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The National Indian Arts Awards 2016 20 October 2016

The Nehru Centre 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF

The Indian Arts Development Trust Uniting Hearts through Arts

Presented by


Principle Partner

ABOUT MILAPFEST Milapfest is Britain’s leading Indian arts development trust, producing world class performances, education and artist development opportunities across the UK. Milapfest’s aim is to “Unite Hearts Through Arts” by providing audiences, aspiring artists and teachers with memorable and inspirational experiences of Indian arts through a dynamic programme of performances, tours, commissions, festivals and innovative educational projects. In recent years our educational projects have multiplied considerably, and our aim has been to inter-connect all our projects so that the maximum possible impact is made to the lives of our audiences and participants. In recent years, the Trust has created international partnerships and projects to further strengthen and widen our work, resulting in some exciting cross-cultural collaborations. Our principal work includes the three city Indian Music concert series “Music for the Mind and Soul”, Samyo (the National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music), and Tarang (the National Indian Music Ensemble), as well as training and career development opportunities for all ages of music and dance practitioners of Britain. This year, we have established a new National Choir for Indian Music in Britain, named Sabrang. In 2014, we established SANNIDHI (the Milapfest Institute of Indian Arts) at the Liverpool Hope University. Sannidhi features a comprehensive library of books, CDs and DVDs on Indian music and dance, as well as a unique digital archive of live concerts and performances from the personal collection of a well known Chennai philanthropist that can be accessed on touch screen computers in a beautiful University Reading Room. It is the only archive of its kind in Europe, and it is continually growing. In the exciting and challenging task of building and strengthening today’s multicultural Britain, our committed endeavor is to try and unite the hearts and minds of all our communities through an exhilarating celebration of arts and culture. It is an exciting journey and we invite you to join us along the way!

Swagatam! Milapfest is delighted to welcome you to the Second national Indian Arts Awards Ceremony with support from the Arts Council England and the Nehru Centre. This year’s awardees were chosen by a nationally constituted Jury panel of six members. The Jury have had a tough time deciding the winners from an extremely talented and deserving group of amazing arts professionals. We are also delighted to institute two new international arts awards and a Major Scholarship in honour and memory of one of the greatly loved and admired Music teachers, Smt. Saraswathy Packirasa, who unfortunately is no longer amongst us; but the Saraswati Packirasa Music Scholarship will enable one talented young vocalist of Britain to gain advanced training in music each year. South Asians who migrated to England over the past 70 years have always aspired to ensure that their children, as well as their local communities have good opportunities to learn about their arts and heritage through structured teaching and performances. Over the decades, many dedicated teachers and professionals have worked tirelessly for making this possible. Up and down thew British Isles there are schools, art organisations and classes being delivered to meet these aspirations. But while there are numerous ways in which the sterling contribution of people in Business, Finance, public service and the professions is being recognised, there has never been any national award system that recognises and celebrates such dedicated services in the Arts. It is important that the amazing and inspiring contribution of such professionals is recognised and honoured in a regular manner. This is why Milapfest, a National Arts Charity decided to establish these Annual Awards in 2015. We are delighted and honoured that the Arts Council England and the Indian High Commission in Britain have strongly supported the creation of these national awards. We believe that the establishment of these awards will create a better understanding of how such selfless work empowers and enriches the younger generation, and how it helps build bridges between the communities and professionals. We hope that in future years, these awards will significantly towards providing more focus on the contribution of these exceptional professionals working in the field of Indian arts and provide opportunities for their work to expand in the years ahead. In addition to the contribution of these arts professionals, Milapfest also recognises the importance of supporting the many talented young people of Britain, and congratulating them for their hard work, dedication and skills in the practice, performance and propagation of Indian classical arts in this country. Therefore, a number of awards are also being presented to a number of exciting young professionals. So we are very happy to present six such awards that encompass both the above categories and honour these outstanding individuals to whom we owe so much, and from whom we expect so much in the years ahead! We are particularly delighted and honoured to welcome Sir Peter Bazalgette, the Chairman of the Arts Council England and of the ITV Group, as our Chief Guest this evening. His presence amongst us is truly important and significant as he presides over the Ceremony that recognises and honours the talented arts people present here. In the years ahead, we are planning to continue and build upon this Awards programme strongly, with the help and support of everyone working in this exciting and inspiring field of arts education. Prashant Nayak Executive Director - Milapfest

