Performing Artist STL

Performing Artistes of Indian Classical Music – St Louis, MO

Kanika Pandey – Hindustani Classical Musician (Vocal)
Born in a music loving and musically dedicated family, Kanika was initiated into music by her father Pt. S. S. Pandey. She also learnt a great deal about the music and its discipline by listening to many veteran artists in informal sangeet baithaks (informal house concerts) during her early childhood years. At an early age of ten she accepted a strict discipline in music. After receiving a solid foundation in music from her father, in 1995, Kanika began her taleem (training) under the tutelage of the finest maestros, Pts. Rajan and Sajan Mishra of Benares gharana, learning the subtle nuances and stylistic techniques of the art form.

Kanika belongs to the new generation of musicians who believe in developing and evolving a personalized musical idiom while still maintaining the authenticity of the Hindustani classical music. Kanika has a rich and mellifluous voice and a very eloquent style of singing. She carries with her a rare artistic blend of Kirana and Benares gharana. Her training is very evident in her shruti shuddha swara, gradual unfolding and development of the raga, combining the poetry and its expression into singing. Her music emerges not only from her own virtuosity and versatility as a performer but also from her intellectual and diligent eclecticism as a student of Hindustani classical music. Besides maintaining the technical aspects, Kanika also gives a lot of focus on the aesthetics and the mystical/spiritual aspect of Hindustani music, thus resulting in a unique style that is technically fine and yet very soulful and aesthetically appealing.

She has a strong academic background and holds a master’s degree in performing Arts Administration from New York University (NYU), NY and another masters in Hindustani classical music from the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur with a gold medal. She had the hands on experience of working on many projects that the Weil Institute of Music- the education department of Carnegie Hall produced.

As an educator, Kanika has been associated with SIT Jaipur, (School for International Training, a branch of World Learning, Brattleboro, Vermont, US) as a visiting artist and guest lecturer.She has conducted workshop for professional and non-professional musicians in France and in India. Being a product of the traditional ‘guru-shishya parampara’ (a teacher student learning system), Kanika strongly believes in devoting her time and efforts in educating the younger generation of music aspirants and contributing her share of passing on this rich heritage. She has been a recipient of several prestigious awards and scholarships including an International fellowship from the Ford Foundation (2004), Junior Fellowship from the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India (2002) and scholarship from the ministry of HRD, govt. of India (1992-94), scholarship from Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Academy (State academy of music, dance and drama) (1989-90). She was also awarded “Bhamashah” award from the Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur (1994). Kanika has performed on stage throughout India, Europe and the United States.

Malathi Janardhanan – Professor of Carnatic Music
Mrs. Malathi Janardhanan has been a performing artist in the Carnatic Music space for the past 50 plus years. She holds an M.A. and B. Ed. in Carnatic Music from the University of Madras. She learnt Carnatic Music under the tutelage of Late Shri Kumbhakonam Shankaran and Sangitha Kalanithi Late D.K. Jayaraman. She retired as a Professor of Carnatic Music from the Music Academy Teachers college of music and the Kumararajah Muthaiah College of Music in Chennai.

Mrs. Malathi has also been an Examiner since 1984 for the B.A. and M.A. programs in Carnatic Music for the Queen Mary’s College, Chennai and for the Government of Tamil Nadu Technical Music Examinations. She has also given lecture demonstrations at Indra Gandhi National Open University and at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, Department of Music.

As a performing artist, she has performed in many renowned Sabhas including the Music Academy festival season, Indian fine Arts society festival season among other Sabhas. She has also been a performing artist in the All India Radio since 1966.

She has also produced several papers during Music Academy’s Annual Festival season. Some of the papers include

  • “Personality of Thiagaraja as reflected in his Naukacharitram” – published during the annual Music Festival Conference of Music Academy (December 1982).
  • “The Music of Venkataramana Bhagavathar” – published during the annual Music Festival Conference of Music Academy (1987-1988).
Pandit Shyam Kane – Tabla Support
Pandit Shyam Kane was born into a Konkanastha Brahmin family in 1954. Pt. Kane was drawn to the Tabla after his brother, Mukund Kane, took to Tabla under Pt. Pandharinath Nageshkar of the Farukhabad Gharana.

Influenced by his brother, Pt. Kane began his journey in Tabla. After Pt. Kane witnessed a performance with Ustad. Zakir Hussain on Tabla, he wished to learn under the young master. Captivated by the balance, clarity and creativity of Ustad. Zakir Hussain’s style, Pt. Kane immediately asked for him for tutelage. In 1975, Pt. Kane became a Gandabandhan disciple of Ustad Alla Rakha and began learning under both father and son.

Pt. Kane has become a popular Tabla accompanist in India, North America, and Europe. Pt. Kane participated in the Festival of India (1985–1986) sponsored by the Government of India.

Pt. Kane has taught Tabla at San Diego State University and the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.[2] Pt. Kane frequently performs alongside his guru, Utd. Zakir Hussain, where recently both performed together at the 2007 Brihan Maharashtra Mandal Convention in Seattle.

Pt. Shyam Kane has performed alongside Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad. Ali Akbar Khan, Smt. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, Smt. N. Rajam, and Smt. Kishori Amonkar, Asha Khadilkar among others.

