The Academy of Music presented the Chowdiah Award 2013 to Ustad Rashid Khan and M.S. Sheela at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall here on Sunday.

Minister for Railways M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who presented the awards, said he was aware that the gathering was keen on listening to Ustad Khan and Ms. Sheela, and hence would cut short his speech.

Noting that Ustad Khan of the Kirana Gharana had emerged as the numero uno vocalist, he recalled the words of praise by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi for the former.

“Pandit Joshi had said that there was at least one person in sight now, who was an assurance for the future of Indian vocal music.”

Mr. Kharge also acknowledged the contribution made by Ms. Sheela to Carnatic music.

He said by identifying these maestros, the academy had enhanced its prestige.

Besides providing a forum for musicians, the academy was supporting young artistes by extending scholarships, conducting music classes and lobby concerts.

“The academy will emerge as a preeminent centre for performing music in the country in the days to come, because of its consistent patronage for music,” he added.

Ustad Khan said the award has encouraged him to take music forward.

Ms. Sheela said the award has increased her responsibility and provided strength to further the cause of music.

G.K. Veeresh, president of the academy, said connoisseurs of music should make use of the facility extended by the academy.

“Very few have visited the instrument museum set up by the academy. The aim of the academy is to turn Bangalore into a music city,” he said

Connoisseurs savoured the music rendered by Ustad Khan and Ms. Sheela after the felicitation programme.

The award carries a purse of Rs. 1 lakh, a citation and a violin-shaped memento.

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