BENGALURU: Ankna Arockiam is singer from Hyderabad who has trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Presently based in Glasgow, she has performed in various cities across UK, Europe and India, and is the chairperson of the Association of the European Conservatoires Students’ working group that looks at student representation at higher eduction music conservatoire across Europe. Ahead of her concert in the city, organised by the Bangalore School of Music (BSM), CE caught up with her.
1. How did you get into singing?
I started with Indian Classical singing (Carnatic) and my sister Ashrita was learning the Piano. I then began to learn violin before moving to KM Music Conservatory, Chennai. It was there that I began training for Western Classical singing after joining the choir. My voice doesn’t have an extensive high range and currently sits in the Mezzo soprano range. It is not something you choose but something that you are and also it’s important to know that it might change as your body develops and changes.
2. How has the journey been from Hyderabad to Europe been?
-My journey from Hyderabad to Scotland has been very eventful and it continues to be so. Studying in Scotland has been an incredible experience so far, not only have I learnt to be independent, but I’ve also had the opportunity to meet, interact and perform with brilliant musicians on an international platform with famous orchestras. Currently, apart from studying, I work with the Junior Conservatoire and lifelong learning departments. I’ve worked on projects with various Scottish- Indian musicians and performed at major South Asian events in Glasgow.
3. What is your take on the interest in India for Western classical singing?
- It’s very interesting that you ask me this question, as this is one of the aspects of the Indian music scene that I’m currently researching. There is a growing interest among Indians which is excellent but my only concern is that we don’t have as many qualified teachers for the same. I meet new singers every year and I love the potential they have and the energy they radiate.
4. Tell us a bit about your research.
I have just completed my literature review- looking at literature that covers musical identities; art education in India and music education in India with a focus on Western classical music. Even though there is a growing interest in Western classical music in India, I am also aware that there are musicians who study abroad, come back to India and face the lack of performance opportunities. I’d like to see music as a viable career option in India and that artists are able to financially support themselves.I hope that my research will enable me to place the role of this genre in the Indian context and also study how young Indians perceive it.
5. Tell us a little about your collaborations in India and association with Bengaluru?
One of my aims is to build strong musical connections between Scotland and India. I was part of the RCS recruitment team for the first auditions visit to India last year and I hope this will continue. I first came to BSM in 2009. Since then, it was only last year that I visited BSM again. I visited BSM in November again to work with some of the singing students.
6. What can the audience expect and take away from your concert?
As a singer, my main duty is to tell the story of what I’m singing. People perhaps may not understand the words but it’s my responsibility to make sure they understand the meaning and emotion behind it. And this is what I hope I’m able to achieve. Very glad that BSM is hosting this concert.
The concert is on April 21 at 6:30pm, The Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium, BSM premises. Tickets are available on www.bookmyshow.com