The 83rd annual conference and concerts of the Music Academy opened on Tuesday with International Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand making a strong case for exposure to chess and music at an early age.
“It is important that children are given a chance to discover latent talents. I have seen children who are exposed to chess develop certain skills that complement academics. Similarly learning music and the performing arts can only strengthen the Indian roots and make children more open to imbibing cultural influences,” he said while inaugurating the conference.
The conference elected thavil maestro Valyapatti A.R.Subramaniam as the president, who will be conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi title of the Music Academy on January 1, 2010.
Mr.Anand presented the Sangita Kalanidhi M.S.Subbulakshmi Award instituted by The Hindu to Mr.Subramaniam. The award carries Rs.1 lakh and a citation.
In a speech loaded with comparison between chess and music, Mr.Anand said like chess which had to be in constant contact with broader public, music also should be adapted to the times.
“Use of western instruments has been adapted to the Carnatic style and then used as its own, all the while retaining the essence and soul,” he pointed out.
Stating that he would often use music to relax before a game, the Chess champion wondered how musicians would cope with the pressure.
“Perhaps they could unwind with a game of chess,” he quipped.
Mr.Anand said although computers and technology had helped in understanding and propagation of the art, it was the human angle and the intensity of the performance that would drew a person to the artist’s soul.
N. Murali, the president of the Music Academy said this year the organisation had broken new ground on quite a few counts.
He said for the first time ever in the annals of its 80 year old history a sportsperson had inaugurated the music festival while a thavil vidwan had been chosen for Sangita Kalanidhi.
“The Academy has thus come a very long way from its stance during its early years that upa-pakkavadyams were not necessary for a concert and were allowed in a concert only after 1947,” he explained.
Valayapatti Subramaniam used the occasion to make an appeal to the Tamil Nadu Government to install the statues of vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi and nagaswaram player Thiruvavaduthurai N. Rajarathinam Pillai in Chennai.
Besides urging the government to introduce music in school curriculum, he wanted the classical and folk performances instead of light music in all the temples under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.
Sangita Kalanidhis Flute N.Ramani and vocalist Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan and secretaries of the Academy K.V.Krishna Prasad and N.Ramji participated.
Keywords: Music Academy, 83rd annual conference, World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, N. Murali, thavil maestro. Valyapatti Subramaniam, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Thiruvavaduthurai N. Rajarathinam Pillai, rasikas, Sangita Kalanidhis, Carnatic music