Vaishnavi Kondapalli, classical musician and software technologist: working hard not to be a perfectionist
BOSTON-Vaishnavi Kondapalli is a talented musician with a rich voice and good vocal range. His musical journey began at a very young age with his mother as a teacher. Her first recording was on the AIR program Balandanam when she was around 8 years old.
As a teenager, she performed in AIR Hyderabad Yuvavani, Ee Paata Nerchukundam (let’s learn this song) programs with music director and composer Sri MV Chittaranjan and on Doordarshan TV.
The software engineering career took center stage after completing his masters in computer science and engineering in the United States. She worked as a software engineer writing code, adding features and solving customer issues. Working at companies of different sizes, from startups to large corporations, has taught her to think outside the box and she has honed her analytical skills which she applies to her music.
She is also the mother of 2 boys who gave her the privilege of motherhood.
She started learning Hindustani classical music with Smt Sangeeta Lahiri and is currently seeking guidance under Vidushi Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar. She teaches Hindustani music at her school in Westford MA and at LearnQuest Academy.
Vaishnavi had the privilege of sharing the stage and giving some concerts of semi-classical music with Sri Palagummi Viswanatham and Sri MV Chittaranjan and his guru Vidwan Sri Neti Srirama Sarma.
His first solo album “Rasa Dhuni” dedicated to his mother was released in 2000. The following solo album “Simply Love” was released in 2014 and ranked among the top albums on MusicInidaOnline
As an IndianRaga Fellow, Vaishnavi released numerous collaborations with singers and other musicians. Om Jai Jagdish Hare, a traditional arati sung in collaboration with other Raga Fellows, garnered the most views.
Vaishnavi periodically releases music singles on Spotify and its music channel, Facebook page and Instagram.
His repertoire of releases includes original pieces and fusion compositions that are generally based on classical ragas.
INDIA New England News: Tell our readers about your work and what you like the most?
Vaishnavi Kondapalli: I had a very exciting childhood and teenage years with many stage shows, AIR recordings, recordings for private albums, music competitions, etc. I enjoy recording music at home and doing online collaborations with musicians. I love the process of conceptualizing the musical project, paying attention to how the piece should flow, the aesthetic, the length of the song, and the nuance details. I am currently working on a new album which will be released soon. Each experience with other musicians and friends has enriched my music and made a difference. ) and light music. Learning Hindustani music in a Guru Shishya Parampara style with my Guru Arati Tai has greatly expanded my understanding of ICM.
INE: If you are involved in a charity or non-profit organization, please tell us why this organization and what do you do for it?
CV: I have been a member of the executive committee of KHMC, a non-profit Indian classical music organization since 2016. The sole purpose of this grassroots organization is to promote and nurture Karnatic and Hindustani music in the Boston area, which excites me to be part of this organization. We actively organize chamber-style concerts to showcase local talent and provide a platform to nurture Indian classical music.
INE: Why did you decide to pursue Indian classical music?
CV: I grew up singing different genres, mostly non-classical music, including Carnatic music in my formative years. As I grew in my understanding of music, I began to realize my affinity for ragas and the effect raga music has on you, especially in Hindustani music. To be an artist of this genre requires rigorous work and many years of hard work. Hindustani music requires a mindset that engages all layers of the brain, the art of vocalizing your thought – the spontaneity to weave musical phrases into the right raga framework while maintaining sur taal and bhaav. A difficult path to pursue and difficult to achieve perfection, this music is a lifelong learning process and very rewarding and at times very elusive and disheartening. I took it as a challenge to continue on this path. Hindustani music is a spiritual journey as my guru says. As you delve deeper into this art form, you realize that it is not just about physical and intellectual prowess, but also about emotional engagement – a gateway to spirituality that you can discover with this music. My goal is to embark on this spiritual journey.
INE: What are your hobbies and interests?
CV: I like to travel mainly to islands for the sand and the sea. I like solving puzzles and playing games. I love watching TV – mystery and drama.
INE: In what way do you think you have most positively influenced or served the local community, your business/organization and your professional field?
CV: As a professional singer, I have helped many non-profit organizations raise money for their charitable causes in the Boston area. I had the opportunity to mentor and train many young professionals in my profession. Being a committee member of KHMC gives me great joy as I am passionate about promoting Hindustani classical music. I teach Hindustani music at LearnQuest and at my school I run from home. In addition to training good musicians through my music, my goal is to provide ideas and avenues to educate and raise awareness and understanding of the ICM. I regularly organize Hindustani Baithaks at my house with local musicians and artists.
INE: What is your rare talent?
CV: I don’t know if it’s a rare talent, but I have quite a high degree of intuition and it’s come in handy many times in my life.
INE: Your favorite books?
CV: I generally prefer non-fiction to fiction. The most interesting book I have ever read is the Mahabharata. Each character in this book has something to teach you.
INE: Your favorite quotes?
CV: I have a few
“I think so I am.” -René Descartes
“The joy of music is not in the accolades but it is in that moment when you sing a perfect note that evokes an emotion” -Vidushi Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar
“Music is a revelation superior to all wisdom and philosophy.” –Ludwig Van Bethooven
INE: Who inspires you the most?
CV: Let me answer in 2 parts.
Growing up, my parents instilled a lot of good values in me. My mother – care and love and music. My father – duty, responsibility and honesty. My grandparents and family instilled the culture and family values. I never realized all of this until my life experiences as an adult gave me the clarity to understand what these values mean.
As an adult and as a student of music and as a teacher, I am inspired by my Guru Arati Ankalikar Tikekar Tai. Every time I take a class with her, I enrich myself and it’s not just music. My students who keep my feet on the ground and give me immense joy. My music buddies I engage in long musical conversations about every nuance, aesthetic and sound that makes music.
My husband and my children who support me and gave me unconditional love.
INE: Your fundamental value that you try to respect?
CV: I’m kind of a perfectionist and it comes down to the way I do things as I tend to give 100% or nothing. I worked hard to try not to strive to be a perfectionist.
I never compare myself to anyone and that makes me focus on who I am, my triumphs and my failures. I tend to live by this motto.