Sustaining Sampradaya 2013 — Announcement

The 30th year Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival held on April 7, 2007 made musical history. Thirty young Indian-Americans, the Sustaining Sampradaya group, trained by some of the leading vidwans of Carnatic music, gave a spellbinding concert to a packed auditorium on the inaugural day. Again, all concerts in the succeeding years by the Sustaining Sampradaya group were received to critical acclaim.

The 36th year Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is scheduled to start on Thursday March 28, 2013 and will be dedicated to the memory of two of the greatest exponents of Indian Classical Arts namely, the natyacharya Sri K.P. Kittappa Pillai, and Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, 2013 being the centenary year of the former, and the bicentennial of the latter. Both adhered strictly to the classicism of Carnatic music and dance, and yet shaped and defined the art in their own inimitable way and left an indelible mark.

With these themes in mind, the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival offers you the following opportunities.

Sustaining Sampradaya — Music of Dance

Inaugural Concert
Saturday March 30, 2013; 4:00pm–6:30pm

Natyacharya Sri K.P. Kittappa Pillai is a direct descendant of the Tanjore Quartet (Chinnaiah, Ponnaiah, Vadivelu, and Sivanandam) who were disciples of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar. Vadivelu was the asthana vidwan for Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and codified Mohini Attam. Chinnaiah went to the Wodeyar court at Mysore, and the other two remained at Tanjore. The four, hailing from a nattuvanar family, codified the Bharathanatyam paddhathi. Sri K.P. Kittappa Pillai is an ardent devotee of this tradition.

The Aradhana Committee, in consultation with senior vidwans and vidushis, has put together a very special concert invoking memories of this great natyacharya.

  1. Roopamu joochi (Varnam) — Thodi, Ata, Muthuswamy Dikshitar
  2. Pahi mam Sri Rajarajeshwari — Janaranjani, Adi, Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer
  3. Cheraravadhe — Reethigowlai, Adi, Thyagaraja
  4. Akhilandeshwari — Dwijavanthi, Adi, Dikshitar
  5. Nee Arulayo (Swarajathi) — Bhairavi, Adi, Ponniah Pillai
  6. Ma Janaki — Kambodhi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  7. Nannu brova — Abogi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  8. Sami ninne kori (Varnam) — Navaragamalika, Roopakam, Ponniah Pillai
  9. Natanam Adinar — Vasantha, Roopakam, Gopalakrishna Bharathi
  10. Iddari Sanduna — Kalyani, Mishra chapu, Kshetragna
  11. Choodare — Sahana, Mishra chapu, Kshetragna
  12. Samayamidhe — Behag, Roopakam, Patnam Subramania Iyer
  13. Unnai dhoothu — Saveri, Adi, Ganam Krishna Iyer
  14. Naari mani — Khamas, Adi, Dharmapuri Subbarayar
  15. Thillana by Lalgudi Jayaraman

Dance interpretation for each of the above items will be by senior dancers. Music training will be by senior vidwans and vidushis.

Sustaining Sampradaya — The Classics

Monday April 1, 2013; 6:45pm–9:15pm

Certain compositions are evergreen and have withstood the test of time. These demand musical knowledge of the highest order from the performer. They also have to be delivered with the highest level of creativity and subtle nuances. They bring out the complete beauty of the raga in which they were composed, and when properly performed, leave a deep sense of satisfaction even to the uninitiated.

The Aradhana Committee, with the active involvement of senior musicians, has put together a concert around such compositions which bring out the emotional and musical genius of some of the greatest composers.

  1. Chalamela (Varnam) — Natakurinji, Adi, Srirangam Rangaswamy Nattuvanar
  2. Sri Narada — Kanada, Roopakam, Thyagaraja
  3. Enthara — Harikambodhi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  4. Deva Deva Jagadeeshwara — Poorvikalyani, Adi, Swathi Thirunal
  5. Anudinamu — Begada, Roopakam, Patnam Subramania Iyer
  6. Ranganayakam — Nayaki, Adi, Dikshitar
  7. Biranavara — Kalyani, Adi, Syama Sastri
  8. Kaligiyunte — Keeravani, Adi, Thyagaraja
  9. Valaputhala — Athana, Mishra chapu, Swathi Thirunal
  10. Yera rara — Khamas, Adi, Dharmapuri Subbarayar
  11. Sri Viswanatham bhajeham — Chathurdasa Ragamalika, Adi, Dikshitar
  12. Koluvaiyunnade — Devagandhari, Adi, Thyagaraja
  13. Ela radha — Bhairavi, Adi, Chinnaiah
  14. Thiruppugazh
  15. Bujaga sayino — Yadukulakambodhi, Roopakam, Swathi Thirunal

Training will be spearheaded by senior vidwans and vidushis.

