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Brhaddhvani’s bid to democratize Carnatic
music lauded
CHENNAI, January 08: To mark their 21 years of pioneering work in the field of music education, Brhaddhvani, a research and training centre for music, held a symposium titled ‘Brhaddvani’s Comet and Conservatories’, a new perspective in arts and education. A first of its kind exchange between conservatories, research institutions and artistes, the symposium offered a platform for scholarly discussions, lecture-demonstrations and performances.

Shri Naresh Purushotham, Trustee, welcomed the gathering and presented an overview of correlated objective music education and training (COMET) in developing musical intelligence, through process-oriented music education.

Inaugurating the symposium, Shri Anmol Vellani, Executive Director, India Foundation for Arts, said, “Brhaddhvani’s music training methodology immensely widens and diversifies the constituency of people that can connect with Carnatic music according to their different interests and abilities. Brhaddhvani has worked to expand opportunities for less privileged young people with talent to learn music the Brhaddhvani way. The issue of social justice and greater democracy is implicit in Brhaddhvani’s music education endeavors.”

The chief guest, Smt. Arundhati Nag, highlighted the research structure being conducted at Brhaddhvani in terms of voice culture, theatre, dance and the way it could help awaken an artiste or a musician. “I can only say that this helps awaken areas of improvement in the early days of training and my keen desire is to see how to bring this into theatre."

Prof. Trichy Sankaran was conferred the Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer Memorial Award “Brhad-Sangita Sethu”. The Award was presented by jointly by Shri Anmol Vellani and Smt Arundhati Nag.

Presenting the citation, Dr.K.S. Subramanian, Founder and Chairman of Brhaddhvani, said,“Trichy Sankaran symbolises COMET and is a living bridge between musical cultures.”

In his acceptance speech, Prof.Trichy Sankaran said, “it is a great privilege for me to be associated with Brhaddhvani since its inception. I will continue to associate myself with the good work of Brhaddhvani and promote its noble cause.”

The central theme of the symposium was structured education in Indian music forms. The symposium explored in detail the role of research-led training organizations such as Brhaddhvani and the scope of partnership with conservatories to preserve and propagate Indian musical traditions and heritage.

Dr. K.S. Subramanian presented the proven COMET methodology and its 12 core elements in a lecture-demo format with the assistance of artistes form other art forms along with his senior students.

In his presentation on COMET, Dr. Subramanian spoke about his journey as the 9th generation musician from the prestigious Karaikudi family of Vina vidwans who were temple and court musicians from the late 18th century.

Having perfected the COMET methodology with the Karaikudi Conservatory, the institution has since researched extensively the great Carnatic music traditions of Ariyakudi, Semmangudi, Dhanamal (T.Vishvanathan), Pinakapani, Lalgudi, and Pazhani conservatories.

This detailed study of their repertoire from archived materials, presented through COMET will facilitate the preservation and propagation of their rich tradition.

Welcoming Smt. Bombay Jayashri to the Board of Trustees, he said that her induction would bring in the fresh impetus to the ongoing research and in extending boundaries and new partnerships for the Trust.

Smt. Jayashri presented the role of Conservatories and the importance of their partnership. Her presentation was richly punctuated with rare video clips of the masters from these traditions teaching at Brhaddhvani

A student of the Lalgudi Conservatory, she said, “The beauty of COMET is the sheer empowerment it gave the student. As student anybody can learn from any master without being a direct disciple. COMET literally opens up the world and offers a platform to learn from the maestros without dilution.” The highlight of the forenoon session was a euphoric Mridangam solo by Prof. Trichy Sankaran.

The session concluded with Shri.S. Muralidharan, Trustee, proposing a vote of thanks and a spontaneous performance by Baby Nethra Rajesh, 3-1/2 years old who chanted the Durga Stotram in perfect melody and diction.

The event attracted representation from a wide cross section of Chennai’s art and music personalities, notable among them Shri. V.P. Dhananjayan, Shri.G.J.R Krishnan and V.R.Devika.