Sustaining Sampradaya 2018 — Announcement

The 41st year Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is scheduled to start on Wednesday March 28, 2018. We have put together two programs for Sustaining Sampradaya that include some of the greatest compositions of Carnatic music in some of the most enchanting ragas.

The first program is a tribute to one of the greatest dancers of all time, Smt. T. Balasaraswathi whose centenary year is 2018. The second program will be dedicated to the memory of Dr M.L. Vasanthakumari.

Sustaining Sampradaya — The Music of Dance

Inaugural Concert
Saturday March 31, 2018; 4:00pm–6:30pm

  1. Slokam — Subrahmanya Bhujangam
  2. Mohamana (Pada Varnam) — Bhairavi, Adi, Ponniah Pillai
  3. Devi Sri Thulasamma — Mayamalavagowlai, Adi, Thyagaraja
  4. Kanthimathi — Kalyani, Roopakam, Subbarama Dikshitar
  5. Ramakatha sudha — Madhyamavathi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  6. Gopala bala (Swarajathi) — Dhanyasi, Adi, Ponniah Pillai
  7. Maamava sada janani — Kanada, Roopakam, Swathi Thirunal
  8. Neelaayathaakshi — Paras, Khanda thriputa, Syama Sastri
  9. Karunananda — Neelambari, Adi, Kumara Ettendra
  10. Amba paradevathe — Rudrapriya, Khanda chapu, Krishnaswamy Ayya
  11. Sami Ni Rammanave (Varnam) — Khamas, Adi, Ponniah Pillai
  12. Atharkulle en intha pathattam — Panthuvarali, Mishra chapu, Subbarama Iyer
  13. Bala vinave — Kambodhi, Thisra thriputa, Kshetragna
  14. Mogadocchi — Sahana, Mishra chapu, Kshetragna
  15. Meragadu — Athana, Adi, Pattabhiramayya
  16. Thillana — Yadukulakambodhi, Khanda thriputa, Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar

Sustaining Sampradaya — Tribute to M.L. Vasanthakumari

Monday April 2, 2018; 4:00pm–6:30pm

  1. Saami ninne kori (Varnam) — Suddha Thodi, Adi, Kottavasal Venkatarama Iyer
  2. Sri Mahaganapathe — Abogi, Khanda chapu, N.S. Ramachandran
  3. Apparamabhakthi — Panthuvarali, Roopakam, Thyagaraja
  4. Ra ra Rajeeva lochana — Mohanam, Adi, Thyagaraja
  5. Neerajakshi — Hindolam, Roopakam, Dikshitar
  6. Ethuta nilachithe — Sankarabharanam, Adi, Thyagaraja
  7. Shashivadana — Chandrajyothi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  8. Chesinadella — Thodi, Adi, Thyagaraja
  9. Panchashadpeeta — Karnataka Devagandhari, Adi, Dikshitar
  10. Paramapurusham — Lalithapanchamam, Khanda chapu, Swathi Thirunal
  11. Malmaruga Guha Saravanabhava Vadivel Shanmugane (Pallavi in 5 nadais) — Bhairavi
  12. Sanchara Dadhara (Ashtapadi) — Ragamalika, Adi, Jayadeva
  13. Paarkadal alai mele — Ragamalika, Adi, Udumalaipettai Narayana Kavi
  14. Nee illaal ini yaar ennai — Kanada, Adi, G.N. Balasubramanian
  15. Baaro Krishnayya — Ragamalika, Adi, Kanaka Dasa
  16. Thillana — Revathi, Mishra chapu, Lalgudi G. Jayaraman

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 16, 2017. The above panel will select the performers out of the pool of applicants, and these will be notified by October 29th.

Early Admission: If you apply before September 25, we will fast track your application process (including the interview process if you are a first timer) and let you know the decision by October 10. This gives you a better chance of being part of the Sustaining Sampradaya program.

Training by India-based vidwans will begin on November 4, 2017. There will be a minimum of 2 classes per week. We will be using video conferencing or other Internet-based tools for imparting training.

Additionally, individual coaching will be given once 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 29, 2018.

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:

810 Newcastle Street
Saline, MI 48176-8869

Please write your name and the words "SS Dance" or "SS MLV" 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:

  • The Music of Dance — US $1,700 per person
  • Tribute to M.L. Vasanthakumari — US $1,700 per person

The fees are payable on or before November 1, 2017.

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 2017 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