The National Indian Arts Award Ceremony 2016

Chief Guest Sir Peter Bazelgette, Chairman of Arts Council England and the ITV Group Programme Of The Evening 5:45pm 5:45pm to 6:45pm 6:45pm to 7pm 7pm

Arrival of Guests Reception Guests to make there way up to Theatre on 1st Floor Awards Ceremony

Awards Ceremony 7pm 7:05pm 7:10 - 7:40pm 7:40 - 7:45pm 7.50pm 7:55pm to 8pm 8pm

Invocation - Opening Sloka Introduction and Welcome by Dr Prashant Nayak Samyo and Tarang Musician of the Year Award Presentation Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award Presentation Nritya & Sangeet Acharya Award Presentation Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation Address by Sir Peter Bazelgette Concluding remarks: Alok Nayak, Artistic Director Photograph with Award Winners Departures



Samyo and Tarang Musician of the Year Award Samyo, The National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music and Tarang, the National Ensemble for Indian music feature brilliant young musicians creating and playing innovative Indian music within the classical genre. Both groups have grown tremendously over the years in their own way, both in size and in musically, and the success of the orchestras rely on the hard work of the Artistic Team and crucially, young leaders within the orchestra. These leaders help shape the orchestra, working with the artistic team to ensure the music is performed at its best and help motivate and encourage other members of the orchestra to work together in harmony. These awards recognize the hard work, dedication, leadership and musicianship of orchestra members

The Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award Each year, Milapfest presents an annual competition performance to find the next ‘Young Musician of the Year’ during the popular INDIKA Festival at Liverpool, the Music City of Britain. Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award sees specially shortlisted, highly talented contestants perform before a distinguished panel of international artistes, with the winner and runnerup of each award announced at the end of the evening. The Yuva Ratna Award recognises and applauds the talented young artists who have dedicated themselves to the practice, preservation and promotion of Indian classical arts in the UK and beyond. The Award winner and runner-up are awarded certificates and a trophy, in addition to a financial award and mentoring support for further professional development.

Samyo Musician of the Year Award 2015 Sanjuran Keerthikumar

Tarang Musician of the Year Award 2015 Jasdeep Singh Degun

Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award Young Musician of the Year 2013 Angira Kotal 2014 Nilanjana De Yarlinie Thanabalasingham 2015 -

Samyo Musician of the Year Award

Tarang Musician of the Year Award

Jasprit Kaur Rajbans

Aditi Subramanian Aditi Subramanian is a developing Carnatic vocalist who is a part of the newly emerging National Choir for Indian Music, Sabrang. Music has been a passion of hers from a very young age. She first started learning Carnatic vocal at the age of 6 from her grandmother, Sivagama Sundari. Having continued to cultivate her musical talents throughout her life, she is now under the tutelage of Abinaya Shenbajgaraj, who is a senior disciple of the internationally renowned Bombay Jayashri. Aditi joined Samyo, the National Youth Orchestra for Classical Indian Music, six years ago and has found it to be a wonderful experience. Aditi credits being part of Samyo for boosting her confidence and helping her to develop her ability and skills as a musician. She has recently held the roles of Choir Leader and Deputy Choir Leader. Samyo has also provided Aditi with multiple opportunities to improve her performance skills, having allowed her to perform in prestigious venues such as the the Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre) and the Capstone Theatre, Liverpool. The orchestra has also afforded her the privilege of learning from world class musicians, such as Bombay Jayashri and Abishek Raguraman, which has inspired her to continue to pursue music alongside her degree in Environmental Science with Business Management. Aditi is currently a member of Samyo Too and Sabrang, and pursues opportunities to perform both individually and as part of the ensembles.

