by ........ Sivapriya Krishnan
The Madras Music Academy, to repeat ad nauseam, is the "Mecca" of music in the cultural map of South Indian classical music. The Music season actually starts only when the Academy starts, however much other institutions may have started. The Academy being what it is, has a stiff twin objective to meet in providing for the entertainment value without shortchanging the content.
Artists are in queue to get a slot to sing and more so in queue to get onto the next senior slot, which actually tells the public about their elevated status. The Academy was one of the earliest,probably one of the first to announce the schedule of concerts for this December season of 2011.
The schedule of concerts did reveal the meaning of one old adage : " the old order changeth, yielding place to new" !
The seniors have given place to the juniors, the veterans have given place to the seniors, fathers have given place to sons/ daughters, senior disciples have given place to junior disciples while some have remained untouched .
Keeping with the tradition of an inaugural concert by a Sangita Kalanidhi,this time the series begins with Smt.R.Vedavalli. The morning slots, traditionally a veterans' bastion sees the inclusion for the first time of the maestro-veteran Sri.T.N.Seshagopalan. TNS Krishna sings in the evening for the first time this year. Young ladies doing Harikatha have always attracted huge crowds and this year the morning has been handed over to young Suchitra, grand-daughter of the veteran Harikatha artist Kamala Murthy. Neyveli Santhanagopalan sings in the morning and his daughter Sriranjani in the afternoon.
Artists like Shertalai Ranganatha Sharma and Manda Sudharani have proved over the years and plodded their way into the evening senior bastion. The shining stars among the young seniors like Gayatri Venkatraghavan, Sikkil Gurucharan, Abhishek Raghuram, Savita Narasimhan have got their due. The senior seniors like Sanjay Subramaniam, Vijay Siva, Unnikrishnan, TM Krishna have their places intact. The "senior ladies quartette", comprising Bombay Jayasree, Nityasree, Sudha Raghunathan andd Aruna Sairam, who continue to attract large crowds and good gate collections have their places intact and remain untouched. Some new juniors have been given a warm welcome to prove thier mettle.
Just as it is important for any musician to be slotted in the Academy, it is also a dauntingly important task for the programming committee at the Academy to balance the schedule , keeping in mind the need for
(a) attracting new talent,
(b) preserving veteran art,
(c) encouraging and promoting juniors to seniors and shaping them for posterity
(d) balancing entertainment and economic viability through gate collections
all with utmost impartial judgement and clear substantiation.
In this the Academy officials as organisers have proved that with ample thought and clear thinking, a well balanced schedule can be drawn which meets up with most requirement parameters on hand. Lets usher in the season of 2011!