Three-day Music Festival to warm up the heart and soul

Venkat Raman

Auckland, May 6, 2018

Monsoon always accompanies the Carnatic Music Festival of the Auckland based New Zealand Carnatic Music Society and with the Queen’s Birthday affording a longer weekend, professional singers, students and enthusiasts look forward a heavy downpour of melody, soaked with challenges and rhapsody.

True to its tradition, the Society put together its annual event with a combination of visiting artistes from India and local teachers and its own students who undergo training and appear for examinations, which were held on May 6, 2018. The students appeared for their fifth and sixth stages.

This year’s examinations culminate in a three-day Music Festival, scheduled to be held from Saturday, June 2, 2018 to Monday, June 4, 2018 at the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Community Centre located at 12 Princes Street in Onehunga, Auckland.



The Festival

First Day: Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 530 pm: Vocal Concert R Suryaprakash; Violin: Nagai Sriram; Mridangam: Trivandrum Balaji; Ghatam: Tripunithura N Radhakrishnan

Second Day: Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 530 pm: Violin Duet by Nagai Muralidharan and Nagai Sirram; Mridangam by Trivandrum Balaji; Ghatam by Tripunithura N Radhakrishnan

Third Day: Monday, June 4, 2018 at 9 am: Concerts by Senior Teachers of the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society. This Programme will comprise short vocal and instrumental concerts.

Student’s Performances

Students of the NZCMS will, as in the past, have an opportunity to perform as a part of the annual Festival, commencing on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 9 am. The ‘Shri Sam Swaminathan Memorial Concert’ will be held in homage to Sam Swaminathan, Founder-Secretary of the Society. He passed away on June 13, 2013 (Indian Newslink, July 1, 2013). Performances of students will continue on Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 9 am.

The Venue for all concerts of the three-day Festival is Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Community Centre.

Venue: Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Community Centre, 12 Princes Street, Onehunga

The three-day programme is free for members of the Society with current membership.

Tickets: For all Three Days: $70 (Adult); $60 (Senior/Child)

Tickets: Daily $40 (Adult); $30 (Senior/Child)

Tickets cost per person; For details, please contact Sreeranganath Koilkandadai on 021-682957; Ashok Devarajan on 021-688242; Harish Srinivasan on 027-4763493; Yashwanthkumar Ramalingam on 021-02429863

Email:; Website:



Following is a brief profile of the visiting artistes.

R Suryaprakash

It is often said that ‘Ragas’ in Carnatic Music have the power to melt hearts, change moods, reform people and even cast rainmaking clouds in the Sky and if properly executed, can make even Gods and Goddess appear.

Vocalists therefore are held in high esteem and NZCMS has done well to invite R Suryaprakash, a world-acclaimed musician to be at the top of the three-day Carnatic Music Festival this year.

With his ‘ringing’ voice known for its ability to produce sangathis (musical phrases) in all three sthayis (ranges) with crystal clear tonal quality and purity of shruthi, he has carved a niche for himself in the world of music.

Born and raised in the musical tradition of the great Madurai Mani Iyer, he was taught by T V Sankaranarayanan. He later crafted a unique baani (style) of his own, that stems from his assimilation of the essence of other gayaki and Naadaswaram traditions, such as those of Semmangudi, T N Rajarathnam, G N Balasubramaniam and T Brinda.

He is also a lyricist and composer of music.

Nagai Muralidharan

Violin is a challenging instrument and its performers take ‘baby steps,’ reaching the stage of playing Kirtans usually after three years of intense training.

But Nagai Muralidharan proved to be a chip off the old block, when he became proficient in the art less than six months after he commenced learning from his highly talented mother R Komalavalli (with encouragement from his father R Rajagopalan).

A while later, he was fine-tuned by R S Gopalakrishnan and was encouraged to debut when he was just ten years old.

Since then, over the past four decades, Nagai Muralidharan has enthralled audiences all over the world and won several Awards and Citations.

Nagai Sriram

As the name would suggest, Nagai Sriram hails from the same family (a nephew of Nagai Muralidharan) and R Komalavalli (his grandmother) again deserves credit for identifying and hoping his talent as a Violinist.

He began his career in Violin at the age of ten and two years later became an accompanying artist for vocal and instrumental musicians.

Among them were Dr M Balamurali Krishna, K V Narayanaswamy, T N Seshagopalan, T V Sankaranarayanan, O S Thyagarajan and many others.
He is a recipient of several Awards.

The second day of the NZCMS Festival will appropriately feature the Nagai gems and Sriram will yet again have an opportunity to perform with his uncle Muralidharan (who is his current pedagogue) and enhance his experience as a stage artiste.

Trivandrum Balaji

Mridangist Trivandrum Balaji was raised in a musical family. His great-grandfathers were Kodivayal Venkatrama Iyer (a Harikatha and Konnakol exponent), and S V Iyer, an accomplished Mridangam Vidwan.

Taught in his early years by B Doraiswamy, K Krishna Iyengar and R Vaidyanathan (all of them of Tiruvanantapuram), he later received a National Talent Scholarship to study under Palghat Raghu.

A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2009, Balaji has several awards and prizes to his credit.

One distinction that gives him pleasure is his appointment as ‘Asthana Vidwan’ of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

Tripunithura Radhakrishnan

“Ghatam is a part of my being,” says Tripunithura Radhakrishnan.

A proficient artiste, he has mastered the intricacies of the ‘Pot’ that has astounded people around the world and like many others of his ilk, Radhakrishnan plays Mridangam and many other percussion instruments.

Mridangists like him have given this Upapakkavadyam (supporting instrument) due recognition and honour, more than just a place in the corner of a concert.

Such a feat took Radhakrishnan 50 years, after hundreds of painful hours of training and an unflinching passion.


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