September 12, 2010 5:00 PM

Smt. Nirmala Rajasekar (Veena) with
Sri. K.V.S. Vinay (Violin)
Sri. Tanjore K. Murugaboopathi (Mridangam), and
Sri. Balaji Chandran (Ghatam)

Recital Hall
St. Catherine University,
St. Paul

Tanjore K. MurugaboopathiBalaji ChandranNirmala RajasekarK.V.S. Vinay

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About the Artists

Nirmala Rajasekar:

Nirmala Rajasekar is one of the most recognized and respected performers in the world of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) music. She began her training in this art form at age 6 and debuted as a solo performer at age 13 in Bangalore India. She is a disciple of veteran veena Guru octogenarian Prof. Kalapakam Swaminathan and has had vocal mentoring under Prof.Sitarama Sarma and Prof. T. R Subramaniam.

Since then for three decades now she has become one of its best practitioners taking the music of her veena to many parts of the world with utmost dedication, passion, and  a deep love for the art. Nirmala’s music is marked by a repertoire that reflects her adherence to rich patanthra (lineage and heritage) of her Gurus. As a fine vocalist Nirmala has performed concerts and has been featured as the lead soloist in many musical productions. She has also showcased the two thousand year old tradition of Carnatic music and performed in a collaborative setting playing and singing alongside other forms of music including western classical music and jazz. Nirmala teaches at the ‘Naadha Rasa Center for Music’ and is its artistic director. She is a wonderful teacher and has been recognized by several organizations for her unbounded enthusiasm for music and unstinted service to the cause of building bridges through music. She serves as an educator and advisor on many National and State teaching rosters in the country and abroad.

Awards and recognitions

  • In 1989 Nirmala was chosen by the Indian Council for Cultural relations to represent India and perform in International Festivals. Berne, Switzerland was the first venue where she performed in 1991.
  • In 1990 Nirmala was given the topnotch ranking of ‘A grade Artist’ by All India Radio, India’s premier gradations board.
  • Since 1995, she has received grants such as Artists Initiative,Cultural Collaboration Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board; grants and commissions from the Jerome Foundation, Playwrights Center,  COMPAS Meet the Composer New York.
  • Nirmala was selected as a BUSH Artistic fellow in 2006 by the Bush Foundation.
  • In 2008 she was given the 2008 Achievement award by the India Association of MN, a unique honor given to one individual in the State of Minnesota every year.
  • Rotary Club International presented her with a Vocational Excellence award in 2009.
  • Nirmala won the Best concert award from the Indian Fine Arts Society India (2009) Best Veena artist from the Narada Gana Sabha 2009 and Best Veena concert of the Festival from the Carnegie Hall of India –the Music Academy Madras, India in Jan 2010.
  • In May 2010, Nirmala has received (from the MacPhail Center for Music) the coveted McKnight Performing Artists Fellowship for the year 2010-2011. She has become the first Indian Musician to be chosen for this Fellowship.

Links to performances:

K.V.S. Vinay:

Vinay hails from a musical family. He is the grandson of Sangeetha Kalanidhi late Sri T.K. Jayarama Iyer, eminent violinist and father of orchestration of Indian music. Born and raised in Delhi, Vinay had his initial training from Mrs. Vanaja Aravamuthan and subsequently trained under late Sri V. Janakiraman and his uncle Sri Kovai B. Dakshinamurthy.

A concert performer for over 20 years, Vinay has had the privilege of accompanying several leading musicians and also performing as a successful solo artiste. He has featured on national radio and TV in India and has won many awards including an Indian government scholarship for training in music.  He is a B-high graded artiste of the All India Radio.

Since moving to the US, Vinay has had the opportunity to perform with eminent India- and US-based artistes in leading sabhas across the country. He has also had the opportunity to collaborate with Boston based World Jazz groups ‘Natraj’ and ‘Bangalore.’ Vinay has a PhD in economics and lives and works in the Boston area.

