The 33rd 'Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana' was inaugurated by His Holiness Ganapati Sachchidananda Swami on April 3, 2010, at the Waetjen Auditorium, Cleveland State University (CSU) in the downtown area here. This year's festival celebrates the Centenary Year of the late maestro G.N. Balasubramaniam (GNB) and includes many programmes that highlight his impact on and contributions to Carnatic music. Trichur V. Ramachandran, senior musician and prime disciple of GNB, Charummathi Ramachandran and Sudha Raghunathan are some of the main representatives of the GNB school of music at the festival.
At the inaugural function, Swami Ganapati Sachchidananda presented the awards instituted by the Aradhana Committee to the 2010 recipients: Radha Viswanathan - Kala Chandrika, Sudha Raghunathan - Sangeeta Ratnakara, K. Kalyanasundaram - Nritya Ratnakara, D. Pasupati - Acharya Ratnakara, Charumathi Ramachandran - Sangeeta Kala Sagaram, Vaidyanatha Krishnan (Coimbatore) - Seva Ratna, Prema Kumar (Jacksonville, FL) - Kala Seva Mani, Sudha D. Chandrasekhar (Oak Park, MI) - Nritya Seva Mani, Roopa Mahadevan (San Jose, CA) - Kala Ratna, Anuradha Sridhar's Trinity Center for Music, Saratoga, CA - Best Music School, Toronto B. Gowrishankar - Best Teacher.
Sudha Raghunathan, on her eighth consecutive year at the festival, performed to a packed auditorium on Sunday morning. Says Ms. Raghunathan, “It was especially gratifying to receive the award and to be a part of the Aradhana this year, as it also happens to be my guru, M.L. Vasanthakumari's 80th year. When I was invited by V.V. Sundaram [co-ordinator of the Aradhana] all those years ago, I was very excited as it was a much-coveted event. Over the years, that has changed to an experience of a shared bond and I always want to contribute in a personal way to the success and growth of the festival.”
Daughter of the legendary musician M.S. Subbulakshmi, Radha Viswanathan, will perform a special memorial concert titled 'Anda Nalum Vandhidatho' with her grand-daughter, S. Aishwarya.
Other leading artistes at the festival are Trichur V. Ramachandran, T.N. Seshagopalan, Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Charumathi Ramachandran, Chitravina N. Ravikiran, S. Sowmya, T.M. Krishna and many more. For the full schedule, please visit: http://www.aradhana.org/schedule.html
Arguably the biggest Indian classical music festival outside India, the 'Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana' was first celebrated in 1978. Today, it has burgeoned into a 10-12 day festival typically beginning during the Easter weekend with a packed schedule of music and dance performances apart from absorbing lecture-demonstrations and workshops. The Aradhana Committee, comprising a group of volunteers (led by V.V. Sundaram, Cleveland Balasubramaniam and Toronto Venkataraman) works with various Carnatic music organisations in the United States and Canada to bring artistes to the festival. This year, the Committee has flown in approximately 80 artistes from India. Boasting a staggering 8,000 attendees to the festival and around 2,000 in the first weekend alone, the Aradhana Committee also provides for accommodation, food and other logistics for the artistes and attendees.
The Cleveland Aradhana has also generated considerable interest among a large student population passionate about Indian arts. U.S.-born Indian children participate in the various competitions held the day before the inauguration. Each year, the categories get more competitive, evident with the abundant talent on display. The Aradhana has also seen the birth of the concept 'Sustaining Sampradaya', where U.S.-born Indian children interact with senior artistes from India and are trained to perform in an orchestra, a welcome addition to the popular festival.
Normally a 10-day festival, the 2010 Aradhana will be extended by two days and will conclude on April 12.