Lata Mangeshkar, Chairperson of the Vishwashanti Sangeet Foundation, announced the opening of Vishwashanti Sangeet Kala Academy--envisioned as India’s biggest gurukul--in Pune. The Gurukul aims to provide a platform for aspiring Hindustani classical musicians from across the country to learn from the best of gurus.
The institute is the vision of Prof. Dr. Vishwanath Karad, founder of MIT Institutes, and Founder-President of the Vishwashanti Sangeet Foundation. The Gurukul--built over a vast area of 70,000 sq. feet--offers state of the art facilities along with the supervision and guidance of renowned gurus. The faculty boasts of eminent musicians like Dr. N Rajam, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ulhas Kashalkar, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Suresh Talwalkar, Shama Bhate, Yogesh Samsi and Devaki Pandit.
Speaking on the occasion, Lata Mangeshkar said she was happy that the Academy was adopting the Gurukul system, as the venerated guru-sishya parampara has been the pride of Indian culture for centuries and has been instrumental in producing some of the finest artists in Indian classical music, dance and many other forms in the country.
The admission procedure begins on 1st June 2017, and the application form is available on the website www.mitvsf.com. Learning is free, but students will have to pay the residential and mess charges after their enrolment.
Gangadhar Pradhan Samman Award
Sruti’s senior contributors Leela Venkataraman and Dr. Sunil Kothari were honoured with the Guru Gangadhar Samman by the Orissa Dance Academy in February 2017 during the Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav in Odisha.
Remembering Fiddle Govindaraja Pillai
Chennai Fine Arts celebrated the 105th birth anniversary of renowned violin maestro Mayavaram Govindaraja Pillai on Friday, 12th May at Srinivasa Sastri hall in Luz. Earlier CFA had also celebrated his birth centenary in the year 2012, in which a short documentary on him was presented.
On the occasion yesterday, three students learning at the CFA Academy were presented the musical instrument Nagasvaram. These students are trained by Vidwan Kundrathur T. Venkatesan who is a faculty of CFA. The instruments were sponsored by the Mayavaram ‘Fiddle’ Govindaraja Pillai Trust founded by Shri. Shanmughanathan, son in-law of Govindaraja Pillai. Vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam presided over the function and presented the instruments. This initiative is to encourage the students to learn sincerely and achieve big. The function was followed by the violin duet concert of Dr M Lalitha and M Nandini. Beginning with Abhogi varnam in four speeds, the duo presented sarasiruhasana in Nattai (Puliyur Duraiswamy Iyer), Siddhiswaraya in Neelambari (Muthuswami Deekshitar), Paraloka in Mandhari and Nannu kanna thalli in Sindhu Kannada besides the main piece Etavunara in Kalyani (all three by Tyagaraja). KH Vineeth, Mrdangam and S Sunil Kumar, Kanjira were the accompanists. The concert which lasted two hours witnessed a full house audience.
(Left to right in the photo: S Nithyasree - Secretary, Chennai Fine Arts, PN Muralidharan - Founder, Chennai Fine Arts, Kundrathur T Venkatesan - Nagasvaram Faculty, Chennai Fine Arts, D Rajeswaran - student, S Kishore - student, vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam, Shri. Shanmuganathan - Founder Mayavaram 'Fiddle' Govindaraja Pillai Trust, Mohana krishnan - student).
Tabla maestro Hashmat Ali Khan passes away
The senior-most artist of the Ajrada gharana of tabla, Hashmat Ali Khan passed away in Delhi at the age of 85 on 22 April, 2017. He had received his training in the intricacies of tabla from his grandfather, Mohd. Shafi Khan. He was later groomed in the art by Niazu Khan, a noted representative of the Ajrada gharana.
His greatest contribution to music was the way he upheld and enriched the repertoire of the Ajrada gharana, specially the laggi sections that carried his unique signature. He had numerous students across the world and was known to be a taskmaster, yet a magnanimous guru.
The mantle of his musical legacy now rests upon his son and disciple, the eminent musician Akram Khan, and his grandsons.
A road named after first woman sarodiya
Dr. Sharan Rani was the first woman instrumentalist to take up the sarod which was described as a 'man's instrument’. Sharan Rani was born on 9 April 1929 in a cultured Mathur family of Old Delhi. She was educated and married—to Sultan Singh Backliwal—in Delhi where she lived and taught music until she passed away on 8 April 2008. She learnt from eminent masters like Ali Akbar Khan and Alauddin Khan. Popularly known as ‘Sarod Rani’ after Pandit Omkarnath Thakur named her so, she presented sarod concerts for seven decades in India and abroad, winning unprecedented critical acclaim. She cut several gramophone records, among them an album issued by UNESCO. Sharan Rani was a guru to many students in India and abroad, whom she taught for free.
Called the 'Cultural Ambassador of India' by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, she was a pioneer with many firsts to her credit. To preserve and promote India's musical heritage, Sharan Rani spent decades collecting old and rare classical musical instruments. From her personal collection, she gifted nearly 450 such musical instruments—musically perfect specimens and aesthetic masterpieces—to the National Museum, New Delhi. This entire collection was builtup singlehandedly without government or institutional aid. These instruments are exhibited in the 'Sharan Rani Backliwal Gallery of Musical Instruments' inaugurated and dedicated to the nation in 1980 by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who described it as "an unparalleled collection of rare classical music instruments of national importance". This is the first and largest collection of its kind in the world, till date.
In 1998 the Department of Posts, Government of India, released the first set of four postage stamps (along with a first day cover and brochure), based on four Indian musical instruments, from the Sharan Rani Backliwal Gallery of Musical Instruments. Sharan Rani was the author of the Divine Sarod—a book on the origin, antiquity and development of the sarod released in 1992 by President K.R. Narayanan, followed by its second edition, released by former Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral in April 2008.
She was the first woman instrumentalist to be honoured with the Padma Shri in 1968. She received several prestigious awards and honours like the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1986), Padma Bhushan (2000), and National Artiste by the Government of India (2004).
Her house in the Capital was a 'mecca of music' graced by legends from around the world. Her sangeet sadhana and her contributions are an inspiration to future generations. To honour her pioneering contributions, the government of Delhi recently named a road after her--the Sharan Rani Backliwal Marg--near her residence in Defence Colony—a befitting recognition to the sarod maestro.
Her daughter Radhika Backliwal Narain, who has made a documentary on her mother, is the Honorary Director of the Sharan Rani Foundation.