Padmini Rao studied under Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, the Dhrupad and Rudra veena maestro. She received her master's degree in music from SNDT University in Mumbai, India, under the guidance of Padma Bhushan, Dr. Prabha Atre. Padmini has been Dr. Atre's student for over 20 years. Her music is thus a blend of two of India's most enchanting musical streams: the dhrupad and the khayal.
"Refinement was the keyword of Padmini Rao's performance...The Meera and Kabir Das bhajans testified to her pursuit of superior aesthetics." Lalithaa Krishnan in The Hindu, August 25, 2006.
"Padmini Rao sings with her heart and her passion flows deep from her voice." The Hindustan Times, Bhopal, March 28, 2004.
"Rao, who has been described as one of the most promising singers of the Kirana Gharana, has become a global ambassador for Indian classical music." The Hindustan Times, February 20, 2004.
"Padmini Rao is now acknowledged as one of the most gifted voices to emerge from the Kirana gharana, a style that has produced such legends as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal." - Suchitra Lata in The Hindu, July 18, 2002.
"Several young students have benefited from her [Dr. Prabha Atre's] guidance.Among the shagirds, ..... the youngest of them all, Padmini Rao has matured as a concert performer over the years." - Mohan Nadkarni in his book "The Great Masters - Profiles in Hindustani Classical Vocal Music", 1999.
"Padmini can be depended upon to carry forward the legacy of Dr. Prabha Atre. She has a rich and melodious voice. Of special interest are the cascading patterns of her "taans" in the drut mode". - From 'In the Footsteps of the Guru' by D. P. Burde in Canara Union, August 2002.
Padmini Rao has kept her musical passions alive by performing regularly all over the world. Priyadershini S in the Hindu, 4th Oct 2010