Indian classical & folk bansuri
Master artist Radha Prasad was born and raised in Northern India, where he first taught himself to play the flute as a child. After hearing the music of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, India’s most skilled flutist, he moved to Bombay and began 18 years of rigorous and comprehensive training in the typical guru-disciple tradition of India. The training provided him with broad knowledge of Indian classical and folk music and he received a Master of Arts in Music from Pandit Chaurasia’s school, the Vrindaban Flute Institute. Prasad has toured India, the United States, and Europe with his renowned teacher. Since moving to Los Angeles, he opened his own school, teaching Indian classical instrumental and vocal music.
The Indian bamboo flute is a popular traditional wind instrument that has mythological associations with Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, one of the principal Hindu deities. Deceptively simple to the eye, when played by a master with skill and artistry, the flute emits music that is intriguing, magical, and beautiful. Even though the bansuri, or bamboo flute, is a very popular instrument in India, it is difficult to obtain good flutes that are well made and accurately tuned. With his fine ear and perfect pitch, Pandit Radha Prasad has taught himself how to make and tune his own instruments. During a single concert, he may use many different flutes, each tuned to a different scale.
In 2003, Pandit Prasad was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, with apprentice Priyank Desai. Their apprenticeship focused on expandind Priyank’s repertoire with various folk melodies and with different ragas, which are modal forms and themes that are the foundation of Indian classical music and provide the framework for improvisation. Of his sessions with his guruji (teacher) Priyank says, “There are many different aspects. One is learning the raga. Then the other is you should be able to pick up what he is playing. Initially, what the guruji will do is make us write exactly what we are supposed to play…. As you learn, you reach a stage when you can just follow him. So whatever he plays, you can actually decipher the notes…. And then you can just follow him…. The main thing that you learn is how to be more creative so that you can improvise more and not repeat the same thing that you are playing.”
Sounds of L.A., Getty Museum (Los Angeles, CA), 2002, 2000
Indian Classical and Folk Music on Bamboo Flute, Radha Prasad School of Music, October 2003, Supported by Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Performs regularly for the local Indian community
The Durfee Foundation Master Musician Fellowship, 2004-2005
ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program Master Artist, 2003
The Durfee Foundation Master Musician Fellow, 2000-2002
Workshops at University of Southern California Ethnomusicology Department
Private Instruction, More than 25 years experience
Radha Prasad School of Music, One-on-one instruction, 2000-2005
Teaching or mentorships
Educational presentations to schools or community organizations