Jasprit Kaur Rajbans is an emerging Tabla player of the new generation of young British Indian classical musicians. She has been learning Tabla under the tutelage of Shri Sukhdeep Singh Dhanjal (disciple of the late Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee and Pandit Yogesh Samsi) who himself represents the flamboyant and iconic Punjab Gharana of Tabla playing. Jasprit is one of few young female Tabla players to remain dedicated to this traditionally male art form and is determined to pave the way for other unconventional artists. Jasprit began her musical journey accompanying Gurbani Kirtan at her local Gurdwara and later went on to play Tabla as the section leader for the National Youth Orchestra SAMYO. Over the last year Jasprit has been playing as the single percussionist for the National choir Sabrang performing in venues across the UK. She has also enjoyed collaborating with organisations such as the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Tomorrow’s Warriors and National Youth Jazz Collective. Jasprit is currently a member of the National Ensemble Tarang and is working on recording an album with plans of national and international touring in the coming months. Alongside her musical journey Jasprit is also currently studying Law LLB at university and hopes to train as a solicitor in the future. Having performed at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St Augustine’s Chapel and the Capstone theatre, Jasprit continues to mature as a versatile musician and a performer. It is her ambition to master the Tabla, to keep learning and developing in this art from for the rest of her life. Her future goals as a professional musician are not only to perfect the skill and perform, but also to teach with the same dedication and passion as her Guru and Dada Gurus.

Yuva Sangeet Ratna 2016 Award Winner

Jasdeep Singh Degun An upcoming sitarist of the new generation, Jasdeep Singh Degun combines a versatile approach to his music with a passion and dedication to the classical tradition. Jasdeep acquires a deep insight into the art of Indian Classical music through his teacher, Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE and has continued to develop his skills in performance, composition, and training over the years. He was recently awarded the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship, worth £30,000, at the prestigious Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016 ceremony at the Savoy Hotel, London. His dynamic performance experience spans a wide range of prestigious and high-profile venues across the UK and abroad, including Buckingham Palace in 2011 for HRH Prince Harry as part the BBC2 documentary Goldie’s Band: By Royal Appointment. In 2012, Jasdeep performed at the United Nations opening of the Amphitheatre in Doha, Qatar, in a production lead by the film composer Vangelis and the Royal Albert Hall hosted Jasdeep at the 2014 BBC Proms, showcasing his own original compositions based on Indian Classical music. In 2015, Jasdeep performed live on BBC2 accompanying kathak finalist Vidya Patel on the BBC Young Dancer 2015 Grand Final, and accompanied the legendary Donovan at his Shram-Rock concert at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool. Recently, Jasdeep was featured on Shri Sriram’s (Badmarsh and Shri) latest album ‘Just A Vibration’ alongside the Yorkshire based Hammonds Brass Band which was launched at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2015. Jasdeep has also worked with musicians and producers such as Guy Chambers, Cerys Matthews, Melanie C, and Vangelis as a regular studio session musician on a diverse array of records and soundtracks. Jasdeep continues to push the boundaries of Indian classical music in the UK as well as developing his unique versatility as a promising young artist.

Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award 2016 RUNNERS UP

Due to the high quality of this years entrants, the judges decided on two runners up for this years Yuva Sangeet Ratna Award, instead of one, as in previous years. They were Hindustani vocalist, Prabhat Rao, and violinist, Kiruthika Nadarajah.

Nritya Acharya Ratna Award 2016 Smt. Usha Raghavan Usha Raghavan is an internationally acclaimed dancer, teacher and choreographer hailing from Madras, India. A post graduate in Indian Philosophy, Usha mastered the art of Bharatanatyam under eminent gurus Sri Adyar K. Lakshman & Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan. Over the last forty years, Usha has performed extensively across the globe. A few examples of her distinguished shows include international festivals sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the UNESCO in Paris, the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Indian Independence in the Caribbean, the International Festival – Humanitas – in Mexico, SPIC MACAY in London, the December festivals in Madras and her performances for Raymond Barre and the Aga Khan. Her mega dance production, Kamba Ramayanam, in which she was a principal dancer accompanied by two dozen fellow-artistes, first debuted in the Festival Passeport pour l’Inde in France. This production was subsequently staged in London and received rave reviews from connoisseurs of the art.

