The last four days, some of my students were presented in Ragasudha hall in a concert series. In the late eighties and early nineties younger musicians got tons of opportunities. In the current situation I did find that it is increasingly difficult for many younger musicians to get concert opportunities. I thought getting together a series of concerts with experienced accompanists would give the boys something to think about. I am happy to say that all the four did an excellent job. They hardly discussed anything with me in advance, but they definitely did think and work hard and came up with a noteworthy performance on all four days.
The first day featured Prasanna Venkatraman with RK Shriramkumar and Neyveli Venkatesh. He is a talented youngster who was trained by Smt TR Balamani in Mumbai. He moved to Chennai and has since also had training with Shri TK Govinda Rao.
The next day featured Sandeep Narayan with MA Krishnaswamy and K Arun Prakash. Sandeep was born and brought up in Los Angeles. He learnt from his mother Smt Shubha Narayan. He also took a year long break from school and spent the time in India learning from my guru Shri Calcutta Krishnamurthi. The last few years after completing his studies he has been living here in Chennai.
The third day was V Bharath Kumar with MR Gopinath and Trichy Harikumar. Bharath is the son of musician Smt Suguna Varadachary. He has also learnt from my Guru besides learning the violin from Shri M Chandrasekharan.
The fourth day featured B Swarnarethas with S Varadarajan and P Satish Kumar. Swarnarethas had early training from Smt Indira Ramanathan. He also learnt the mrudangam from Ramanathapuram MN Kandaswamy Pillai.
Overall it was a satisfactory experience for me. It has been a long time since I went out and sat through four complete concerts on consecutive days. I must specially thank each and every one of the accompanying artistes who did a wonderful job to inspire these youngsters. I spent some thought into putting together the list of accompanists for these concerts. I wanted musicians who were popular, skilled and experienced. They also had to be people who were accompanists in the true sense of the word. They would not be big names with bloated egos who wanted to constantly remind these musicians of their stature. Instead the accompanists all played with sincerity and exuded so much warmth on stage. Everyday I could see the tension in the youngsters' faces at the beginning of the concert. Everyday I could see that as the concert progressed, they loosened up to relax and give their best. This is the inspiration that youngsters seek from senior accompanists and I am so happy that they got it from them.
Special thanks to Jaya of Ragasudha hall for giving the right ambience and to all the rasikas who came in to support this venture. Thanks are also due to Suresh and Charu of Charsur. They have recorded these concerts and will be putting them up online for people to download.