There are few accolades the Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman, hasn’t achieved, but his alma mater added yet another feather to his cap on Friday by setting up an annual scholarship in his name for Indian students.
Rahman said he was overwhelmed by the US-based Berklee College of Music’s scholarship which will fund one Indian student studying any discipline — jazz, western, western classical or Carnatic or Hindustani. “I am really honoured by the scholarship,” the Oscar winner said.
The prolific music director was accepted at the prestigious school two decades ago but chose to work on the score for Mani Ratnam’s film, Roja, before he went on to become one of the biggest names in the Indian music industry with a clutch of filmfare and national awards for his compositions.
He was awarded an honorary degree by the institution last year.
Announcing the scholarship, Roger H Brown, president of the Boston-based school, said great music would emerge for the next 50 years from India, whose diversity, thriving democracy and free media were conditions in which creative arts prosper.
Brown said the school had 46 students of Indian origin and would be happy to continue its collaboration with Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai.
Brown, who was exposed to Indian music as a student learning to play the tabla in 1981, said, he was familiar with Carnatic as well as Hindustani music.
In the US, many were familiar with Rahman’s music and his score of Slumdog Millionaire, the Academy Award-winning movie, Brown said, recalling recalling a recent concert by the music director at the institution.