He Did It, Usha’s latest dance production, superbly choreographed on the life of Swami Chinmayananda, is regarded as a classic work for its novelty both in theme and in its presentation. Most recently, she was the Artistic Director for Voices, a thematic Bharatanatyam solo by her daughter, Srinidhi Raghavan, which explored the impact of society on an individual’s decision-making process by highlighting stories from ancient Hindu texts. A gifted narrator that Usha is, her lecture-demonstrations are a visual delight. The last one in London on Sri Annamacharya’s life and kritis was hailed by several acclaimed Telugu scholars as inimitable. Soundaryam, on the mind-body relation in Bharatanatyam, and Sthala Puranam, on ancient Indian temples and the stories associated with them were also trend-setters for the sheer depth, variety and audience engagement witnessed. Usha has also performed for several television channels including the Doordarshan, RAI UNO, and Deepam TV. Amongst her prolific work in the field in the European continent is an excellent documentary film she presented and performed in, to rave reviews, for RTSI (Swiss television). During her visit to Sri Lanka recently, she was interviewed by the Vasantham & Rupavahini TV channels on her sterling work in Europe propagating Bharatanatyam as an art and the impact she was making through the art on young dancers growing up in the West. Usha first started to teach young students in Kalasagara, Chennai, the parent institute founded in 1972. Since then, over the last few decades, Usha has trained hundreds of students across the globe. An avant-garde trainer, Usha often extends her teaching by taking dance enthusiasts to the soil where it originated in the interior cities of Southern India so that the students could actually visualise and learn “in the setting”. No doubt then, the five cultural heritage tours of India that she and her students have been on are seen as incredible eye openers by her students and the accompanying parents. Usha’s perfect sense of pedagogy and wide knowledge of Indian dance and traditions have gained her the reputation as a choreographer, dancer and teacher of exemplary talent. As the Financial Express once wrote of her dance performances, “Usha takes the audience to a refined level of perception where one understands without effort almost the instant truth that when communication is at work through the highest forms of art, language is but lame and halt.” In her commendable service to the art over decades, Usha has trained several hundred students across the globe, has firmly established her reputation as a successful creative artiste and is justly hailed as someone who has made huge and very significant contributions to the strengthening and propagation of Indian arts and culture in Britain, bringing it prestige and professionalism. Usha gives workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances in addition to master classes in London, UK, where she currently lives.

Sangeet Acharya Ratna Award 2016: Smt. Shivatharini Sahathevan Sivatharini was born in a music loving family in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. In her toddler years, her parents noticed a rare phenomenon in the child and further realized the prodigy in her. She developed an unconscious attachment to the Veena and desired to learn this divine instrument in her childhood years. Initially, she was taken to Sangeetha Pushanam Sri Arumugampillai, in Jaffna. In a few years, she learned and captured the intricacies of Veena playing and began giving solo performances at the age of 12. Subsequently, she went to Chennai and enrolled at the Tamil Nadu Music Academy in Adyar (currently known as Tamil Nadu Music University) to fulfil her childhood ambition of becoming a Veena Vidwan. She learnt under the tutelage of Kalaimamani K P Sivanandam and Kalaimamani Kalpakam Swaminathan and later graduated. Sivatharini was awarded the prestigious title of “Sanageetha Vidwan”. She successively joined the Education Department in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and served as a Music Lecturer for a number of years. In 1982, Sivatharini moved to London. Sivatharini is a Composer, Pioneer, Musician, Teacher and an Artiste. As a composer, Sivatharini has scored music for several fusion and orchestral performances. Blending the traditional and the innovative in her music in terms of content, technique, virtuosity and expression. As a pioneer, Sivatharini established her own music school ‘Veenalaya’ and devotes much of her time to enlightening young minds about music through teaching and workshops. She strongly believes that learning to play such complex instruments can impact one’s life positively and greatly enhance the academic performances of the students. Sivatharini continues to preserve our beautiful culture and has been exploring and discovering new frontiers of music through the Veena. As an artiste, Sivatharini seeks to express the true voice of the Veena which transcends the boundaries of language and religion. She is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and technically beguiling artists now performing. Her admirers who have been enraptured by her melody, Bhava purity of Sahithyam, Thala Suddham and Layam constitute a great majority of music lovers in London and abroad. Her virtuosity and the rich tonal quality she draws from her instrument have won her appreciation from audiences everywhere. Rasikas have always enthusiastically received her performances, both solo and accompanied by her students. Sivatharini was recently honored and awarded the title of “Veena Natha Sudar” by the International Hindu Youth Forum in London, in recognition of her unsurpassed service and talent in the Veena music field. As a Teacher, Sivatharini is a very disciplined and dedicated Guru, continuing in the tradition of her Guru’s. Her success is due to her creative ability, capability to impart knowledge

