Muthuswamy Dikhsitar, Purandaradasa,  Shyama Shastry, and Saint Thyagaraja

The 13th Annual Aradhana

A musical tribute to the great composers of Carnatic (South Indian) Classical Music by Twin Cities’ vocalists and instrumentalists.

Saturday, November 15, 2008, 2:00 PM


The Hindu Temple of MN Community Center - Auditorium, Maple Grove


The event is free!

About the program:

The Twin-Cities Aradhana has been a fixture of the Communities' calendar since 1995. Modeled after the tradition of Thyagaraja Aradhana, performed annually in Thiruvayyar, India, Aradhana-2008's main purpose is to celebrate the works of and pay tributes to, Purandaradasa (considered the father of Carnatic music), the trinity of Carnatic music (Saint Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri) and other great composers by rendering their select compositions. This is one of the rare opportunities to see and hear Carnatic music as a chorus presentation. (Carnatic music is almost always performed solo.).

Lead Vocalists:  Nirmala Rajasekar,  Leela Ramanathan

Nirmala Rajasekar began her performing career as a solo veena player and vocalist at age 13 in Bangalore, India. She is a disciple of Veena Guru Sangeetha KalaAcharyas Smt. Kalpakam Swaminathan, Sri.T.R.Subramanyam and Sangeetha KalaAcharya elect for 2007 Sri.B.Sitarama Sarma. Since then, with nearly three decades of experience as a performer and composer, she has appeared in many world-renowned venues in Europe (London, Bristol, Berne, and Zurich), Asia (Bombay, New Delhi, Chennai, Bali), and the USA (New York, Detroit, Berkeley, and Minneapolis).

Nirmala’s achievements and long track record is highlighted with many honors and laurels. The gradations board in India of Indian Radio and Television has awarded the prestigious ‘A Grade ranking artist’ grade to Nirmala in 1990. Several organizations have felicitated Nirmala for her invaluable contributions to the world of music and have bestowed upon her many awards and honors including the titles of ‘Nada Kala Vipanchee’ [holder of the pure tone] and ‘Veenai Sudaroli‘[the beacon light of veena].

Her creativity and musicianship is showcased in many recordings - including the BBC, England‘s ‘Library of world artists’ Album. Most recently, Nirmala Rajasekar collaborated with some of the fine practitioners in Carnatic music, to come up with an exquisite CD, ‘Song of the Veena’ released worldwide in Nov 2007 by Innova records.

She has received many grants, commissions and scholarships – from the American Composer’s Forum, Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer. Nirmala is the first Indian classical musician to have been chosen as an Artistic Fellow by the Bush Foundation (2006 –2007).

As a very innovative composer and performer, Nirmala has merged the world of Carnatic Indian music with many art forms of the world. She has created music with the celebrated American poet Robert Bly. She has written the soundscapes in many collaborative works with other musical disciplines - Jazz and Western Classical music to name some. She has worked in over a dozen projects with dance and theater. She has performed with string quartets and orchestras and has featured Carnatic music with the music of 11nth century German saint Hildegaard Von Bingen. Her ‘veena suite’ for Symphony Orchestra a co-creation (the first one ever) with composer Jan Gilbert was presented in May 2007 at the Landmark Center in St.Paul Minnesota in the company of the St.Paul Civic Symphony Orchestra.

Nirmala is also a dedicated teacher who has been recognized in several National and State rosters of educators of caliber.

Leela Ramanathan is a highly accomplished vocalist. She helped launch the Aradhana in the Twin Cities and has been one of its lead vocalists since inception. Leela started learning Carnatic music at the age of seven and has been performing on stage for the last three decades. Leela received initial training from Mrs. Subbalakshmi, disciple of Sri Kalakkadu Ramanarayana Iyer and from Mrs. P.K. Rajalakshmi. She then received advanced training from acclaimed musicologist, Dr. C.S. Balakrishnan for over a decade. She has given numerous concerts in India and the US. Leela has performed at many local events and has collaborated on projects with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Kairali Music and Arts Club, Sanskriti Dance Academy and DigiRaga Studios. She has a great passion for the arts and teaches Carnatic music to music lovers in the Twin Cities.


  • Take I494/I694 to I94 West toward St. Cloud.
  • From I94 West:, Take the MAPLE GROVE PARKWAY / CR-30 exit- EXIT 213.
  • Turn RIGHT onto CR-30 W / 95TH AVE N. Continue to follow CR-30 W. 1.6 miles
  • Stay on CR 30 West, (Go past Walmart(Left side)/WallGreens(Right side)) to CR101 and make a right on to CR101 North (Traffic Lights).
  • Go slow, Spot a Church on the left, go past it and make a right on to 101st Ave N
  • Make a Left on to Troy Ln. The Temple is at the dead end of Troy Ln.


IMSOM’s Fall 2008 Concert Series has been supported in part by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s (MRAC) Arts Activities Support and Capital Grants, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, the Honeywell “Dollars for Doers” Grant, and IMSOM members. This concert is co-sponsored by KFAI “Fresh Air” Radio (90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM St. Paul).


© Copyright 2008 Indian Music Society of Minnesota