Carnatic music has lost a luminary in the demise of Dr. S.A.K. Durga. Founder of the Centre for Ethnomusicology in Chennai, Durga encouraged studies in this area, leading the way as a researcher and musicologist.

S.A.K. DurgaDurga was research advisor for many a student of doctoral studies in the field of music and contributed to the training of performing musicians in the correct usage of their voice through workshops and training sessions. She learnt music from giants like Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Madurai Mani Iyer and T. Viswanathan.

In the 1960s she came under the tutelage of flautist T. Viswanathan from the Dhanammal family who was a reader and the head of the music department at the University of Madras. He encouraged Durga to study further the subject of effective usage of the voice for Carnatic music, and she pursued post graduate studies in voice culture. Her paper “Voice, Abuse and Misuse” was adjudged the best at the International Institute in Experimental Singing in Denver, Colorado. She then studied laryngology and physiology under ENT specialists Dr. Venkataraman and Dr. Ramaswamy and obtained her doctorate in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. She presented a paper based on a comparative study of Gregorian and Vedic chants and Tevaram as part of her post-doctoral research paper at Yale University… read more