Visakha Music Academy’s 44th six-day annual festival of music and dance took off on colourful note at Kalabharati on Tuesday. Carnatic classical music maestro Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna inaugurated the festival and honoured whistle wizard K. Siva Prasad with the academy’s Kalaimamani Dr. Saraswathi Memorial Award.
Speaking on the occasion in a voice choked with emotion, Dr. Balamurali termed Saraswathi, who recently passed away, as an artiste of exceptional calibre and a great persona on several counts of excellence. Responding to honour, Mr. Sivaprasad fondly recalled his close association with Saraswathi and how it paved the way for his growth, particularly in the genre of Rabindra Sangeeth.
Also, Dr. Balamurali gave away the Sangeetha Aacharya award and felicitated noted mridangist Vanakayala Narasimham. The award instituted in memory of Kanakadandi Venkata Ratnam and Satyanarayana Murthy, carries cash of Rs. 10,000 and a memento.
The academy’s award for outstanding service was presented to Ch. Satyanand, while violinist M. Neeladri Rao received artiste of distinction award. Vocalist of promise M.P.S. Ravali received the best concert award of the mid-year series of the academy and the commendation awards of the series were given away to Mula Srilatha, S.V. Subbalakshmi and Akella Padmaja.