South Asian Arts

MAMU has a number of collections which feature South Asian music and culture. The Louise Lightfoot Collection contains information and artefacts on traditional Indian dance; the Raja Sourindra Mohun Tagore Collection includes 19th century Hindustani instruments; and the Jon Barlow Collection has a series of musical instruments including Hindustani sarods.

South Asian Scholars/Artists are regularly invited to visit or teach at Monash School of Music, the longest serving of whom was the late Ashok Roy in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2016 the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music was proud to host Dr Aneesh Pradhan as the first Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Chair of Indian Studies. Other touring Indian musicians visited Monash to take part in lecture demonstrations and performances organised by Dr Reis Flora as part of the Mohinder Dhillion's Nataraj Cultural Centre Spirit of India tours. They included Shivaram, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Amjad Ali Khan, Ram Narayan, Brij Narayan, Shashanka

Raja Sourindra Mohun Tagore Collection

Raja Sourindra Mohun Tagore or Sourindro Mohun Tagore CIE was an Indian musicologist who came from an upper-class family of Bengal. In the late 19th century, the composer and musical innovator donated sets of rare Indian musical instruments to leading cultural and musical institutions around the world. Raj Sourindra Mohan Tagore donated approximately 30 Indian instruments for the opening of Melbourne's Exhibition Building in the late 1800s after which they became the property of The National Gallery of Victoria. Since 1975 the Tagore Collection has resided in MAMU on 'permanent loan'. MAMU’s collection includes Hindustani, folk and hybrid instruments made in Calcutta which are now obscure or obsolete – as well as some experimental models.

Dr Adrian McNeil, Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, has been researching the rare Tagore Collections of 1890s Indian musical instruments, one set of which is housed in MAMU.


John Barlow Collection

Jon Barlow is an Australian musician, music theorist and collector who has specialised in Indian Classical Music since the late 1960s. After first visiting India in 1968, he went on to build his own instruments, as well as collecting rare and valuable sarods – some of which he commissioned himself from local craftsmen. In 2014 he donated his collection of Hindustani musical instruments to MAMU.