Lalith J. Rao

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Lalith J. Rao
Background information
Birth nameLalith Rao
Born (1942-11-06) 6 November 1942 (age 76)
OriginBangalore, Karnataka, India
GenresIndian classical music
Occupation(s)Engineer, Singer

Lalith J. Rao (also spelt Lalit) (born 6 November 1942) is an Indian classical singer and a representative of the Agra gharana (singing style).

Early life[edit]

Rao's introduction to classical music was at the age of three, at a concert by the Agra gharana vocalist Faiyaz Khan. She started learning music from Rama Rao Naik, who initiated her into the Agra gharana. Rao's first public concert was at the Bangalore Sangeet Sabha at the age of 12[citation needed]. When she was 14, she won the All India Classical Music competition in Mumbai and became the youngest participant of the Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan the same year[citation needed].

Rao completed her Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Communication Engineering, the latter from the University of New Brunswick. In 1967, she married Jayavanth Rao and moved to Delhi to work. Her husband convinced Rao to abandon her engineering career and pursue singing, and she received training from Dinkar Kaikini and later from Khadim Hussain Khan.[1]

Singing career[edit]

Rao went back to the Sur Singar Sansad to restart her performance career and became a professional singer after a positive reception. She is as adept at singing khyal, dhrupad, dhamar, as well as thumri, tarana and hori.

Her first concert abroad was in 1981. She has performed in France, UK, US and Canada and is a top-grade artiste of All India Radio. Rao regularly performs on the Radio and Television.

Rao was one of the key figures in setting up a trust "Sajan Milap" in the mid-seventies, to popularise the music of her Ustad, who used the pen name "Sajan Piya". She was the chief coordinator for the Ford Foundation Archival project at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy from 1989-91.[2] Few years later she herself sang for the Ethno-Musicology Department of the University of Washington in Seattle.[3][4] for them to archive the music of her Agra gharana.

Rao lives and teaches music in Bangalore.

Partial discography[edit]

  • Bihag; Kedar; Thumri(1986) HMV PSLP 1373
  • Beyond Reach: Ragas Durga & Pilu (2003)
  • Raga Darbari Kanhada, Raga Desh (2006)
  • Raga Lalit (2002)
  • Ragas Kalyan Nat & Adana (2002)
  • Raga Shree (2013)
  • Ragas Dhanashree & Barwa (2013)
  • Ragas Gorakh Kalyan & Basant (2013)

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award: Government of India, 2018
  • Karnataka Rajyotsava Award Rajyotsava Prashasti: Government of Karnataka, 2017
  • Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Gaurava Puraskar
  • Karnataka Kalashree: Government of Karnataka 2011-2012
  • Tana Riri award from the Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Akademi for life time achievement 2016
  • Nishagandhi Puraskaram by the Government of Kerala 2014
  • "Sur Mani": Sur Singar Sansad
  • Lifetime Achievement award from Bangalore Gayana Samaja
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Puttaraj Samman
  • BKF Mallikarjun Mansur Award 2014
  • Ganakala Tapaswini by Srimad Vadiraja Aradhana Trust for life-time achievement in Hindustani Classical Music 2016
  • Swaratapasvi by Swara Sankula, Mysore


  1. ^ "Biography (ITC SRA)". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Story of ITC SRA:Ford Foundation Project". Archived from the original on 22 November 2001. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Lalith Rao 1981". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Lalith Rao 1985". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2009.

External links[edit]