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Music Academy's award winners

THE TITLE of Sangeetha Kalacharya is being conferred on senior guru and musician Rukmini Rajagopalan and Bharatanatyam guru V. P. Dhananjayan by the Music Academy on January 4, 2005 at the conclusion of its 78th annual conference.

Rukmini, born on December 11, 1913, in Mayavaram, Tamil Nadu, seriously pursued Carnatic music with the support and encouragement of her husband T. V. Rajagopalan who was a secretary of the Academy for many years.

Rukmini has had the benefit of receiving guidance from Parur Sundaram Iyer and learning Papanasam Sivan's compositions directly from him. She has been an approved artiste of AIR since its inception in the 1930s.

She gave her inaugural concert at the Music Academy in 1943, and has performed in all leading cultural institutions throughout the country. Her Navagraha kritis and Tiruppugazh recorded by Radio Singapore are very popular even today. She popularised the concept of group singing through "Gananjali" comprising her students.

A reputed guru for more than six decades, she has trained a number of students including her daughters, granddaughters, Sreeram Gangadharan and Sanjay Subramaniam. Rukmini has been specially inspired by the Dhanammal tradition of music for its lucidity and tradition and the G. N. Balasubramaniam "bani" for its vibrant, spontaneous imaginative music.

V.P. Dhananjayan

V. P. Dhananjayan, son of A. Rama Poduwal and Madhaviamma was born in Payyanur, Kerala, in 1939. Blessed with artistic talent, he entered the enviable portals of Rukmini Devi's Kalakshetra in 1953. He took his diploma and post graduate diploma in Kathakali and Bharatanatyam with distinction and served his alma mater as a performing artiste and guru till 1968. He was the leading dancer in the Kalakshetra dance drama productions and became synonymous with the character Sri Rama in the Ramayana series of Kalakshetra.

Dhananjayan founded the dance school Bharatakalanjali in 1968 along with his wife Shanta, also a brilliant product of Kalakshetra. They have produced several internationally acclaimed dance operas. ``The Cultural Panorama of Tamizh Nadu'' when M. G. Ramachandran was Chief Minister won special recognition for the couple. Several other honours have come the way of the Dhananjayans including Kalaimamani, Nrityachoodamani, M. A. Chidambaram Charity Trust Award etc., They have trained numerous students in the art of dance, who are making impressive marks within the country and abroad. The Dhananjayans have served the cause of talented needy children by imparting free training of Bharatanatyam to help them get well settled in life pursuing the art as a profession.

Bharatakalanjali and Bhaskara founded by this dedicated couple are standing testimony for their vision, integrity and cultural ethos.

Rukmini Ramani

The daughter of the illustrious composer, Papanasam Sivan, known as Tamizh Tyagaraja for the divine quality of his songs, Rukmani Ramani who is being presented the Vaggeyakara award by the Music Academy has had a successful career as a guru, musicologist, organizer, performer and composer. Academically brilliant, she has several degrees to her credit and also a Ph.D for her thesis on the life and works of Papanasam Sivan. As a teacher, she has worked with Kalakshetra, Sri Ramakrishna Mission Saradha Vidyalaya, Tamil Nadu Govt. Music Training College, and India Gandhi centre for Indian Culture, Mauritius. She has founded a music school, Sivan Arts Academy, that has three branches in Chennai and over 500 students learning vocal classical, veena, violin, mridangam keyboard, guitar and dance. She has published books on the basics of Carnatic Music, theory, and father Papanasam Sivan's compositions. Rukmani has completed a thesis on the life and works of Gopalakrishna Bharati under a Senior Fellowship programme by the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. She has produced several audio volumes in various musical forms, and is an `A' grade artiste of All India Radio. Composer of more than 1000 songs that are available in audio cassettes sung by popular artistes, Rukmani has also published these songs as books titled "Siva Sakthi Keerthanai malai" in 5 volumes. Her operas include "Bhakta Meera", "Valli Kalyanam, "Srinivasa Kalyanam", etc.

T.R. Balamani

T. R. Balamani, who also receives the T.T.K. award from the Academy, was born in 1936 to Sri Ramanatha Iyer and Panchanayaki Ammal in Thattamangalam, Palghat Dt., Kerala. Having had her under Tiruppunithura Narayanan Bhagavatar, she joined the Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras, and came under the expert guidance of none other than Musiri Subramania Iyer.

She received the Govt. of India Research Scholarship in 1959 and continued her training with T. K. Govinda Rao and K. S. Venkataraman, Musiri's disciples. Her natural talent was fine-tuned by Tiruppambaram Swaminatha Pillai, Chittor Subramania Pillai, T. Brinda, Devakottai Narayana Iyengar and M. K. Kalyana Krishna Bagavatar Bent more on a teaching than performing profession, Balamani used all her innate artistic strengths to train deserving youngsters to become front ranking performers in their own right.

She has received many honours and titles including the prestigious. ``Bharat Ratna M. S. Sublakshmi Best Teacher Award from the Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai. Her students include Susheela Raman, Lakshmi Rajagopal, Bombay Jaishree, Vasumathi Badrinathan, Ranjani Chander, Shankar Mahadevan and others.

Anayampattai S. Ganesan

Anayampatti S. Ganesan, recipient of the TTK Award for Excellence hails from an illustrious musical family and is perhaps one of the very few who have taken to Jalatharangam as a profession.

He is also a commendable player on the violin and a competent vocalist. He was a staff artiste of AIR, Pondicherry, and is categorised in the `A' grade.

It was Sri Chandrekhara Saraswathi of Kamakoti Peetam, Kanchi who advised him to pursue the almost disappearing art of Jalatharangam, as that was his family treasure.

He two elder brothers S. Kuppuswamy and S. Dhandapani were renowned Jalatharangam vidwans.

Ganesan has performed under the aegis of many sabhas and institutions throughout India and abroad.

His audio classettes for many recording companies such as HMV, Sangeetha, Inreco etc. have received wide acclaim Sangeetha Natak Akademi, New Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Centre of Arts, Iyal Isai Nataka Manram, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Sampradaya, Chennai have recorded his music for their archives.

He has accompanied many stalwarts like Chembai Vaidyanatha Bagavatar, Sathoor A. G. Subramaniam, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Dr. S. Ramanathan and other instrumental greats on the violin. He has served as a visiting Professor for vocal in Annamalai University Chidambaram.

He is a meritorious guru in the sphere of Jalatharangam.

He is the recepient of the T.T.K. award by the Music Academy this year.


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