Current Affairs

Anthony Gonsalves no more

The noted Goan music composer, arranger and teacher, Anthony Gonsalves passed away at the Goa Medical College. He was 84. The celebrated musician was ailing for past some months.

Late Gonsalves is survived by son Kiran, who is based in the US and daughter, Laxmi. The funeral will be announced later, after the arrival of his son, as per the family sources.

The Chief Minister, Digambar Kamat paying rich tributes to Anthony Gonsalves said that in his death, Goa has lost a maestro of music in the long line of Goan musicians like N Datta and Dattaram, who made Goa proud with their contributions to the Hindi film music, in particular and music in general.

Craving to make additional contribution to Indian music, Gonsalves, in the year 1958 founded a 110-musician strong Indian Symphony Orchestra featuring Lata Mangueshkar and Manna Dey as soloists. The orchestra was successfully premiered in the quadrangle of St Xavier’s College in erstwhile south Bombay. He also trained many students, some of whom had become independent music directors like Pyarelal of Laxmikant-Pyarelal team and Rahul Dev Burman.

Some countries took note of the Indian Symphony Orchestra, and the Dean of Syracuse University in New York invited Anthony Gonsalves to teach music at Syracuse. In search of new musical adventure, Anthony Gonsalves accepted the offer and proceeded to Syracuse to teach music. The achievements of this Goan musician were such that he was requested to train the music faculty at the University. He trained his new students in the finer points of Indian music, and also wrote several small pieces of music, double violin concertos and two sextets with the clarinet and piano. He was further requested to send his music books to the Library of Congress in Washington, which eventually he did. The Rockefeller Foundation sponsored Anthony Gonsalves throughout his stay in the USA, thus enabling him to travel across the country and teach at various American Universities. He even did a stint in Hollywood writing music scores for films such as Silk Screen.

The pinnacle of glory for Anthony Gonsalves came when he attended the Tanglewood Music Festival and met such renowned performers as Adrian Bold and Eric Lansdorf, who saw him as a legend in the music world. Adrian Bold, in fact, approached Anthony Gonsalves and thanked him for teaching the world Indian music.

In 2010, Anthony Gonsalves was felicitated by Swar Alaap, a Mumbai-based organisation dedicated to music, at an impressive ceremony held in Mumbai. During the International Film Festival of India 2010, he was bestowed upon with the prestigious Karmaveer Puraskaar, at the hands of his ace disciple, Pyarelal. A documentary titled, Anthony Gonsalves: The Music Legend, based on his life and works also won the Special Jury Award in the International Competition, during the International Film Festival of India 2011.

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