|Aditya Prasad Mathur
Early Years: Aditya was born on July 30, 1948 in the city of Mathura located in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His early schooling, from 1953 until 1965, took place in Mathura, Jabalpur, and Calcutta. He liked listening to music and often composed parodies for the entertainment of his friends. He won a few prizes from Benji-League in the children's category for writing original short stories. Much to the disliking of his father, he spent more time playing cricket with his friends than studying for examinations or completing home work. Only two of his early poems have survived. These were written by Aditya in 1965 during a winter camp of the National Cadet Core (NCC). One of these poems was perhaps written in collaboration with his close friend Ashwini Agrawal. There is no record of his early parodies.
College Education: Aditya received his college education from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (known as BITS) located in Pilani in the state of Rajasthan. He acquired his Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in 1970, 1972, and 1977, respectively, in Electrical Engineering. In 1973, with a few colleagues at BITS, he established the second Computer Science department in India. From 1983 until 1985 he was the head of this department. In 1985 he moved to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, USA. In 1987 he joined Purdue University located in West Lafayette in the state of Indiana. He is now a Professor in the Department of Computer Science.
There is no record of any artistic activity by Aditya from his college days. Programming computers and playing Table Tennis occupied most of his time. He maintained a deep interest in Indian popular music and would see films several times over for the sake of listening to his favorite songs. Interestingly, sometime during the years 1973-75, a co-worker in the Computer Science department asked Aditya and other colleagues to fill out a questionnaire. Based on the answers given this co-worker wondered: "How come you are in Computer Science? You should have been an artist!"
Family: Aditya is the eldest amongst four brothers and one sister. He is married to Jyoti. Jyoti is educated in Mathematics and Computer Science. She has 10 years of training in Sitar performance. Jyoti and Aditya have two children. Daughter Gitanjali is an exceptionally gifted singer of Indian and Western music and hopes that some day she will perform at the Carnegie Hall. Son Ravishankar is an aspiring Engineer cum Computer Scientist. He is a very good violin player and has an excellent ear for music.
Music training and early compositions: Aditya had no musical training until 1989 when he began taking Piano lessons from Verna Abe. He also learned Music Theory from Professor Helen Brown at Purdue University. He took to music composition in 1989. His first major work was an arrangement of a folk melody from India into a piece in three movements. Almost at the same time he wrote and set to music a Bye Bye Song for his niece and nephew visiting the family over Christmas. He wrote music using the Delux Music Construction Set (DMCS) by Electronic Arts on an Amiga 2000 located in his home studio. DMCS also played back the music via MIDI and his first synth module...the Roland Sound Canvas (SC55). Subsequently, Aditya expanded his studio to add more electronic devices and replaced the Amiga by a Mac II Ci. The Ci was replaced by an Si and so on until a dual processor G4 based Mac. On the Mac Aditya uses Finale 2002 to notate his music. He has a lot of music on his mind.; notating it is Aditya's way of getting it out into the world.
Aditya's musical style and later compositions: Aditya's music is usually a blend of elements of Indian and Western classical styles and instruments. For example, Polymodal Fun on a Fibonacci Pyramid, uses North Indian modes Khamaaj and Todi in a simulteneous rendition of two supporting melodies. This composition also changes time signatures...from 4/4 to (3+2+2)/8 and back to 4/4. Birthday Wishes for an Aspiring Trumpeter, uses Strings and the Indian Tabla drums. The Welcome Song combines the Indian Sitar with the traditionally Western Strings, French Horn, and Tuba to accompany a melody in the North Indian Raga Yaman Kalyan. A Little Fantasy written for solo piano was inspired by a North Indian classical melody in Raga Bhopali. The melody in the third movement of Variations on a Theme from Brazil changes from major mode to the North Indian mode Bhairavi and then back to major. The song In the Bright Summer Morning uses Bhairav, a morning Raga. Mhari Gayyan Khul Khul Jaye uses a variety of western isntruments to accompany a rustic melody switching between the North Indian modes Bilaval, Kalyan, and Bhairavi. Mode switching between Kalyan and Bhairavi also takes place in Rondo for Violin and Tabla.
Aditya's songs: Writing text and setting it to music is perhaps where Aditya excels. Given a situation, he can rapidly write text to depict that situation and simulateneously set it to music. He can also quickly set any existing text to music. He has over a dozen songs composed but never written out fully for lack of time. Records of these songs can be found in his music diaries. Though his spontaneous compositions are usually in Raga Yaman Kalyan, he has used Bageshwari, Bhairav, Bhairavi, Bilaval, Malkauns, and Shivranjani to compose fine melodies.
Aditya's poetry: This is Aditya's second love...next only to music composition. He has been writing poetry since an early age. The earliest poem that survives was written in 1965 in a winter camp perhaps in collaboration with a close friend. Aditya writes text as plain poem or as text for a song. When he writes text for a song, the melody and text usually develop almost simultaneously. Like his music, Aditya's poetry is inspired by people, events, and nature.
Publications and performances: None of Aditya's music has ever been published. In fact it has never been submitted for publication! Aditya publishes his own music under the label Sa Music. His music has been performed live or synthesized on several occasions at home, in classrooms, or during public events but never at a state or national level. The National Library of Poetry published Aditya's poem titled "Inside a book of poems for my daughter." Three of his poems can be found at www.poetry.com.
Source of inspiration: Events such as a birthday or a wedding, unique works of others such as those of Bartok and Schoenberg, individuals such as a baby or a friend, beautiful music such as the theme from the first movement of Mozart's sonata in A-minor, and things in nature, form the source of Aditya's poetry and music. Mhari Gayyan Khul Khul Jaye was originally composed for a friend in India and orchetrated 13 years later for an event organized by the India Women's Association in West Lafayette. Polymodal Fun on a Fibonacci Pyramid was inspired by Bartok's use of polymodality. Birthday Wishes for an Aspiring Trumpeter was a present to his son on his sixteenth birthday. The Bhairavi portion of Variations on a Theme from Brazil was inspired by the cruel treatment of the Brazilian birds Aditya witnessed while crossing the Brazil-Paraguay border. Theme and Variations for Sitar and Tabla was inspired by the theme from the first movement of Mozart's sonata in A-minor (K331).
Aditya's musical favorites: Indian or Western classical, National or International, Pop or classical, slow or fast, modern or old, Aria or Opera, Rap or non-Rap, Aditya likes music, music performances, and music performers of all kinds. Of course, there are exceptions, but rather insignificant ones! Amongst many others, Mozart is his favorite composer in the Western classical genre. Saint Thyagaraja is his favorite composer in the South Indian classical genre. Lata Mangeshkar is his favorite singer of Indian popular music. M. S. Subbulakshmi is his favorite singer of South Indian music.
Music projects of Aditya's dreams: Aditya has several dozen music projects sketched formally in his music diary or informally in his mind. These range from Dances in 51 Pentatonic Ragas to a full scale Opera that tells a story of how India once again becomes Soney Ki Chidiaya. The Opera is tentatively nemed Return of the Golden Bird (Soney Ki Chidiya Ki Vapasi). Aditya has requested the Gods to provide him with at least one full lifetime of 100 years devoted to music alone. While this major request is being considered seriously by the Gods in the heavens, he has sent in a minor request that he be able to fully devote the remaining time in his current life to music. Needless to say, there is strong opposition to this request from several quarters!!
Last update: June 18, 2005