T.M. Krishna Bestowed with Prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi; Neena Prasad Bags Nritya Kalanidhi Honor


In a striking acknowledgment of his contributions to carnatic music, acclaimed vocalist T.M. Krishna, has been named the recipient of the coveted Sangita Kalanidhi award for the year 2024 by the Music Academy. This prestigious accolade is a testament to Krishna’s unwavering dedication to the classical music genre and his efforts to integrate social consciousness through his art.

T.M. Krishna, a Magsaysay award winner and a well-respected figure in the world of carnatic music, was performing at the memorial of St. Thyagaraja in Thiruvaiyaru with his spouse, Sangeetha, and students when he received the news of the accolade from N. Murali, the distinguished president of the Music Academy. St. Thyagaraja, a revered composer in the carnatic tradition, was honored annually at this site with music rayed in his memory, a ritual in which Krishna has been a perennial participant.

The decision to award Krishna was taken by the Executive Committee of the Music Academy on the 17th of March, 2024, with the institution’s president vocalizing the collective affirmation of Krishna’s exceptional musical prowess. “He has been a top-ranking and extremely talented musician for a long time and truly deserves the award for his music. The Music Academy has thought it fit to confer on him the award on the basis of sheer excellence in music,” stated Mr. Murali.

Expressing his emotions on being selected for this high honor, Krishna deemed the moment as overwhelming and incredibly significant in his life. For a student of the legendary Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, receiving an award that was once bestowed upon his guru, as well as stalwarts like M.S. Subbulakshmi and T. Brinda, is not just an accolade, but a profound moment of humility and reflection.

Krishna’s journey in music was also shaped by the mentorship of Bhagavatula Seetharama Sarma and Chengalpet Ranganathan before he became a disciple of Semmangudi. His musical style, characterized by a potent voice faithful to traditional carnatic music, also marks a fearless avant-garde approach that pushes the boundaries of conventional formats.

His initiative to democratize the art form by breaking the constraints of its structures and making it accessible to diverse social groups has been particularly noted. In the words of a press release from the Academy, “He has used music as a tool for social reform.” Krishna’s penmanship extends beyond music compositions to analytical books on music, signaling his multifaceted talent which has been recognized with numerous awards for his music, writing, and advocacy for social causes.

The Sangita Kala Acharya awards will be presented to mridangam artist Parasala Ravi, also known by his given name V. Raveendran Nair, and vocalist Geetha Raja. The TTK Awards will honor the Thiruvaiyyaru Brothers, S. Narasimhan and S. Venkatesan, whose musical heritage traces back to Tyagaraja, alongside violinist H.K. Narasimhamurthy. The occasion will also celebrate Dr. Margaret Bastin with the Musicologist Award.

Coinciding with the accolades for the musical sphere, this year witnessed the recognition of Dr. Neena Prasad with the Nritya Kalanidhi award for her exceptional contributions to dance. Prasad is a distinguished performer trained in Mohiniyattam, Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathakali, who has also carried out extensive scholarly work, obtaining her Ph.D. from Rabindra Bharathi University for her thesis on the dualistic themes of Lasya and Thandava in South Indian classical dances, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Surrey.

The 98th Annual Conference and Concerts hosted by The Music Academy will have the Sangita Kalanidhi awardee, T.M. Krishna, preside over the academic sessions and the presentation of the Sangita Kala Acharya, TTK, and Musicologist awards during the Sadas on January 1, 2025.

The Nritya Kalanidhi recipient, Dr. Neena Prasad, will be given her award at the inauguration of The Music Academy’s 18th Annual Dance Festival on January 3, 2025, adding to the roster of distinguished individuals being honored for their dedication to perpetuating and enriching the cultural tapestry of Indian classical music and dance.

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