Jan 2, 2009

Art - India;Music Academy being modernised

CHENNAI: The Music Academy will continue refurbishing the stage in its music chamber and launch a quality book to commemorate its 80th anniversary, the Academy president and Managing Director of The Hindu, N. Murali, said here on Thursday.

Addressing a function where clarionet vidwan A.K.C. Natarajan was conferred the prestigious ‘Sangita Kalanidhi’ title, Mr. Murali said the ongoing facility upgrade and modernisation drive to enhance the ambience was made possible with donations from philanthropists.

Mr. Murali noted that as against the global economic meltdown, the Academy was fortunately facing “the ripple effect of an altogether different kind — the generous and benign variety of ripple effect of donors supporting the institution in a big way over the last two years.”

Pointing to the keen interest shown by rasikas in “The Music Academy-Tag Digital Listening Archive” — a donation by its committee member R.T. Chari — he appealed to collectors to share their recordings to enrich the archives for the benefit of students, rasikas and scholars.

Pointing out that there was no commercial interest in the initiative, Mr. Murali said the executive committee would, in due course, be able to formulate norms for membership and accessing the digital archive.

The “Sadas” on Thursday also coincided with the formal closure of the 82nd conference and concerts of the Academy. It would host a dance festival from January 3 to 9, he said.

S. Ramadorai, CEO, Tata Consultancy Services, conferred the ‘Sangita Kala Acharya’ title on mridangam exponent Mavelikkara Velukutty Nair and Bharatanatyam dancer Sarada Hoffman, the TTK Award on violinist Annavarapu Ramaswamy (in absentia) and vocalist Palai C.K. Ramachandran, and the Musicologist Award on ethno-musicologist S.A.K. Durga.

Mr. Ramadorai suggested the creation of a National Music Portal, perhaps under the Ministry of Arts and Culture, to bring about greater collaboration among institutions devoted to music. The portal would not only be a one-stop resource site for rasikas and researchers but also help to preserve fading art forms such as folk music and natya sangeet.

“An effort must be made towards popularising and educating people on the basics of the art.” He noted that an attempt on these lines was being mooted by a private organisation.

Replying to the felicitations, Mr. Natarajan termed the honour the high point of his life. More so because it was conferred by the very institution that had nurtured him to global fame.

Vocalist P.S. Narayanaswamy said Mr. Natarajan was a man who combined depth of musical knowledge with disarming humility.

Vocalist V. Subrahmaniam felicitated the awardees.

Mr. Ramachandran attributed the honour to the blessings of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer for whom he had provided supporting vocal for nearly 40 years.

N. Ramji and Pappu Venugopala Rao, members of the Academy, spoke.

Several artistes including Umayalpuram Sivaraman presented shawls to Mr. Natarajan.

Prizes and various endowments were presented to outstanding performers in this year’s edition of music concerts.

Mridangam maestro Kaaraikudi Mani entertained the audience with a 90-minute “Pancha Vadhyam” concert.

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