Tanjore K. Murugaboopathi

Sri Tanjore Murugaboopathi belongs to a family of artists and musicians. He had his initial training under
Sri T.R.Srinivasan, a Mridangam Vidwan and Lecturer in the Tamilnadu Government Music College. After receiving the 'Vadhya Visharada' with distinction from the Music College, he came under the guidance of Late Sri Tanjore Upendran. He learnt from the late maestro in the age old tradition of Gurukulavasam.  He has won numerous awards including the Vadya Kalaimani from the Music College, Chennai, the Laya Kala Ratna from the Tiruppur Murugan Mandram, the Best Artiste Award from the South Indian Music Club, Andhra Pradesh, the Music Academy and the Sivan Mandram, Sydney, Australia. Murugaboopathi can adopt his playing to any style of singing or instrumentals and has won the appreciation of the artists as well as the rasikas. He regularly accompanies leading artists such as Sangeetha Kalnidhi Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. N. Ramani, Mandolin Srinivas, Sanjay Subramaniam, Sudha Ragunathan, and Aruna Sayeeram, to name a few. He has performed with these artists in Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, Spain, USA, UK, Switzerland, Australia, Dubai, Muscat, Doha, Belgium and Scotland.

Balaji Chandran

Balaji Chandran started his Carnatic percussion studies in Mridangam under Sri. Kovai Mani and Sri. Kadayanallur Narayana Iyer. He learned the Ghatam from Sri. Ghatam V.Suresh. He has been an accompanist to many artists in the US and India, including Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri. R.K Srikantan, Prof. Ramakanth, Sri. Neyveli Santhanagopalan, and current generation artists such as Smt. Nirmala Rajasekar, Smt. Sikkil Mala Chandrashekar, Sri Suryaprakash, Sri. Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna, Sri. Mullaivasal Chandramauli, Sri. Mysore Chandan Kumar, Sri A.S. Murali, and Sri Shankaran Mahadhevan. He has performed in prestigious venues like the Chennai Music Academy, Naradha Ghana Sabha, and Sri Ranjani Sabha.

He has been part of the Aradhana celebrations in Minnesota for the past 10 years and has performed in many venues across the US. He features in a Carnatic Audio album called “Song of the Veena.”  He was part of an ensemble that won the top honors in the recently conducted Carnatic music competition held in Chennai by International Society of Laya Awareness. He has collaborated with St. Olaf Collage Jazz band and Brass Kings, an American Blue Grass Jazz band.He has lent Mridangam and Ghatam support for  Bharathanatyam Arengetrams. He is also adept at playing the Kanjira.  

About the Venue:

Directions and Parking:

The Recital Hall is located just behind the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium  in the campus of St. Catherine University (2004 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105). The Recital Hall is Building 24 in the campus map (see below).

Driving Directions: 

  • From I-94 going E: Take Cretin Avenue exit. South (right) on Cretin to Randolph Avenue. East (left) on Randolph to Cleveland Avenue intersection. Stay on Randolph. Enter at GATE 3 on Randolph.
  • From I-94 going W: Take Snelling Avenue (US 51) exit. South (left) on Snelling Avenue to Randolph. West (right) on Randoplh to Fairview/Randolph intersection. Stay on Randolph. Enter at GATE 3 on Randolph.
  • From I-35E: Exit on Randolph Avenue. Proceed West to Fairview/Randolph intersection. Stay on Randolph. Enter at GATE 3 on Randolph.
  • From I-35W: Exit on 94 eastbound to Cretin Avenue exit. South on Cretin to Randolph Avenue. East on Randolph to Cleveland Avenue intersection. Stay on Randolph. Enter at GATE 3 on Randolph.

Gate 3 is located between Cleveland and Fairview and is nearest to the intersection of Randolph and Prior Avenues. The Recital Hall is located right behind the better known O'Shaughnessy auditorium. Parking is free after hours and on weekends.

Click here for a campus map of St. Catherine University.

Click here for other general maps and directions to St. Catherine University.


IMSOM’s Fall 2010 Concert Series has been made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s (MRAC) Arts Activities Support (AAS) Grant, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, the Honeywell “Dollars for Doers” Grant, the Xcel Energy “Dollars for Doing” Grant, and IMSOM members and donors. These concerts are co-sponsored by KFAI Radio (90.3FM in Mpls/106.7FM in St. Paul).

For further information contact:
Durgesh Manjure
Ameeta Kelekar



IMSOM, established in 1980, is a registered non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization serving Minneapolis-St.Paul and the greater Twin Cities Metro Area.

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