to others, her infinite patience and unquestionable dedication. Her personal charisma coupled with her eminent capabilities has earned her many disciples. She has brought several of her students to stages at religious and cultural programs with great confidence. She frequently organizes and performs benefit concerts with her disciples for charity. Furthermore, Sivatharini has successfully staged over 35 Arangetrams till date and more importantly, she ensures that all her students continue to advance in the field of Carnatic Music after this. Sivatharini and her students have performed in many parts of the world including India, Malaysia, and Canada. Currently, she is teaching Veena at the London Tamil Centre and Harrow Tamil School. She is also the Director of Veenalaya.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2016: Smt. Manorama Prasad

Manorama Prasad is a South Indian (Carnatic) vocalist, composer and conductor par excellence. Since coming to the UK in 1990, she has established herself as a unique artist with many strings to her bow. Her deep knowledge, innate ability and rich experience have enabled her to produce consistently exceptional performances. As a winner of the highly prestigious Government of India Music Scholarship, Manorama had the rare privilege of undergoing her advanced training under the guidance of the late Dr S. Ramanathan and from the legend, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr M.L. Vasanthakumari. A prolific performer in concerts, Manorama has also sung at many prestigious international music festivals and venues, including the Edinburgh Festival; Alchemy & Darbar Festivals at the South Bank; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Lake District and Dartington International Summer Schools and Salisbury International Arts Festival. She has also performed extensively on radio for BBC Radio 3, BBC Asian Network, and All India Radio. Her sustained excellence was recognised in 2005 by Trinity College London, with the award of a fellowship and she was conferred the title of ‘Kala Jyothi’ for her outstanding contribution to Indian Classical Music in the North East of England. Her distinctive adaptability allows her to transcend the boundaries between the different genres of music and thus has enabled her to collaborate with artistes ranging from the eminent Pandits’ Rajan & Sajan Misra, Jayantha Bose and Ajay Chakraborty in the Hindustani sphere, to world-renowned composer & conductor Bramwell Tovey

and soprano Patricia Rozario, to as far afield as the extraordinary South African percussionist, Eugene Skeef to name but a few. Manorama has also sung for legends of Bharata Natyam, The Dhananjayans; Meenakshi Chittaranjan & Urmila Sathyanarayana and in the more contemporary dance setting for pioneers such as Mavin Khoo, Shobana Jeyasingh, and Chitra Sundaram. In 2009, she and her son Alok Prasad created “Aarambh” – the choir for South Asian Music, which brought together supremely talented young singers from all over the UK, for an evening of Indian ragas, improvisation, harmonies and choral music. The incredible sound of over 30 voices coming together in perfect harmony left the Purcell Room audience spellbound at this magical new dimension of Indian Music. Manorama and her troupe, comprising of 20 Carnatic classical and 2 western Opera singers performed a newly composed piece Moonlight, a combination of Hindustani (North Indian) Raga set to robust Carnatic tala (rhythm) fused with Western Opera singing at the edges as part of Midlands Mantra at the 2016 Alchemy Festival in South Bank London. Recently, through her foundation ‘Manodharma’, she is taking a leading role in developing and integrating South Asian Music into the mainstream UK music scene. Manorama’s exceptional versatility enables her to break down barriers between the genres, whilst remaining true to the core essence of classical Carnatic music. She is in all aspects, a ‘true original’.

