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Carnatic Evening: Sthree Thaal Tharang and Vidhwan D. Balakrishna

February 3, 2017

Carnatic Evening: Sthree Thaal Tharang and Vidhwan D. Balakrishna


The first in the series of the 15th East West Music and Dance Encounter 2017 concerts, as the name suggests, Sthree Thaal Tharang is an all-women ensemble led by Sukanya Ramgopal, doyenne of the ghatam, and ‘A Top’ grade artist of All India Radio apart from being empanelled by the ICCR as an ‘Outstanding Artiste’ – the topmost category for performing artistes of the country. This is the first time that a percussion instrument has come to occupy the centrestage in a Carnatic concert. Also performing on the same evening is Vidhwan D. Balakrishna, another ‘Top Grade’ artiste of All India Radio and the son and disciple of legendary veena maestro, Padmabhushana Dr. V. Doreswamy Iyengar. He will be playing veena duets alongside Vidhwan Srinivasa Prasanna, another disciple of his Sangeetha Kalanidhi father.

About Sukanya Ramgopal
sukanya-ramgopalThe Ghata Tharang is a unique idea conceptualised by Sukanya Ramgopal. Her commitment to breaking new ground has inspired her to play the Tharang with 6 ghatams of different shruthis, which correspond to a raga, thereby creating melody on a percussion instrument. Ghata Tharang concerts are a blend of traditional Carnatic pieces and special compositions especially composed by Sukanya for the Ghata Tharang.

One of the frontline musicians of India and the first woman ghatam artiste of the country, Sukanya began training in the mridangam at the tender age of 12 under the tutelage of Sri T. R. Harihara Sharma. At 17, she transitioned into the ghatam and blossomed into a ghatam artist under Sri Harihara Sharma and later under Sri Vikku Vinayakram, under who she learnt the use of all 10 fingers in creating a seamless tapestry of sound and rhythm. A technique called the ‘Ghumkhi’ is used to bring out the effect of the mridangam.

Also, by using her own special techniques, she is able to bring out different tones at different locations of the instrument. She has not only perfected the art of ghatam playing but has also achieved remarkably high standards.

With over four decades of music experience, Sukanya has mastered the unique ghatam fingering techniques and is today considered as one of the true torchbearers of the Vikku baani of ghatam playing. She is also a proficient performer on the Konnakol (vocal percussion).Sukanya hails from a family of musicians and Tamil scholars. Sukanya has provided ghatam accompaniment to several senior Carnatic musicians. Besides performances across prominent venues in India, she has also enthralled audiences in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Dubai, Singapore, Denmark and other countries.

She is also the recipient of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar, 2014.

About Vidhwan D. Balakrishna
vidhwan-d-balakrishnaVidhwan D. Balakrishna is the son and disciple of Padmabhushana Dr. V. Doreswamy Iyengar- veena artiste par excellence of the glorious Mysore school of veena playing, synonymous with the great veena Sheshanna.

As a child, he underwent rigorous training under the tutelage of his father and has given innumerable duet performances with his father as well as critically acclaimed solo performances in India and abroad. The highlights of his artistry lie in his natural flair for purity of notes, raga opulent with mellifluousness and bhava, expertise to rhythm and smoothness of style. He enjoys the distinction of performing as a ‘Top Grade’ artiste of All India Radio and brought laurels to Karnataka by performing numerous national programmes on AIR and Doordarshan. Apart from solo concerts, he has played numerous jugalbandhis/ duets with eminent artistes.

Balakrishna aims at preserving and sustaining the authentic classicism of the Mysore veena tradition (Mysore Baani). As a part of this endeavour he is grooming disciples of whom several are currently well known AIR artistes and concert performers. He obtained his M.Sc degree from Bangalore University and currently works as an officer with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

About The 15th East West Music and Dance Encounter 2017
Beginning from February 4, 2017, to commemorate the birth anniversary of the BSM’s Late Founder, Mrs Aruna Sunderlal, EWMD 2017 will be a month-long celebration of the best of classical and contemporary music and dance by over a 100 globally-reputed artistes; both Indian and western and will be held at multiple venues spread across Bangalore to make it a truly city-wide celebration. Entry to some events are ticketed while for others it is either free or through special passes. Like all its predecessors, EWMD-2017, too will be a celebration of the spirit of Music from the East and West and will feature grand inaugural and closing concerts, solo recitals, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and dialogues between artistes.

The East-West Music and Dance Festival was initiated in 1990 with an organizing committee comprising of experts from both the Indian and Western Classical Music/Dance scene like world-renowned Scientist and Pianist-par-excellance, Dr. Raja Ramanna, Vainika Dr. Doraiswamy Iyengar, Scholar Shri. B. V. K Shastry and other luminaries, including a representative from the Dept. of Kannada and Culture, Government of India, and local music activists. Indian Council for Cultural Relations(ICCR) has supported the Festival since its inception, through their invaluable help with overseas artistes’ participation. This year we are especially grateful to the Consulates of Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, Germany and France for their support and assistance in artiste co-ordination and hospitality.

Artistes from several countries come together to participate in scintillating Concerts of exceptional brilliance, while Seminars and Panel Discussions on relevant topics bring a better understanding of the cultures of the East and West, workshops and master-classes by the performing artistes, ensure that global music standards of performance and technique are transferred to student musicians to mould them into the next generation of performing artistes and thereby the cycle of growth and evolution and growth continues.

By the end of each Festival, cultural boundaries are melted down, perceptions are bridged and new doors of understanding and friendship are thrown open.

Past artistes have included Odissi danseuse, the Late Protima Gauri Bedi, Saxophonist, Dr. Kadri Gopalnath, Veena Exponent, Dr. V. Doraiswamy Iyengar, Hungarian-American Pianist, Lydia Orias, Canadian Soprano, Audrey Leonard Borschel, Swedish Soprano, Helen Larsson, Dr. Suma Sudhindra, Dr. Madhu Natraj and STEM Theatre Dancers, Grammy Awardee, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Tabla Maestro, Dr, Zakir Hussain, Sarod Virtuoso, Amjad Ali Khan, Indian-born Austrian Pianist and Professor, Marialena Fernandes, French Bassoonist, David Chukrov, French Opera Singers, Aude Priya Wicziarg and Jane Camillioni, The Bangalore School of Music Chamber Orchestra, The Bangalore School of Music Choral Ensemble, Bharatnatyam expert, Vani Ganapathy, Guitarist, Konarak Reddy, Violinist, Dr. L. Subramaniam, World Fusion jazz Ensemble, MoonArra, French Celebrity Pianist, Marouan Benabdallah, Duo Sirocco of France and Puducherry Woodwinds, American Guitarist, Rebecca Miller and many more Western and Indian Artistes of repute.

Spread across venues as varied as varied as Guru Nanak Bhavan, Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium (Bangalore School of Music) St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Jagriti Theatre (Whitefield) St Mark’s Cathedral, St Andrew’s Church, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, aPaulogy Gallery, EWMD2017 will span the length and breadth of Bangalore, thereby hoping to take the Festival to just about everyone.

Tickets are available on as well as at the BSM (080-41285017:Monday through Saturday, 11:00am to 7:00pm)

This concert will be held on Sunday 5th February 2017 at 7:00pm

at Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium
The Bangalore School of Music
8 HMT/ HBCS Layout
CBI Main Road
R.T Nagar,
Bangalore 560032

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