The Process

Please note that these two concerts will lay a lot of emphasis on raga elaboration, kalpana swaram and other aspects of manodharmam. We plan to give fairly rigorous training on these besides giving the participants a very authentic and traditional version of the krithis.

Smt. Suguna Varadachari will have the overall responsibility for supervising the participants' musical progress in both streams. She will be in the US about 4 weeks before the Festival to monitor each and every one's progress. In this, she will be assisted by a team of other musicians.

The concert format will be set by a panel of senior vidwans which will include vocalists, violinists, veena vidwans, flute artists and percussion instrumentalists.

The total number of performers for each of these programs will be limited and will include vocalists and accompanists. Although this will be a group performance, we think that there will still be scope to exhibit individual talent.

Expression of interest should be received by the Aradhana Committee no later than October 14, 2012. The above panel will select the performers out of the pool of applicants, and these will be notified by October 28th.

Training by India-based vidwans will begin on November 3, 2012. There will be a minimum of 2 classes per week. We will be using Highspeed Conferencing or other Internet-based tools for imparting training.

Additionally, individual coaching will be given one a week by a musician from India, covering the weekend classes. This coaching will be during weekdays at a mutually convenient time. This allows the vidwan/vidushi to personally assess the progress made and the potential.

If you are interested, please note that you should be ready to invest your time both for the classes as well as for practice. This commitment has to begin in early November and has to continue up till the festival. The final rehearsal will be in Cleveland on Thursday March 28, 2013.

How to Apply

If you would like to be considered for participation in one or both of these concerts, there is a two-step process to follow:

Step 1: Application Information

Please email Gopi Sundaram ( the following:

  • Completed application form. Please download the form, and fill out all fields. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • An audition recording in MP3 format, consisting of an introduction and your performance. The introduction (maximum 2 minutes) should give your name, city, state, and what you are trying to highlight in the performance. This should be followed by a performance not exceeding 10 minutes. Both should be in the same file, in MP3 format (maximum 12 minutes).

The audition recording is not necessary if you have participated in an earlier Sustaining Sampradaya program.

Please email both the completed application form and the audition recording (if necessary) to Gopi Sundaram (

Step 2: Application Fee

There is a non-refundable application fee of US $100 per concert. The check should be made payable to the Aradhana Committee, and mailed to the following address:

4 Cranbury Brook Drive
Millstone Twp NJ 08535-8156

Please write your name and the words "Music of Dance" or "The Classics" on the face of the check at an appropriate place.

How the Selection Works

The selection process will be handled entirely by the India-based senior vidwans and vidushis, and their decision will be final. No member of the Aradhana Committee will be a part of the decision-making process.

If you are accepted by the panel to participate in any of the performances, we will immediately inform you about all the modalities of the training process. These include class schedules, concert items with ragas and talams, assignment of Vidwans for training, online availability of the teaching material, et cetera.

Please note that the vidwans who will impart the training are musicians of great eminence and repute, and we expect that the participants be sensitive to this great honor.

If you are selected and if you accept our offer, there will be a training fee which is:

  • Music of Dance — US $1,600 per person
  • The Classics — US $1,600 per person

The fees are payable on or before November 1, 2012.

We recognize that the training process is going to be intense and rigorous, but we also know that it is a very unique way to attain musical proficiency of high caliber in a very short time. Based on our experience with the previous years' concerts, we are confident that the 2013 concerts will also prove to be memorable.

We had an overwhelming response for this initiative in the past, and I hope that you will choose to respond to this year's initiative also in a similarly positive way.

V V Sundaram