ITC’s association with music began with the ITC Sangeet Sammelan conducted in Delhi in 1971. This Sammelan also instituted a substantial cash award to be given to one of the oldest living musicians of stature. The Sammelan took Delhi by storm and went on to become an annual rage. Consistently featuring the reigning monarchs of the music world, this annual Sammelan changed the culture-scape of the capital of the country.

ITC Pioneers Corporate Patronage of Music

ITC then pioneered the corporate patronage of Hindustani classical music, an integral part of Indian classical music, which was suffering from the withdrawal of royal support. Corporate patronage of music on this scale was unknown before.

During the mid-seventies, ITC’s top management envisioned that the Company could play a major role to preserve and propagate the rich Indian musical heritage. Bearing in mind that there were several futile attempts to build gurukuls of music during the last 50 years, ITC aspired to go beyond merely nurturing and propagating the priceless tradition of Hindustani Classical Music. In creating ITCSRA, ITC’s farsighted endeavour was to establish a modern ‘Gurukul’ and revive the traditional ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’.

ITCSRA was created in 1977 as an independent Public Charitable Trust. It was modelled as an institution to epitomise the best of Hindustani Classical Music. There was also a clear understanding that it would never seek any monetary help from the government and that it would be professionally run.

The combined wisdom of our Board of Trustees helps the Academy formulate its policies and take the best decisions for its progress. It ensures institutional effectiveness through professional management of the organisation. The present Board comprises Sanjiv Puri, Chairman of ITC Group; Nazeeb Arif, Amitav Mukherji, A.S. Sundaram and Saradindu Dutta who is the Executive Director of ITCSRA.

The Evolution of Indian Music

Sitar, sarod, tabla, sarangi or dhrupad, khayal, ghazal or raga, tala, gharana- these are known the world over today. They represent Hindustani Art Music – in reality, a part of Indian Classical music.

Indian music has developed through very complex interactions between different peoples of different races and cultures over several thousand years. In a musical tradition in which improvisation predominates, and written notation, when used, is skeletal, the music of past generations is irrevocably lost.

However, references to music in ancient texts, aesthetic formulations, and depictions and written discussions of musical instruments can offer clues. In rare instances an ancient musical style may be preserved in an unbroken oral tradition. For example, musical notes or the structure of a raga, as we know them today, must have had their origins in the Samavedic times.

For most historical eras and styles, surviving treatises explaining musical scales and modes, provide a particularly important means of recapturing at least a suggestion of the music of former times. Tracing the musical theory of the past makes clear the position of the present musical system.

The Cronology

For any discussion of cultural matters pertaining to India the following rough chronological sequence or historical periodization is useful.

2500 BC - 1500 BC

Indus Valley Civilization

1500 BC - 500 BC

Vedic Civilization

500BC - 200BC

Ramayana and Music

200 BC - 300 AD

Harivamsha, Chhalikya and Hallisaka

300 AD - 600 AD

Indus Valley Civilization

600 AD - 1200 AD

Delhi in Music

1200 AD - 1700 AD

Delhi Sultanate

1700 AD Onwards

Modern Period

Our Vision

To nurture and propagate the priceless heritage of Indian Classical music, beginning with Hindustani Classical Music, through the tradition of ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’.
Late Mr. A.N. Haksar

Late Mr. A.N. Haksar

Founder, ITCSRA

Pandit V.K. Kichlu

Pandit V.K. Kichlu

1st Executive Director, ITCSRA

Aims & Objective

In choosing classical music as an area of its social responsibility, ITC has played an important role in the resurgence and nurturing of this rich heritage. The three basic objectives of ITC-SRA are:

  • Creation of an effective training system.
  • To rationalise traditional data with the help of modern research methods and technology.
  • Preservation and propagation of music.

ITCSRA has provided security and the comforts of a home for both guru and scholar. Its training system is essentially the Guru-Shishya Parampara with suitable contemporary inputs.

The quality of the average listener plays a vital role in the development of music. In the current Indian classical music scenario, where the audience has assumed the role of the most decisive patron, the task of nourishing a solid base of high quality listeners has become a critical factor for the survival of the best values in music.

ITCSRA has undertaken the task of creating a variety of platforms all over our country and abroad, which attempt

  • To take high quality music systematically to areas and sections of the population who otherwise do not enjoy access to it.
  • To cater to specialised audience needs and create connoisseurs of music by changing the conventional conference mould and creating new thematic profiles.
  • To commemorate those veterans and doyens of classical music whose pursuit of music as a form of knowledge has enabled us to establish and perpetuate a community of shared values.

Realising the ITCSRA Vision

The responsibility to implement the visionary project was taken on by Pandit Vijay Kichlu, a reputed gharane-dar musician with a national cultural stature and with 23 years of managerial experience.
Vijay Kichlu

Vijay Kichlu

ITCSRA’s First Executive Director

ITCSRA Focuses on Vocal Music

ITCSRA initially devoted itself solely to training in Hindustani vocal music, acknowledged as the source of all learning in “shastriya sangeet”. The initial focus had to be on vocal music to preserve and nurture the pristine purity of whatever was left of traditional Hindustani Classical Music.

The thinning down of the royal patronage of traditional Hindustani Classical Music had imperceptibly diluted this invaluable musical heritage. In the late Seventies, very few masters who had learnt music the classical way were left. More and more musicians had begun to sacrifice the truly classical at the altar of personal popularity.

Among the luminaries in the world of Hindustani Classical music who readily identified themselves with the ITCSRA cause were, Nissar Hussain Khan (Sahaswan Gharana), Hirabai Barodekar (Kirana Gharana), Ishtiaq Hussain Khan (Rampur Gharana), Nivrittibua Sarnaik (Atrauli-Jaipur Gharana), Girija Devi (Benaras Gharana), Latafat Hussain Khan (Agra Gharana) . All of them happily settled down in Kolkata and helped to create an institution epitomising the Guru-Shishya Parampara.

A. Kanan and Malabika Kanan joined in 1979.

Hirabai Barodekar

Hirabai Barodekar

Nissar Hussain Khan

Nissar Hussain Khan

Nivrittubua Sarnaik

Nivrittubua Sarnaik

Ishtiaq Hussain Khan

Ishtiaq Hussain Khan

Girija Devi

Girija Devi

Latafat Hussain Khan

Latafat Hussain Khan

ITCSRA Introduces Instrumental Music Teaching

Eventually, the Academy turned its attention to Hindustani Classical instrumental music as well and on March 1, 2002, the Instrumental Division was introduced. It was headed by Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, the eminent sarod maestro, who was associated with ITCSRA for many years as a member of its Expert Committee.

Libraries, Archives, and Studios

At the heart of ITCSRA’s commitment to music education and research lies its comprehensive library and archives. The central library houses an extensive collection of books and manuscripts in English, Hindi, and Bengali, preserving the rich musical heritage for generations to come. Additionally, the archives contain press clippings, photographs, and invaluable information about renowned musicians from across India.

Moreover, the Scientific Library within the institution provides a wealth of technical resources on various disciplines including Signal Processing, Acoustics, and Music Acoustics, catering to the needs of researchers and enthusiasts alike.

Notably, the music archives and sound studio at ITCSRA offer state-of-the-art recording facilities, serving as a hub for collaboration and innovation among music professionals, researchers, and students. Equipped with advanced instruments and custom software, the Acoustics Laboratory further enhances the institution’s capabilities in testing, measuring, and analyzing music and speech, ensuring a cutting-edge approach to musical exploration and experimentation.

This is a staging environment