

Western Music (Piano)

Classical Piano

I began learning western classical piano when I was seven, at the Cupertino Community Center. At the age of eleven, I started learning from Mrs. Louise Pinto, a well-known piano teacher in Bangalore, who helped develop my technical skill and expression in classical piano effectively. Under her, I finished grades 4 to 8 in the Associated Board for the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations. I also got the Fewkes Memorial Trophy for excellent performance in grade 8, and performed at the beautiful St. Mark's Church as a part of the High Achievers' Concert thrice.

Ever since, I have continued to learn pieces such as Fantasie Impromptu, Pathetique Sonata and Liebestraume by myself. With questionable technique, but (hopefully) supreme musicality, I've played these pieces at my inter-hostel competition (Lit-Soc)'s Western Music (WM) solo instrumental competition. In my second year of college, I played Fantasie Impromptu for the Lit-Soc WM Solo, and I was placed third for it. You can watch the video here:

In my third year of college, I played Pathetique Sonata for WM Solo, and I was placed fifth for it. Unfortunately, this wasn't recorded. Click here for my rendition of Allegro Sonata 1A Flat by Haydn.

Performances As A Band

I got into the western music scene as soon as college started, and soon became a part of one of the IIT Madras bands, Pakoda. Our musical style was jazz, blues and funk, and I played keys for the band. We started out jamming covers and made own compositions as we progressed. Although the members' personal tastes slightly differed, we shared a common love for Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Dave Brubeck, and free food (the last one being most prominent). Some of our notable achievements as a band are:

  • First place in Mood Indigo, 2010 Acoustics competition
  • First place in The Hindu NxG Rockstar, 2011 Acoustics competition, made it to finals of main category. I won best instrumentalist and a digital piano.
  • Finals of Powerchords (Saarang 2011 college band competition)
  • Semi-finals of Chennai Live Band Hunt (semi-professional band competition organized by Chennai Live 104.8 FM)
  • A couple of live gigs
  • Radio gig for Chennai Live 104.8 FM. (To listen to twenty minutes' worth of good music and forty minutes' worth of witty conversation, click here.)

I've also been a part of my hostel band, which has been different every year. As part of the band, we placed second in Lit-Soc WM Group, 2011, first in Lit-Soc WM Group, 2012, and third in Lit-Soc WM Group, 2013. I won the best keyboardist award in all three years.