VITA
Aurelio, the creative director of SVARAM, is a musician, educator, ethno-musicologist, researcher, sound designer and sound healer. Through his extensive travels and studies all around the world, Aurelio has become a noted pioneer in the development and manufacture of innovative musical instruments, whether it be simple inviting ones for beginners, or instruments specially designed for use in sound healing.
1960, Aurelio was born in Austria, close to Vienna. He began his musical studies in 1975 with classical guitar, completing his baccalaureate in 1979. Aurelio made his first far-flung journey by traveling overland to Pakistan.
In the following year he attended the University of Vienna, studying Latin, linguistics and ethno-musicology, but by '81 he had embarked on a journey that would end up lasting five years: taking him through California, where he studied Shamanism and Tai Chi, to the South Pacific islands of Marquesas, Tahiti and Fiji, where he immersed himself in the local traditions of music. By '83, he was staying in Maori and Aboriginal communities in New Zealand and Australia, building his first musical instruments; 1984 found him in Papua New Guinea, and '85 in China, studying the role of music in traditional Chinese society.
In the years that followed (1986-90), Aurelio enjoyed living in the pristine nature of the Austrian Alps, continuing his studies from within. When he was not gardening, he collaborated with various experts to deepen his understanding of acoustics, different musical and other traditions, such as Pythagorean Teachings, Buddhist meditation practice, Indian classical and Gregorian modal chant; he also continued to build instruments, and became involved in community music by organizing education groups in music, movement, and theatre, as well as heritage markets and festivals. Soon, Aurelio was getting involved into bigger projects: workshops, seminars, performances and conferences, in Europe as well as India. During this time he developed his conception of sound therapy,
"A Sound Approach to Life", which would later inspire SVARAMs new instruments and lately 'New Waves', created a series of specially tuned instruments of his own invention.
In 1991, Aurelio moved to South India to join the Utopian township of Auroville, where he became intensely involved in a wide range of cultural and healing activities. He co-created Vérité Integral Learning Center for Health, Healing and Sustainability, collaborated on a number of performing arts productions on both a community and national level, and engaged in serious study of the Indian scriptures on music, medicine, and performing arts.
Among the more notable projects Aurelio was involved in are his frequent collaborations with "Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts Research", and the awarded children's film “Yatra”. He also helped to establish "Mohanam Cultural Center", an initiative to reconnect the Tamil youth living around Auroville to their cultural roots.
Aurelio's biggest undertaking so far was launched in 2003: SVARAM Musical Instruments, Vocational Training and Research Station. Conceived initially as a way to realize Aurelio's experiments with new instruments and tunings, SVARAM has evolved into an Auroville commercial unit which sells a wide range of easy-to-play instruments from various cultures. SVARAM has enabled Aurelio to collaborate with notable researchers and musicians: the prototypes of Klaus Fessmann' s singing stones, for instance, were developed at SVARAM using locally sourced granite, and Alexander Zhigarev' s expertise with brass bells has led to the creation of SVARAMs tuned plate-bells.
Meanwhile, Aurelio has continued to travel around the world, giving workshops and lectures but also, of course, absorbing local musical traditions, for example in Korea, Japan, and Borneo. He has joined the World Federation of Music Therapy and publishes articles in newspapers and research magazines.
For the future, Aurelio dreams of expanding SVARAM into a Campus: a combination of experiment and heritage, with studio / laboratory for sound research, an academy for musical studies, modern workshops and a vocational training center in musical instrument making which would be the first of its kind in India.