Obituary: Longtime Professor of Indian Music Peter Row Passes Away at 73

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Peter Row

By George Ruckert

BOSTON–Peter Row, longtime professor of Indian Music at New England Conservatory, has passed away from a lingering illness this past week.  He was 73 years old.

As a youth, Peter spent extensive time in Kolkata, where he attended Don Bosco high school and studied sitar for many years with the distinguished Gokul Nag of the Vishnupur gharana.  He later obtained the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Music (Sangitacharya), from the Prayag Sangit Samiti in Allahabad.

A fixture of the Boston classical music scene, he served also as Dean and Provost at the New England Conservatory while teaching courses in the music of India and world music.

Peter Row

A former president of the Northeast Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology, he is widely published and has lectured about Indian music across the U.S. He was the recipient of a JDR Third Fund Fellowship for Doctoral Studies in India and has been a research associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has also served as a consultant on Asian music for the Smithsonian Institute.

Peter was a sitarist of the highest order, and more recently turned his attention o playing the rudra bin, which he found more introspective in his senior years.  His contribution to teaching, music, and scholarship cannot be replaced, and that he was a pioneer among westerners mastering the Hindustani musical arts indelibly places him among the most respected musical personalities of our time.

He is survived by his wife, Heather, and son Andrew, as well as a son, Ashish, from his earlier marriage to local vocalist and teacher Kalpana Mazumdar.

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