Celebrating Birth Anniversaries of
M
aster Composers
By   Margaret Gottlieb

Arohana School of Music will celebrate and showcase the works of two great Composer-Musicians from South India – Tyagaraja (4 May 1767 –
6 January 1847) and Chitravina N Ravikiran (12 February 1967) on May 14 and June 4.Tyagaraja was a prolific composer with thousands of
compositions to his credit, primarily in Telugu, and some in Sanskrit, including operatic/congregational pieces.  Over 700 of his compositions
(both devotional/philosophical) are widely rendered in the performing circuits by Carnatic (South Indian Classical Music) Vocalists and
Instrumentalists alike.  

Chitravina N Ravikiran is a child prodigy who stormed the world of music at the age of two. He is today a world renowned Composer-Musician,
Slide Instrumentalist, and creator of Melharmony - a novel world music concept. He has over 750 compositions (concert/operatic pieces) to his
credit in Sanskrit, Tamil,Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. He attributes his success to his Gurus Chitravina Narasimhan and T Brinda.

On May 14th 2017, the 10th Tyagaraja Aradhana will be held in the Middleton Performing Arts Center.
•         At 9:30 AM the Swaralayam Group (Vijaya R Raman, Vijaya Desikan, Deepika Rajesh, Akila Rangarajan, Akhil Sundararajan, Usha
Shankar, Rama Ranade) will perform a choral rendition of the Tyagaraja Pancharatnams (meaning five gems), followed by a light Indian brunch.
The Tyagaraja Aradhana (offering) was started as an annual tradition in Madison by Vijaya R Raman.  
•         This will culminate in a ticketed feature concert at 11:30 AM by musicians of high repute from India – Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna
(Vocal), accompanied by H.N.Baskar (Violin), Tanjavur S. Murugaboopathy (Mrdangam – double headed Percussion) and Shree Sundar Kumar
(Kanjira – Frame Drum).  The musicians are experts in their respective fields, and will present several pieces with special emphasis on
compositions of Tyagaraja and Chitravina N Ravikiran. Says the young, prodigious and highly accomplished vocalist Balamuralikrishna –
“Tyagaraja’s compositions are deceptively simple, and bring out the beautiful intricacies of the underlying raga through conversational poetry.  
He is a genius composer who has several compositions to his credit. For instance, he has over 30 compositions in the Raga Todi, and each
one of them have a completely different flavor.  Regarding Maestro Ravikiran, I have seen him since I was a child, and I am extremely
delighted that I live in the same era as him. He looks like a 30 year old, but has accomplishments that are way beyond his age. He is highly
versatile, and is a complete musician. I have always enjoyed presenting his compositions and am looking forward to rendering a highly rhythm-
centric composition (with improvisation) of Maestro Ravikiran in Raga Bilahari and a brand new Tillana (composition with rhythmic syllables) of
his in Shuddha Sarang, besides other compositions of Tyagaraja “

On June 4th 2017, several reputed dancers/musicians from India & North America will showcase the works of Tyagaraja and Ravikiran in a
day long festival (“Sada Sharanam” meaning “Salutations forever”) to be held in Bethany United Methodist Church in Madison, WI.
•         The event will start at 2 PM with a student showcase from Arohana School of Music
•         This will be followed by talented vocalists from North America - Manasa Suresh (CA), Sutikshna Veeravalli (IL),  Janani Iyer (IL), Violinist
Karthik Iyer (IL), Mrdangist Sivangangai K. Vishvak (IL), Veena Artiste Arthi Nadhan (MI) and reputed Musicians from India – Bhargavi
Balasubramanian, and the duo, Anahita Ravindran & Apoorva Ravindran, accompanied by KVS Vinay (Violin) and Sriram Natarajan (Mrdangam).
•         Dance compositions of Ravikiran & Operatic creations of Tyagaraja will be presented by Bharathanatyam ( South Indian Classical Dance)
dancers with live orchestra. "There is so much of knowledge one can gain by just exploring and analyzing Maestro Ravikiran's work and we
are fortunate indeed to be a part of this event" says Kripa Baskaran of Natyarpana Dance Company, who will be dancing along with her
disciples in collaboration with Sowmya Kumaran of Nrithya Sangeeth (IL). "Its been an exhilarating and challenging experience choreographing
to Sri Ravikiran’s compositions, and we are very eagerly looking forward to it", says Sowmya!

“It gives me immense happiness to be part of this event on June 4th and celebrate the contributions and creations of Saint Tyagaraja and
Chitravina maestro N Ravikiran. It is an astounding fact that Ravikiran, was born exactly 200 years after Tyagaraja in 1967 and his
compositions are widely rendered in concert circuits by contemporary performing musicians all over the world. 'Sada Sharanam' will be a
special tribute to both these composers and will present rare and popular masterpieces of these two genius composers through classical
music and dance performances by highly skilled musicians from India and North America along with the budding talents from the local
community”, says eminent Vocalist & Chitravina Artiste - Bhargavi Balasubramanian who is also the artistic curator for the June 4th festival.

“I complete ten years of music teaching this year, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this joyous occasion than by showcasing the
works of Tyagaraja and my Guru Chitravina N Ravikiran. While doyen Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer championed the works of composer Swathi
Tirunal, the revered Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar tuned Andal’s Tiruppavai, Composer-Musician-Violin Virtuoso Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman &
Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna composed for dance, and the legendary Pt Ravishankar globalized Indian Classical Music, Maestro Ravikiran has
done them all, at this young age. He continues to champion the works of the brilliant composer Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi (OVK), tuned 1330
verses of the ancient Tirukkural in a record 16 hours, has created music for several dance operas, and has created a new genre of world
music called Melharmony. Not too long ago, I asked my Guru about the secret behind his success, and he quoted Issac Netwon saying that if
he has seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. Maestro Ravikiran stands tall not only for his undiluted music,
but also for his exemplary positive attitude to life. His speech is highly measured, and he has tremendous respect for musicians of all genres.  
Besides his musical genius, he is also a very well read person with a wide variety of interests like Math, Science, Chess and Cricket. He is
also a vocal advocate for alternate energy sources and believes in the power of music as a social voice. It is truly a blessing for me to be
associated with him ” says Vanitha Suresh – Director of Arohana School of Music.

“I would like to add a personal note how having access to Indian Classical Music has created so much joy and happiness in my life. We are
lucky to have events like these in Madison which I sincerely urge everyone to attend! Tickets can be purchased by contacting
suresh.
vanitha@gmail.com
.“ says the Columnist Margaret Gottlieb who is an undergraduate at the UW-Madison.