RajaRao, The Guru

A Popular Teacher

Over the years, Raja Rao had groomed numerous dedicated disciples. Notable amongst them were Ratnagiri Subbashastri, T N Ramachandra Rao, B R Anantha Ramaiah (all violinists); Krishnamurthy and younger Brother L Seshagiri Rao (Veena), C V NagaRaj (vocal and violin), Kolattur RamaKrishna Shastry, C K ShankaraNarayana Rao, Malathi, Shyamala Rathnam, Jaya Doreswamy, Vasantha Venugopal, Rajamani NagarajaRao are all senior artistes of repute. The founders of famed Prabhat Kalavidaru of Bangalore, Gopinatha Dasa and Jayasimha Dasa were disciples of Raja Rao.  From among the next generation, daughter Veena Kinhal (now settled in California), Vijaya Prabhakar (Arizona) and Suma Sudhindra are notable Veena Vidushis.  

Raja Rao was invited to set up the music department of A P S College in Bangalore (1957) where he continued to teach and train many students for the next 15 years. Vidushis Tara Krishnamurthy (Veena), Vasantha Madhavi and others belong to this group.

Raja Rao was a highly respected speaker and was a common feature of musical discussions, lecture demonstrations and music conferences across the state.  

Raja Rao was chosen President for the Fourth Music conference of Karnataka GanaKala Parishat (1974). In 1979, Raja Rao was chosen President for the state level music conference organized by Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy.

Raja Rao was entrusted a special project to teach Carnatic music to a batch of American university students who came to Bangalore in the early 1970s.

Any biography of Raja Rao would be incomplete without mentioning Raja Rao, the actor in the role of Bheema in the famed play GadaYuddha (United artists, 1952).  Writer C K Nagaraja Rao had played the role of Duryodhana.

Popular and respected among fellow musicians, Raja Rao was active in founding and promoting organizations like Karnataka GanaKala Parishat. His close association with Kannada Sahitya Parishat and D V G’s Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs is legendary.