Inspired Interview: Aishwarya Venkataraman

Aishwarya Venkataraman

Aishu, born Aishwarya Venkataraman in Northridge, California, grew up surrounded by music and musicians on February 25, 1993, Aishu began her training in Suzuki violin at the tender age of two-and-a-half. At age four, she started learning the Carnatic or South Indian style of music under the tutelage of the eminent violin maestro T. N. Krishnan. Widely regarded as the Yehudi Menuhin of the East, Krishnan has selected and groomed Aishu to be his next protege – an honor of the highest magnitude. While continuing to play South Indian Classical Music, Aishu has most recently begun training at the famed Berklee College of Music with an emphasis on jazz performance, earning a full scholarship. She carries the unique distinction of being the youngest student accepted into this four-year college at age 13. Aishu's tonal quality, spectral purity and strong bowing technique are the hallmarks of her performance style. Her average day begins at 5 AM and includes 5 to 6 hours of practice and a whole day at school. She maintains a rigorous concert schedule and is an exceptionally talented swimmer.

Recent engagements in the 2006-7 season included a seven-concert tour of India where the Star of Mysore described her: "In Aishwarya nature seems to have treasured a worthy successor to the current four violin giants: TN Krishnan, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, Parur MS Gopalakrishnan and M Chandrashekhar. Watch her evolution with love and care." Additional highlights so far this season include performances at Arizona State University, the Historic Hoover Theater in San Jose, and the Women's Music, Art, Dance, and Word Festival. Aishu was also the featured artist during halftime of the Nets/Knicks basketball game at the prestigious Continental Airlines arena. She has also been featured on NPR's "Crossing East" series, and will be highlighted in HBO's "Music in Me" and Senses Magazine.

Aishu's debut CD, "Divine Strings" was recorded at the tender age of 9. She has most recently completed recording her newest album "Bliss" with percussion legend Vellore Ramabhadran due for commercial release this fall.

Aishu's father, Vinod (V.R.) Venkataraman, a native of Bombay, India, is a professional Mridangam (South Indian percussion drum) player and a guest lecturer at Berklee College of Music for a clinic called "The Math behind the Music." He is also a mathematics consultant and the director of the Center For Academic Excellence for the Long Beach Unified School District. Vinod has served as an integral collaborator with many legendary Indian performers including acclaimed musicians T. N. Krishnan, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Gottuvadyam Ravi Kiran, and Flutist Shri K.S. Gopalakrishnan as well as jazz greats Hubert Laws, Stephane Grapelli, Larry Coryell, Alice Coltrane, and Emil Richards. Aishu's mother Srividya Venkataraman, from Madras, India is a family physician practicing medicine in Long Beach, California.

Follow Aishu's musical journey on the web at www.divinestrings.com.

For more information, please visit divinestrings.com.

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