Vocalist Sudha Ragunathan, a student of the late M.L. Vasanthakumari (MLV), who has evolved a mellifluous singing style of her own, has been chosen for the Sangita Kalanidhi award of the Music Academy for 2013.
Among the first in her generation to get the prestigious award, Ms. Ragunathan was the unanimous choice of the executive committee of the Music Academy. “The award to her represents the transition from musicians from yesteryear to the next generation,” said N. Murali, president of the Music Academy.
The Natya Kala Acharya award, instituted two years ago, will go to noted Bharatanatyam exponent Chitra Visweswaran.
Ms. Ragunathan is the fourth generation of musicians from the G. N. Balasubramaniam (GNB) school to receive the award. After GNB himself, who received the award in 1958, it was MLV’s turn in 1977. In 2012, the award went to Tiruchur V. Ramachandran, another student of GNB and MLV.
“I cannot measure my happiness. I have been receiving calls and sharing the happiness,” Ms. Ragunathan told The Hindu.
A postgraduate in economics, Ms. Ragunathan learnt music first from her mother V. Chudamani, and then came under the tutelage of B.V. Raman. She also excelled in academics and won the outstanding student award three years in a row when she pursued her undergraduate studies at Ethiraj College.
“Later, a Central government scholarship brought me under the tutelage of MLV for advanced training in Carnatic music,” said Ms. Ragunathan. She was with MLV for 13 years and accompanied her in many concerts.
A Padma Shri awardee, winner of the Isai Perarignar award of the Tamil Isai Sangam and the Tamil Nadu government’s Kalaimamani, Ms. Ragunathan has won awards instituted by many of the sabhas in Chennai.
Ms. Ragunathan will preside over the 87 annual conference of the Music Academy between December 15, 2013 and January 1, 2014. She will be conferred the award at the Sadas on January 1.
Also a Padma Shri awardee, Chitra Visweswaran said she was elated to be chosen to receive one of the most coveted awards in the field of dance.
“But I am also humbled for it rings a warning bell that one cannot rest on one’s laurels and the commitment to serving this art form with devotion gains momentum,” she said.
Ms. Visweswaran learnt dance from her mother Rukmini Padmanabhan, Tiruvidaimarudur A. Rajalakshmi and Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai and said, “I have miles to go before I sleep.”
The award will be given to her at the inaugural function of the dance festival on January 3, 2014.
A press release from Mr. Murali said vocalists D. Pasupathy and Kalyani Sharma have been chosen for the Sangita Kala Acharya awards. TTK awards will go to flautist Prapancham Sitaraman and mridhangist Thanjavur Ramamoorthy and R.S. Jayalakshmi will get the musicologist award. The Pappa Venkataramaiah award will be given to H.K. Narasimhamurthy.