Leela Omchery
Omchery in 2004
Born(1929-05-31)31 May 1929
Died1 November 2023(2023-11-01) (aged 94)
Occupation(s)Singer, musicologist, writer
SpouseOmchery N. N. Pillai
Children2, including Deepti Omchery Bhalla
Kendra Sangeet Natak Academy Award
Marunaadan Malayaali Award
Fellow – Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi
Sangeeta Kulapathi
Sangeet Kovida
Sangeeta Sarva Bhouma

Leela Omchery (31 May 1929 – 1 November 2023) was an Indian classical singer, musicologist and writer. She is known for her contributions to classical music and was a recipient of the Padmashri award from the Government of India for her contributions to Indian classical dance and music.[1]

Early life

Leela Omchery was born on 31 May 1929 in Mankoyikkal tharavdu in Thiruvattar in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu to Parameswara Kurup and Lakshmikutty Amma.[2] She started learning music from an early age under a Karnatic music guru, Thiruvattar Arumugham Pillai Bhagavathar, along with her younger brother, the late Kamukara Purushothaman, a classical and playback singer in Malayalam.[3] Hailing from a family of musicians, she had the opportunity to hone her musical talents under the guidance of her grandmother and mother who were musicians in their own right.[citation needed]

After early schooling in Kanyakumari, she obtained a graduate degree in Carnatic music from Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram and continued her studies in Hindustani music at Punjab University, obtaining another graduate degree.[citation needed] Her Master's degree came from Meerut University and she got her PhD in music from Delhi University.[4]


Leela Omchery was working as a Professor in Kamukara School of Music, Dance and Research Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and as Professor and Principal of Trikalaa Gurukulam in Delhi.[5]

Omchery was the President of Dakshina Bharati (a south Indian Women’s Organization) and Vice President of Swaralaya, Delhi.[citation needed]

Omchery was an accredited Supervisor and Guide to Ph.D and M.Phil candidates from various universities including Delhi, Kerala, Calicut, Baroda, Nalanda, and Mumbai. She was also a member of the Selection Board of AIR, Doordarshan, ICCR, IGNCA, SNA (Delhi), the Ministry of Culture and IGNOU.[citation needed]

Omchery also worked as the Associate Professor and Head, Karnatak Music Section, Faculty of Music & Fine Arts, University of Delhi (1964–1994). She served as Editorial Staff of Indian Music Journal, Vageeshwari, (1975–1994).[citation needed]

Omchery also wrote some short stories.[citation needed]

Personal life and death

Omchery was married to writer Omchery N. N. Pillai and resided in New Delhi. The couple had two children, S.D. Omchery and Deepti Omchery Bhalla, a classical dancer.[citation needed]

Leela Omchery died on 1 November 2023, at the age of 94.[6]



Title Publisher Year
Indian Music and Allied Arts (5 volumes) Sandeep Prakashan, Delhi 1990
Gleanings in Indian Music Sandeep Prakashan, Delhi 1991
Immortals of Indian Music Gyan Books, Delhi 1998


Title Publisher Year
Abhinaya Sangeetham Bhasha Institute, Kerala 1981
Paadavum Padhavum D.C. Books, Kerala
Keralathile Laasya Rachanakal D.C. Books, Kerala 2003
Chinakkara Koothu Paattukal Mudra Books, Delhi 2008
Leela Omcheriyude Pathangal Poorna Books, Kerala 2009
Karuna Cheyvanenthu Thamsam Krishna D.C. Books, Kerala 2011
Vettam Mangiya Kovil Paattukal Poorna Books, Kerala 2012

On Other Topics

She is also credited with over 200 published articles.

Awards and recognitions

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  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ "ഡോ. ലീലാ ഓംചേരി അന്തരിച്ചു". 1 November 2023. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Academic Record | PROF. DR. LEELA OMCHERY". Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Career | PROF. DR. LEELA OMCHERY". Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  6. ^ Leela Omchery, classical music pioneer dies aged 94
  7. ^ "Classical Music". Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 24 February 2023.

Further reading