Kethan Srinivasan to take the stage with classical Indian music concert

Nachikethan Srinivasan ’21 (center) gives a Carnatic music performance at a venue in Chennai, India – December 27, 2018 – photo courtesy of Nachikethan Srinivasan ’21

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, the Sixth Form has welcomed its annual tradition: the graduation project. While most are no longer in the virtual setting, pandemic life continues to present obstacles to those rendering the final details of their senior plans. Despite the challenges, Sixth Former Nachikethan Srinivasan plans to combine talent and heritage into an enriching pre-recorded concert experience.

     Srinivasan will perform a concert composed of a repertoire of classical Indian music.

     “I have been in the process of creating a concert list comprised of the different songs that I have learned over the past eighteen years, and I plan to put [them] together into a full-on concert list with the help of the music and theater departments to set up for a recorded performance on the Centennial Hall stage,” Srinivasan said.

     Well-versed in the school’s stages, Srinivasan has always been active in the fine arts, especially the vocal and performing arts. A dedicated cast member to theater productions and an active member of the Notables and Glee Club, he has accumulated an appreciation and understanding of performance.

Nachikethan Srinivasan ’21 in an interview – Christopher Schwarting ’24

     Srinivasan also draws from much experience beyond his singing at Haverford. Off-campus, he has streamed various performances and has dedicated much time to developing his skills in a different type of vocal art form.

     This will serve as the backbone for his graduation project performance.

     “I am singing a form of Indian classical music from the Southern region of the country, called Carnatic music,” Srinivasan said. “It’s a type of music that includes different songs in a system of music that primarily uses south Indian languages and Sanskrit.”

     Growing up with exposure to Carnatic music, Srinivasan developed a passion for the art form.

     “I have had the opportunity not just to perform, myself, but also to see others perform.  How I’ve grown into being able to perform on livestream or live in front of people is a result of what I have seen and what I have learned and what I have been able to implement in my way of singing and how I practice,” Srinivasan said.

     Furthermore, Carnatic music has allowed him to build relationships with those inside and outside the Haverford community.

     Srinivasan said, “I have been able to forge connections with my music to people at Haverford and within the South-Asian community in the Delaware Valley region.”

     While Haverford students are no strangers to the vocal arts, Carnatic music may be unknown to many in the student body.

     “Carnatic music is unique to my experience,” Srinivasan said. 

“This is to showcase just how much nuance and just how [many] differences that you will find between the different worlds of music.”

Nachikethan Srinivasan ’21

     He explained that in the West, many are unaware of the vast diversity contained within the music community. This allows him, however, to teach others about Carnatic music.

     “I get to tell [others] that I study this form of music. I built up these relationships with faculty to the point where senior project brainstorming was needed, this concert that I aspired and planned to make could come to life,” Srinivasan said. “I am very grateful for that.”

     Above all, Srinivasan is looking forward to his project as an opportunity to share a little-known piece of the music world that he appreciates. He wants to use Carnatic music as a tool to showcase his identity and his passion for the school.

     “I want to bring out something that is unique to my experience,” Srinivasan said. “It is unique to how I have managed to venture into music, to begin with, and was something that was really telling from the moment that I was able to enter Haverford in the first place. This is to showcase just how much nuance and just how [many] differences that you will find between the different worlds of music.”

Author: Christopher Schwarting '24

Christopher Schwarting has been writing for the Index since 2020 and will serve as an Editor-in-Chief. His opinion piece "Queen Elizabeth leaves a lasting legacy, but Gen Z must be sure to see it all" received a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. When not working on the paper, he can be found writing poems and editing the school's literary magazine, Pegasus.