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veena and vocal artist Geetha
Ramanathan Bennett is dedicated to continuing the tradition of her guru
and father Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. S Ramanathan.
Geetha has performed extensively in India, the U.S., U.K., Canada,
Australia, and Singapore. She was the first veena player to perform in
Hong Kong and has appeared in many prestigious venues and series. She
has been awarded the highest rank, "A Top" for veena performance by All
India Radio/TV for the last ten years. Her performances have been
broadcast by Indian National T.V., All India Radio, the Singapore
Broadcasting System, and Malaysian Television.
Her experiments with the fusion of Indian classical music and western
styles began in the mid 1990's when she was invited to perform as a
veena soloist in selections of 'Scheherazade' with the Colgate
University Orchestra and conductor Dr. William Skelton in Hamilton, New
York. Other fusion projects have included a major tour of Europe and
the U.S. with percussionist Trilok Gurtu's world music ensemble 'The
Glimpse'. Geetha has also performed both as a veena player and vocalist
on guitarist Andy Summers' fusion album 'Peggy's Blue Skylight'
showcasing compositions of jazz bassist Charles Mingus.
Geetha sang on the Marc Rossi Group's critically acclaimed new CD
"Hidden Mandala," released in 2008. Her Carnatic improvisations, and
melodic enhancement of Rossi's jazz and Indian influenced compositions
led one critic to comment: "...this is truly global fusion." A second
CD by the group is scheduled for released later in 2009.
Her vocal rendition of 'Mokshamugalada' composed by Saint Thyagaraja
and arranged by Dr. Frank Bennett has been released by Oxford
University Press in the book, 'Music in South India' by Dr. T.
Viswanathan and Dr. Matthew Harp Allen.
Geetha sang for the Hollywood feature film 'The Guru' and her veena can
be heard in the Imax film 'Everest'. She played the veena and sang in
the musical production 'The Creation' (score composed by Jeff
Atmajian), which was performed in the Crystal Cathedral, Costa Mesa,
California in 2006.
In April 2009 the Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego presented
Geetha with the title 'Sangita Kalaamani' at their 3 day Thyagaraja
Geetha was awarded the 'Best Veena player of the season' by Indian Fine
Arts Society in December 2008 and by Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai in
December 2006. She has received the Dr.Padmavati Ammal Endowment Prize
and the Chellapally Ranga Rao Award endowed by Sri Chitti Babu for her
veena concert at the Madras Music Academy.
She has been recorded by Oriental Records, New York; Sangita Asian
Music Society, California; AVM Audios; Sangeetha Cassettes; and Inreco,
In addition to her musical activities Geetha has established herself as
an accomplished short story writer in the Tamil language. She has had
more than one hundred publications. One of her stories has received the
prestigious 'Ilakkiya Chindanai' award. She is honored to have her
short story 'Viddiyaasam' included in a collection of major Tamil
writers edited by famous author Mrs. Shivasankari.
Sriram started training on the Mridangam at the age of 9, under the
veteran Guru Sri K V Maniappan in Mumbai. Sriram has had
training from the Late Sangeetha Kalanidhi Padma Sri Palghat Raghu. He
is presently under the able tutelage and guidance of Tanjavur Sri
His style of accompaniment is very adaptive to both instrumental and
vocal music. Sriram regularly accompanies renowned and upcoming
artistes in India during the December music season in
also travels around the US and has performed at several venues.
Sriram is a resident of Apple Valley MN and is the founder of the
Layyasaaram school of music.
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
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
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.
is also adept at playing the Kanjira.
The Cowles Auditorium is
located across the street from the 19th
Ramp, in the Hubert H Humphrey
Center, University of MN, West
Bank campus, Minneapolis. The 21st
Ramp is also convenient.
Center, University of Minnesota,
To get to the 19th Ave
- 35W to U of MN
exit (Washington Ave
S). East on Washington to Cedar Ave S. South on Cedar Ave S to 3rd St
S. East on 3rd St S 1/ 2 block.
- I94 to Cedar Ave
S. North on Cedar Ave S to 3rd St S.
East on 3rd St S 1/ 2 block.
- Washington Ave
SE from U of MN east bank. Exit on
Cedar Ave. S. South on Cedar Ave S to 3rd St S. East on 3rd St S 1/ 2
Fall 2011 Concert Series has been made possible, in part, by funds
provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s (MRAC)
Activities Support (AAS) Grant, through an appropriation by the
Minnesota State Legislature, the Honeywell “Dollars for
the Xcel Energy “Dollars for Doing” Grant, and
donors. These concerts are co-sponsored by KFAI Radio (90.3FM in
Mpls/106.7FM in St. Paul).
For further information