The Yagnaraman July Fest 2013 begins tomorrow in Chennai.

He may not have been an artist himself, yet he chose to devote his life to the arts. For more than five decades, he strove to establish an institution in Chennai that has today gained iconic status. The institution is Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and the man who pursued his dream was Yagnaraman, its founder and general secretary.

Yagnaraman’s far-sightedness pioneered many novel and creative ventures. The most noteworthy contribution is The All India Dance Festival and Natya Kala Conference, which brings together dancers and scholars of all styles on one platform.

Today, his legacy is carried forward by his son, Y. Prabhu, the present general secretary of the sabha. He came up with a concept to continue his father’s vision and thus was born The Yagnaraman July Fest. This week-long festival focusses on artistic collaborations in the fields of music and dance. This year, the festival will begin tomorrow (June 29), 6.45 p.m., with an interesting line-up of performances.

The inaugural show titled ‘Stories for Strings’ will see the coming together of two distinct musical styles – Indian classical and Western Classical. The artists are Jayanthi Kumaresh on the veena and Anil Srinivasan on the piano. A special segment will be dedicated to violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman. The other highlight is a fusion featuring piano and cello, played by V.R. Shekar, with Pramath Kiran on percussion.

As part of the Yagnaraman July Fest 2013, the SKGS Yagnaraman Living Legend Award will be conferred on Kathak exponent Pt. Birju Maharaj. The Yagnaraman Award of Excellence will be given to Tiruvarur Vaidhyanathan (mridangam), Embar S. Kannan (violin) and Pavitra Srinivasan (Bharatanatyam).

June 30: The Temple of Fine Arts along with National Arts Council, Singapore, presents an ensemble of over 30 musicians for ‘Damaru - the pulse of universal music.’ Revered by ancient civilisations, the ‘clang’ and the ‘boom’ of the damaru is believed to be the primordial sound in the universe. Damaru’s musical repertoire will showcase a confluence of world music and percussion.

July 1: ‘Samagat: The Synthesis’ explores the common and distinctive aspects of Kathak (Monisa Nayak) and Odissi (Arushi Mudgal).

July 2: Mridangam vidwan K.V. Prasad takes us through the stages of his musical journey --from being discovered playing the chenda as a young boy in Ernakulam to playing for rock and fusion bands and composing devotional and film music. It is titled ‘An Ode by an Aspiring Percussionist to his Father.’

July 3: Flautist B.V. Balasai and group will present a thematic programme titled “Moods of the Bamboo.”

July 4: Maestro T.V. Gopalakrishnan calls his programme ‘Nada Yagna Vyuham’, a tribute to Yagnaraman. Highlights include the main composition in Sivaranjani, an experimental rhythmic and musical composition, based on the single beat and its infinite variations.

July 5: The Ramayana comes into focus as four dancers weave an interesting narrative in ‘The Women of Ramayana.’ Ranjana Gauhar (Odissi), Uma Dogra (Kathak), Gopika Varma (Mohiniyattom) and Deepika Reddy (Kuchipudi) portray the various faces of Sita, Kaikeyi, Soorpanakha and Mandodari respectively.

July 6: The grand finale is an eclectic performance by actor Shobhana titled ‘Lotus Feet.’ She teams up with Mattanoor Shankaran Marar on the chenda, Rajhesh Vaidhya on the veena and Anil Srinivasan on the piano.

Morning session

KGS has introduced a three-day morning session on folk arts at 10.15 a.m.

The schedule is as follows:

July 1: Bommalattam by T. N. Shankaranathan and party

July 2: Pinnal kolattam by Shailaja Venkatesh and troupe of Shiva Natyalaya dance school, Peacock and Nandi dance by Madurai Muthu and party.

July 3: Vikatam by Kunniyur Kalyana Sundaram and Therukoothu by N. Subramaniya Thambirar.

For more information, call 28140806 or e-mail krishnaganasabha @gmail.com