Smt. Saraswathy Packiarasa Scholarship This year’s ceremony will also posthumously honour the magnificent contribution of one of the most respected Carnatic Teachers, Smt. Saraswathy Packiarasa, who sadly passed away in July this year, mourned by a great number of her students in England as well as Sri Lanka. Milapfest has decided to honour her memory by establishing a new Senior Scholarship named after her, to be awarded to an outstanding young Carnatic vocalist of England.

About Smt. Saraswathy Packiarasa Sangeetha Vidwan Smt. Saraswathy Packiarasa was a luminary within the realm of Carnatic Music. Born and raised in Singapore, Smt. Packiarasa was immersed into the world of music from a very young age thanks to her Father’s love of the artform. At the tender age of twelve, she had her Vocal Arangetram at the prestigious Victoria Theatre, Singapore receiving widespread acclaim. Her training was further developed under Sri Singaram Pillai, Sri Kumaraswamy and Pundit Ramalingam. Thereafter, she attained Gurukulavasam under the tutelage of Sri Balasubramanya Iyer at Thiruvarur for Carnatic vocal and Sri Fiddle Subbayar for Carnatic violin. Her musical career reached further heights in Chennai, where she completed the Sangeetha Vidwan course at the Government College of Carnatic Music, Adayar. Her principle teachers were T. Swaminatha Pilai, Brinda Mukti and Musiri Subramania Iyer, who famously taught Kalpana Swaram to M.S. Shubhalakshmi. Smt. Packiarasa completed the three-year course within just two years with First Class Honours and was the first Sri Lankan to graduate. Over the next two decades, Smt. Packiarasa tirelessly dedicated herself as a beloved music teacher at the Kokuvil Hindu College. During this tenure, the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Sir John Kottelavala, honoured her as the ‘Nightingale of Jaffna’. She was appointed Head of Fine Arts, University of Jaffna prior to teaching at the Singapore Fine Arts College. London successfully wooed her in the late 1980’s. Smt. Packiarasa’s passion for music found new outlets - initially as the Governor of the London Tamil Centre and then as the Director and Chief Examiner of The Academy of Fine Arts. In recognition of her formidable talent and valuable service to music, Smt. Packiarasa was honoured with many admirable titles including “Ehlisai Marmani” (Queen of Seven Swaras), “Nightingale of Malaysia” and “Eeelathu MS”. With her radiating culture and spirituality, she was bestowed respect by all who met her. Her kindness and love was ever present. She was an ardent follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his teachings; contributing her service to many charitable organisations in Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. Smt. Packiarasa was an innate born music Guru. She was able to quickly discern the musical merits of a child, tirelessly training the aspirants with infinite patience to bring out their full potential. She worked profoundly hard to elevate the standards of music she so very dearly cherished.


Unravel the wonders of Buddhist Monuments

An innovative and visually stunning thematic dance production, featuring dancers from Apsaras Arts, Singapore

Thursday 10 November 2016 / 7:30pm / The Bhavan Centre, London

Tickets £12 Front Stalls / £10 Back Stalls / £8 Balcony | / 020 7381 3086 / 4608

Saturday 12 November 2016 / 7:30pm / The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Tickets £10 / £8 concessions | / 0151 291 3949







Take your musical journey with Milapfest! Performance & training opportunities

The National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music Open to musicians & singers aged 18 and under.

The National Ensemble for Indian Music Open to young adults aged 19 and over

Open to young singers of any background.

Milapfest provides opportunities in music and dance for young and emerging artists of all ages and backgrounds to develop their talent. In music, three national ensembles, Samyo, Tarang and the Choir provide the chance to be the award winners of the future. For further information: | | 0151 291 3949


A unique and inspiring place of learning about Indian arts & heritage A rare collection of archival recordings of live concerts in visual and audio format Library of books/cds/dvds/journals Lecture series/performances/digital archives/ seminars/masterclasses An invaluable resource for students, academics, practitioners and the public. Incorporating the rare tag digital archives

For further information Please call 0151 291 3949 or visit





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