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Tribute to Dr. Pia Srinivasan

Dr. Karaikudi Subramanian and Dr. Meenakshi Subramanian salute Dr. Pia Buonomo Srinivasan (May 14, 1931 - April 8, 2022) for her respect and selfless contribution to vina and its tradition.

Passing away of Dr. Pia Buonomo Srinivasan, an Italian Ethnomusicologist married to an Indian Indologist, is a great personal loss as well as a greater loss to the deeply empathic world music community.

Pia, as we affectionately called her, was a normal human being, but with a loving heart and responsible mind to go beyond herself to contribute and nourish the Indian musical tradition and culture. If one reads her liner notes and commentary of the songs Rajeswari Padmanabhan and I played on the vina for the album Musik Für Vīṇā – Südindien Museum Collection, Berlin (1980), the reader will be awestruck. Such thoroughness for details and care is seldom found anywhere for a record album! Many universities around the world continue to use this album in the classrooms for authentic traditional vina music of South India with authentic descriptive information which won the prestigious ‘press reviewers award’, Schalplatten Kritik award. This is a remarkable achievement indeed, a great reward for her love of vina music and an enriching gift to the world music community.

Thinking about how these foreign scholars could so honestly, truly, emotionally and intellectually experience and investigate the music they had never heard before I come to realize the universality and eternity of the traditional music as well as an objectivity and a new perspective gained by their contributions. It is a humbling experience to move with such selfless music scholars! But Pia was not a mere scholar. She found immense peace in playing vina by herself and listening to it!

We feel very sad that she is no more and could not see her during the last years of her life when she had almost lost her sight and hearing. She has joined her beloved husband who left her on May 2, 2019. Our salutes to the great soul Dr. Pia B. Srinivasan. We dedicate the raga Sri she loved particularly in her memory.

Photo credits:

Brhaddhvani's archive

Museum Collection Berlin (West)


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