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Disciples to fete Chitravina Ravikiran for completing four decades of service to Carnatic music in 42 years
CHENNAI, November 18: Come December 1, the disciples of Chitravina Shri N. Ravikiran will all make a beeline for Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium here in Mylapore to felicitate their teacher, who completes four decades of service to the cause of Carnatic music in 2009. For all that, Shri Ravikiran is just 42 years of age!

His disciplies are planning to organize a grand felicitation function for their guru. The function will see eminent music personalities offering their felicitation to Shri Ravikiran. They have also organized a vocal concert by Sangita Kalanidhi Shri R. K. Srikanthan. He will be accompanied by Shri Sriram Parasuram (violin), Shri Umayalpuram Sivaraman (mridangam) and Shri S. Karthick (ghatam). The programme is slated to begin at six in the evening on December 1.

Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram Shri K. Sivaraman and Sangita Kalanidhi Madurai Shri T. N Seshagopalan are also slated participate as guests in the felicitation function.

Born on February 12, 1967, Ravikiran made headlines at the age of two in 1969. At that tender age, he could identify as many as 325 ragas and 175 talas. Not just that. He could even demonstrate them. And, he fielded music-related questions with the aplomb of a senior musician. He made his maiden appearance as a vocalist at the age of five and presented concerts with stalwarts as accompanist till1977. His maiden concert on the 21-stringed Chitravina was at the age of 12. He presented a record non-stop recital for 24 hours when he was 18. Since then, he has consistently extended on the musical traditions of India.

He has traveled extensively across the globe several times and given concerts in the U.S, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hungary, France, Holland, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and the Philippines. He has performed in major international festivals and venues such as Autumn Festival (France), Millennium Festival (the U.K.), Brisbane Festival (Australia), Cal Arts Festival, (the U.S.), Harborfront Festival (Canada), Sadler’s Wells, London, Radio France International Festival, House of World Culture, Berlin, Tate Modern, London, Flanders Festival, Belgium, Esplanade, Singapore and Theatre de la Ville, Paris. Networks such as CNN, BBC NPR, ABC and Greek Telivision have featured him, and labels like Nimbus, Naxos, Waterlily and Music Today have recorded his music.

Shri Ravikiran has collaborated with top global music stars such as Taj Mahal, Martin Simpson and Glen Velez, the orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic and Cleveland Opera and composers such as Robert Morris and Charles Demuynck.

Shri Ravikiran is among the very few composers who are active in both the classical and world music. His most significant contribution to world music is the concept Melharmony, a novel approach to compositions. It is about creating harmony with an emphasis on melodic rules. This has won him acclaim in the West. In fact, the annual conference of Society for Music Theory in Boston in November 2005 featured a paper on it by noted composer Prof Robert Morris. He successfully premiered this style in collaboration with artistes of the BBC Philharmonic orchestra during the Millennium Festival in the U.K.

Shri Ravikiran has composed over 500 Carnatic and dance pieces, including productions that he has directed such as Lakshmi Prabhavam (USA 1997), Savitri (Australia, 1998), Cosmos (Canada, 2000), Vinayaka Vaibhavam (USA, 2000) and In the Long White Moonlight (USA, 2003). He always attributes is success to his gurus - Chitravina maestro Narasimhan and Sangita Kalanidhi T. Brinda.

His contributions to the field of Carnatic music are immense. And, he has many firsts to his credit.
  • Designed an instrument called the Navachitravina
  • First composer to have created music in all the 35 talas of Carnatic music.
  • Set up the International Foundation for Carnatic Music.
  • Produced special videos and books to introduce classical music in rural schools.
  • Created a singular Carnatic ensemble, Vintage Virtuosos, to popularize masterpieces.
  • Championed the works of Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi, a composer of legendary proportions, through concerts, courses, lectures, books, online audio banks and web sites.
  • Authored widely-read books such as Appreciating Carnatic Music and Perfecting Carnatic Music.
  • Trained and presented numerous performers and teachers of distinction.

Awards and accolades have chased him since he was six. They include, among others:
  • The President’s Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • Millennium Festival Award (the U.K.)
  • Harvard Sangeet Award (USA)
  • Citations from cities such as Houston and Tulsa.
  • Star of India
  • Music Academy’s TTK Award
  • Sangeeta Choodamani
  • Kalaimamani
  • Kumar Gandharava Samman
  • Sangeet Samrat
  • Arul Ishai Selvan
  • Ganavaridhi
  • Sunada Sudha Nidhi
  • Ragalaya Sagara and Isai Peroli