CLEVELAND, Ohio: One of the biggest festivals of Indian classical music outside India, the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival, will be held in Cleveland beginning April 1. It will last 12 days under the auspices of the Aradhana Committee, a group of volunteers who work closely with various other Carnatic music organizations in the United States and Canada to bring artists for the festival.
It was first celebrated in 1978 and this time it will mark its 38th year of continuity.
Expectations are that there will be 8000 plus attendees during the course of the festival with the first day getting in about 2000 of them.
The Aradhana Committee, a non-profit organization responsible for organization of this Festival, includes President R. Balasubramaniam, Co-founder/Secretary V.V. Sundaram, Co-founder/Vice-President Gomathy Balasubramaniam, Treasurers Roger and Jaya Natarajan, K. Venkataraman, among others
The committee has 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 an offering to the presiding deity of the seven hills, Lord Venkateswara. The second program will be dedicated to the memory of two of the greatest exponents of Indian Classical Arts namely the musicians’ musician Sangeetha Kala Sagaram Prof. T.R. Subrahmanyam and the violin legend Sangeetha Rathnakara Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan.
It will include over 200 celebrity artistes in over 85 concerts; including Carnatic Symphony, a fusion of Western music orchestra with Carnatic music presented by about 100 talented children of various nationalities and conducted by K.N.Shashikiran.
Music and Bharathanatyam dance competitions will also form part of this Festival which will also bestow various music and dance awards, like Sangeetha Rathnakara, Nrithya Rathnakara, Sangeetha Kala Sagaram, Nrithya Kala Sagaram, etc and organize educational programs, including “The Glory of Lord Venkateswara”.
Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended the Festival organizers, volunteers and the Cleveland area community for piecing together such a wonderful event showcasing heritage and tradition of classical music and dance of India and Hinduism, including a musical offering to Lord Venkateswara praising his glory.
Rajan indicated that the elements of musical theory were first found in ancient Sama-Veda. By tradition, the dance was invented by Lord Shiva who first danced the cosmic Tandava. Zed urged Ohio Governor John R. Kasich to issue an official proclamation marking this unique and prestigious Festival.