A class XI student of City Montessori School, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow — ranked Uttar Pradesh’s #1 co-ed day school in the EW India School Rankings 2018-19 — Apurva Chauhan (15) is the youngest Indian to join the elite group of world-renowned opera singers such as Cecilia Bartolli (Italy), Renee Fleming (USA), Montserrat Caballe (Spain) etc. Next month (April), Apurva will be awarded a level 4 diploma of the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), London at the board’s Southeast Asia Diploma Awards 2019 ceremony scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The elder child of high-profile civil servants Padmaja Chauhan, inspector general of the Police Recruitment Board, Lucknow and her husband Ajay, commissioner of the Uttar Pradesh housing board, Apurva inherited her mother’s love for music and started training in Hindustani classical music at age three and learning the piano a year later. In 2014, she signed up with the city’s Arya Institute of Performing Arts, an ABRSM exam centre for western classical music including operatic singing. Within two years, this child prodigy successfully completed the Grade VIII ABRSM vocal exam, mastering the combined syllabuses of grade I-VIII in 12 months, a “unique achievement” which qualified her to take the Level 4 diploma exam last October.
A soprano who performs in Italian, French, German, English and even Hindi languages, Apurva’s repertoire includes arias from Mozart, Beethoven, Purcell, Puccini and Vivaldi, among others. “I attribute my quick learning of opera music to my early induction into Hindustani classical music and piano. This helped me to read music and pitch high notes with ease,” she recalls.
Also a nationally ranked tennis player, she has already been conferred the Advanced Placement Scholar Award of the US College Board which eases admission of awardees into American universities. “My dream is to make opera music popular in India and perhaps blend opera vocals with Hindustani music ragas. I also hope to intern with the Royal Opera House, London and Metropolitan Opera, New York,” says this multi-talented teenager who has developed the knack of realising her dreams.
Sruthy Susan Ullas (Bangalore)