The Sangita Kalanidhi award of the Music Academy was conferred on thavil player Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam on Friday by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Conferring the award during the Sadas, the Minister suggested that music could be propagated by teaching it as an optional subject in schools and colleges.

Mr. Chidambaram said conducting music appreciation courses in evenings could be an easy way of propagating music. Stating that there was no need for him to tell the Music Academy about the ways and means of propagating music, the Minister said the organisation could boldly venture into these areas and the effort would be appreciated.

Mr. Chidambaram wanted the Academy to groom young musicians who would match senior musicians in all forms of music by the time the institution reached its centenary milestone.

The Minister expressed happiness over the award being given to Mr. Subramaniam, who also hailed from his native district.

“Music acquired a new dimension when Valayapatti joined hands with Kunnakudi Vaidhyanathan on violin,” he added.

In his welcome address, N. Murali, Managing Director, The Hindu, and president, Music Academy, said: “It is one of the best seasons we have had for the sheer variety and quality of the performances.”

He pointed out that the response to the event was so overwhelming that several rasikas had to be accommodated in the mini auditorium for LCD screening of the concerts.

Mr. Murali also said the Academy was the first and probably the only auditorium of its kind in the city to put in place security measures such as installing metal detectors at entry points and CCTV cameras.

In his speech, Mr. Subramaniam reiterated his demand for teaching music as a subject in schools and including classical music concerts in all temple festivals.

Besides Sangita Kalanidhi award, Mr. Chidambaram presented Sangita Kala Acharya awards to Veena vidwan Trivandrum R. Venkataraman and dance guru N.S. Jayalakshmi. TTK awards were given to konnekol vidwan Tiruchi R. Thayumanavan and musician Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma. The Musicologist award was given to B.M. Sundaram.

The Minister also gave away awards to around 50 young musicians.