T. Temple Tuttle

Thomas Temple Tuttle (1933–2000)

The life of Tom Tuttle began in 1933, in Cleveland, Ohio. His name came as an inspiration from the Tempel-Tuttle comet that intersects earth's orbit every thirty-three years. At an early age, he showed an interest in music, beginning piano and trumpet lessons at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Lessons there continued as Tom changed to the French horn, and studied with a member of the Cleveland Orchestra. After graduating high school at the age of sixteen, Tom attended Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in performance and education. A doctoral degree from the University of Maryland lead him to his interest in ethnomusicology which later found a home in Carnatic music.

The first connection to South Indian music came from Tom's introduction to Ramnad V. Raghavan in the early 1970s. Considering Sri Raghavan to be his guru, he began what was to be a love for drumming. Many times, as he drove his car, he practiced vocalizations, while drumming patterns on the steering wheel. Later acquaintances with V.V. Sundaram and (Cleveland) Balu led to the creation of the yearly celebration which is now the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival.

The first of Tom's two Fulbright Scholarships was spent in Chennai, living in the home of Raghavan's brother, with a focus on how he might best teach the principles of Carnatic music to western students. A second trip followed during which Tom and his wife performed and lectured on western music for French horn and voice. A three-month sabbatical trip, and other shorter trips followed over the years, until 1999, when the second Fulbright Scholar award was made. While taking treatment for the cancer which had developed in 1998, Tom lived in the home of V.V. Sundaram, who by now was as a brother to him, and further explored the tuned columns of the Vittala temple complex at Hampi and throughout South India.