Aruna Sunderlal was born in Delhi in 1939, educated in Auckland House, Simla; Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow & Christian Medical College, Ludhiana.
She married Rajinder Phillips Sunderlal, Member of the ITC Tobacco Board, in 1958. Her two children–son is an Industrialist and daughter CEO of CRY (Child Rights), USA.
Since an early age, she has shown leadership qualities and was drawn to music, sports and community service. She studied singing privately in England and Germany and is one the few reputed classical concert singers in India.
In addition, to musical activities, she has served in a voluntary capacity as Chairperson and Director of several social welfare Organizations for the past 25 years prior to founding The Music School, which include Homes for the Aged in Mumbai and Kolkata, The YWCA Social Services, Women Welfare Projects in the slums of the two cities and also as volunteer for Samaritans International, counselling drug addicts and suicidal youth.
In 1986, she moved to Bangalore after the death of her husband, making it her permanent home. In early 1987, she founded the Bangalore School of Music, as the country’s third and youngest formal School of Western Music. Beginning with just three students in the first month, numbers soon reached 180 by the end of that year, the very maximum that could be accommodated. She gave her home for music education for 22 years.
In 2005, the Music School began construction of a modern building in R.T.Nagar as a permanent home for its expanding activities and was completed in early 2008 under her leadership, ,with support from Trustees, Board and music lovers. It became functional in 2008 and now boasts 418 students and more waiting, with additionally 120 in the Music Outreach. The much - needed expansion is completed. The new Vision – ‘A Music School of the 21 C’ for disadvantaged children is being implemented. Over 9,500 students have been given formal music education training, both theory, practical & performance these 28 years.
The “OUTREACH THROUGH MUSIC INITIATIVE” began in 2003 and has covered 5000 underprivileged, blind and handicapped children since 1987 with initial support from the Royal College of Music Stockholm Sweden. Though the support ended in 2006, the Music School continues the initiative and is looking for new partners. Cultural Exchange with the Conservatoires of Lausanne, Switzerland, the Goethe Institut : MMB in India and Germany continues. She has initiated cultural collaborations with musicians and scholars over the years from 36 countries world-wide.
She is credited with bringing alive western classical music in Bangalore after a long dry period, with support from close cultural partnership with numerous overseas and Indian partners in the city, the state of Karnataka, across India, and has initiated collaborations with Embassies, Consulates, High Commissions, The EU Union, ICCR, Ministry of Culture Government of India and Sangeet Natak Academi New Delhi & the department of Kannada & Culture, Government of Karnataka, over thirty years & still continuing.