The Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan will also be releasing its annual Digest during the festival.
As renowned Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri puts it, “the mere mention of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan instantly brings to the mind respect for an institution that has preserved and fostered the arts.”
Set up in 1938 by K.M. Munshi, the aim was to preserve and propogate Bharatiya sanskriti (culture) and Sanskrit.
Over the years, the institution has established several branches all over the world and has expanded its charter in manifold ways. The Delhi chapter was set up in 1958 and has been holding an annual Classical Music and Dance festival for 8 years, the 9th edition of the festival is to be held from November 6-8 at Kamani auditorium, New Delhi. The artist line-up is impressive — November 6 is devoted to the Carnatic idiom with Vidushi Bombay Jayashri opening the festival, followed by Vidushi Jayanti Kumaresh on the saraswati veena. One of the most versatile and popular vocalists today, blessed with an amazingly appealing voice, Ms Jayashri verbalised her delight at the opportunity to sing at the festival, and reminisced that while this was her first concert for the Bhawan in Delhi, she had sung earlier at the London, Mumbai, Kochi, Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Chennai, Kolkata and other chapters.
She added “the feeling of pride and love for India and India’s treasures hovers and embraces us in every centre, which invigorates us as artists”.
Jayanti Kumaresh, one of the finest exponents of the saraswati veena, with an equally impressive musical lineage, said she was looking forward to presenting her instrument to the many “rasikas” in Delhi, and it was the first time she would be performing for Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi.
November 7 features well known Kirana gharana vocalist Pandit Vinayak Torvi, who is known for his solid sterling performances, untouched by vocal gymnastics and crowd appealing gimmickry. Next is a Bharatanatyam dance recital by none other than veteran Priyadarshini Govind and her troupe.
The final day has a kathak recital by Delhi based Gauri Diwakar and group, followed by a sitar recital by Pandit Nayan Ghosh from Mumbai. Apart from being one of the most erudite authorities today on percussion, specifically the tabla, Pt Nayan Ghosh is an amazingly lyrical sitarist, as well as immensely knowledgeable, with a host of rare compositions. He affirmed he was “looking forward to participating in the reputed Bhawan’s festival in the 50th year of my performing career. “
In between the two concerts on November 8, there will be the ceremony of presenting the annual 2016 Bhawan Sangeet Shikhar Samman Award. This annual award has been instituted since 2010; earlier winners have been Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, Vidwan T.N. Krishna, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Dr. Yamini Krishnamurthy, and Vidushi Girija Devi.
The awardee selection is by the director Delhi Kendra, (currently Shri Ashok Pradhan) endorsed by the Bhawan head quarters in Mumbai, and approved by none other than the Vice President and President of India.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan with Spic Macay also co-hosts classical music concerts at its numerous schools all over India; several luminaries including Vidushi Bombay Jayashri have fond memories of performing here — “I have had the privilege of singing in many schools including Palakkad, Cunoor… I recall the bright faces in their lovely check patterned blue and grey, and brown and beige uniforms”.
Pandit Nayan Ghosh sadly remembered his late brother, Pandit Dhruba Ghosh’s immense contribution to the institution, being a part of the faculty, till his death earlier this year.
The Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan will also be releasing its annual Digest during the festival; since 2009 these publications have become collector’s items.
This year’s focus will be on the 17th century manuscript on dance in the Andhra region, “Chatura Damodara Virictama Sangi-tadarpanam”, written by Chatura Damodara also known as Haribhatta.
All in all, it promises to be an interesting three days.