Classical Arts Plans Centenary Tribute to MS. Subbulakshmi for its Annual Spring Festival


By Vivek Natarajan

HOUSTON: Classical Arts Society of Houston will be presenting its annual spring festival for 2016 on April 2 and 3. The venue for the April 2 is the Kalyana Mantapam of Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland and April 3 is the Stafford Civic Center in Stafford. These events on both dates are free and open to the public.

This year is the centenary of the legendary singer late Srimathi.M.S. Subbulakshmi (MSS) who was well known across India and beyond for her classical music drenched in devotion (bhakti), characterized by a remarkable fidelity to the pitch (shruthi suddam) and emotive appeal (bhava). Her appeal was pan Indian and she was awarded the Bharath Ratna, the highest civilian honor from the Government of India. MSS and her husband, late Sri Sadasivam were also notable philanthropists and had generously donated much of the concert proceeds to charity in the truest spirit of altruism and community welfare.

This festival has been conceived and curated by the renowned music critic and playwright Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan in her capacity as the Artistic Director of 2016 Houston Spring Festival of Classical Arts Society. Gowri is the grandniece of MSS and had the privilege of accompanying  her in music concerts. Gowri has worked with the board members of Classical Arts Society and the local music teachers in developing the event plans.

The first day of the festival on April 2 at Meenakshi temple in Pearland will feature groups of children singing Shlokams and Bhajans popularized by MSS like Ganesha Pancharatnam, and Venkatesha Suprabhatham among others. Then, it will be the turn of local music groups led by renowned teachers like Anuradha Subramanian, Rajarajeshwary Bhat, Chandrakantha Courtney, Chitra Dharmarajan, Manjula Rao, and Sridevi Joysula. These groups will cover classical composers like Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshithar, Syama Sastri, Purandaradasa, Annam Acharya, Arunagiri Nathar, Vallalar, P. Thooran, Ramaswamy Pillai, Swati Tirunal, Mirabai and Kabirdas.  This will be followed by a Venu-Veena concert by Shanthala Subramanyam (Venu – Flute), Vishal Sapuram (Chitraveena), Melakaveri Balaji (Mridangam), and Sukanya Ramgopal (Ghatam).

The second day of the festival, Apr 3 at Stafford civic center features a concert by V. Sankaranarayanan (Vocal), B.V. Raghavendra Rao (Violin), Tanjore Murugaboopathy (Mridangam), and Shree Sundar Kumar (Kanjira). This will be followed by a Children’s Tableau with audience interaction. Then it is time for the grand finale event titled Born to sing, on the life of Smt. MS Subbulakshmi. This is a concept presented and narrated by Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan and will feature Aditya Prakash and Shushma Somasekharan (Vocals),Shreya Devnath( Violin), R. Thiagarajan( Flute), and Ramesh Babu( Mridangam). The Classical Arts Society of Houston invites one and all for these great musical events.

For details please check the website