Sanjay Subramanian – Carnatic Classical Musician (Vocalist)
A Critical Care physician by profession, Sanjay had his initial vocal training in Delhi under Sri SV Ramani and Smt Lakshmi Ramaswamy (disciple of Mysore Vasudevachar). After a brief hiatus during medical school and residency, he was fortunate to come under the training of renowned musician and musicologist, Isai Peroli Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan who has been instrumental in his growth as a concert level musician. In addition, Sanjay has enriched his repertoire by learning compositions from eminent musicians such as Sri P S Narayanaswami. Sanjay has been a regular performer in the music season in Chennai at multiple venues since 2006.

  • Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, January 3, 2018; Dec 27, 2018
  • Chennai Cultural Academy, Dec 2016
  • Thyagaraja Vidwat Samajam, Dec 2016
  • Sri Krishna Gana Sabha Dec 18, 2014
  • Narada Gana Sabha Dec 20, 2014
  • Aarkay Convention Centre 2013
  • Neyveli Santhanagopalan Shishyakulam Series 2014 and 2015
  • Brahma Gana Sabha Dec 12, 2013
  • Parthasaathy Sabha/Global Music Fest Dec 14, 2013
  • Music Fest Dec 25, 2011
  • Hamsadhwani, 2006 through 2012 , 2018

In the US, he has performed at numerous other local Carnatic Music Festivals in Salt Lake City, Houston, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Seattle. Recent performances include concerts for-

  • VEDA Temple, Seattle (Margazhi Utsavam Thematic concert on Dikshitar compositions) – 2016
  • SVETA Temple – March 2016
  • “Sangeetha” St. Louis – March 18, 2017

Sanjay established Abhinay School of Music and Dance in 2008. The school has been successfully imparting online, and in-person training in Carnatic Classical Vocal to aspiring and serious students of these art forms. He regularly organizes workshops for students in Seattle and St Louis on various aspects of ‘manodharma sangeetham’. In addition, he is the Founder and President of Abhinay Fine Arts, the premier non-profit organization, that has been promoting Indian Classical Music and dance in the greater Seattle area.

Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Venugopal – Carnatic Classical Musician (Vocalist)
Smt. Vijayalakshmi Venugopal was born in Trichy in a musical family. She had her schooling in Trichy; then moved to the famous Thiruvaiyaru Music College under the Madras University where she obtained the SANGEETHA SIROMANI title with vocal major and veena minor. She was the disciple of well-known Vidwans like Alathur Srinivasa Iyer, T V Namasivayam and Chittoor Subramanian Pillai.

After her marriage in 1974, she moved to Chennai where she joined as a vocal lecturer at the Teachers College of Music, run by the famous Music Academy. There she shaped several music teachers who are spread today all over India and even overseas places like Malaysia, Mauritius, UK and the USA, spreading the cultural heritage of South India.

She has given performances at all major cultural sabhas in South India including the December Festival at the Music Academy for which she was adjudged best performing artist and received the Award from the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister. Other Performances include the memorable one at the Lord Mountbatten Hall in London under the auspices of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

She then started her career at the All India Radio in 1985 as Staff Artist and Retired in 2015. She is a “A” Grade Artist of All India Radio and is continues to sing concerts for South Indian and Far Eastern audience.

She has produced many musical features for special occasions. First of a series of features was NAVARASA NAVANEETHAN produced for a Krishna Jayanthi which received the President’s Best Regional Award. That was followed by ARUM PUGAZH HANUMAN (for a Hanumath Jayanthi) VARAM THARUM VARALAKSHMI (for a Varalakshmi Vratham) and so on which all received very wide appreciation and awards. She has released a Tamil Album that has received praise for the collection and rendition of the songs. She recently released an album for a musical production of AKHILANDESHWARI AKSHARA MALA. She is sought after for judging music competitions in Chennai, India. She has several students now in India and the US from beginner level to concert artists to promote and continue her art into future generations.

Ram Lakshmanan – Mridangam Artist
Ram Lakshmanan in his high school years started learning the art of playing Mridangam from Pudukkottai Sri Rajagopala Pillai, a direct disciple of the legendary Pudukkottai Sri Dakshinamurthy Pillai. After a couple of years of initial training, Ram began accompanying various artists – vocal, violin and flute artists. Later he took some advanced lessons and coaching from Dr. P K Swaminathan of Baltimore and “Sangeeta Kalanidhi” Umayalpuram Sri K Sivaraman.

During his 30+ years of playing Mridangam, Ram has accompanied various artists in India, Indonesia and the US and won several awards and recognitions.

Ram has been accompanying musicians in St. Louis at the Thyagaraja Aradhana, Annamacharya Aradhana, Guru Vandana Day celebrations, and other such events. He has performed at the Inter Faith Music Concert in 2015 and at the Trinity Church in 2016. He accompanied a group of young musicians in a program broadcast by NPR (National Public Radio) in their Steve Potter’s Show. He has also performed at the annual dance festivals conducted by “Nrithyakshetra” a dance school run by Guru Smitha Rajan, and “Dances of India” a dance school run by Guru Asha Prem.

Ram’s style of playing incorporates the basic principle that life is about rhythms, balance and harmony. He strives for three key ingredients while accompanying: (i) Keep accurate rhythm; (ii) Anticipate and reflect the contours and mood of the song; and (iii) Embellish the concert by adapting to the style of the main artist.

Ram has earned a BS in Economics and MBA in Finance and Marketing. He is a Banking Consultant by profession advising Retail Banks and private equity firms. His life interests include singing, cooking, working out at the gym, running Half Marathons, solving puzzles, learning languages (fluent in eight), and connecting with people from all walks of life.