Acclaimed violinist visits U.S., discusses plans for ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’

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Internationally acclaimed violinist Padma Bhushan Dr. L. Subramaniam, left, his grand daughter Mahati, center, and India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. Photo: courtesy Dr.L. Subramaniam.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Padma Bhushan Dr. L Subramaniam, recently met the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and discussed local celebration plans in the U.S. for Government of India’s initiative  ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate and celebrate 75 years of independence.

The Mahotsav was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, earlier this year. The website for the Initiative states that the “Mahotsav is an embodiment of all that is progressive about India’s socio-cultural, political and economic identity.”

The official start of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ was March 12, 2021, a 75-week countdown, which will end Aug. 15, 2023.

Dr. Subramaniam and Padma Shri Kavita Krishnamurti, renowned Indian playback singer, along with their 10-year old granddaughter Mahati Subramaniam were on a multipurpose visit to the U.S. recently, and visited Los Angeles, Houston, New York, and Washington D.C. During their trip, they participated in tours and concerts, and made video recordings predominantly in New York for the 31st anniversary of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (LGMF).

Renowned Indian playback singer Padma Shri Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam receiving the Tana Riri 2021 award from the CM of Gujarat Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel, and Somabhai Modi. Photo: Courtesy Dr. L. Subramaniam

The LGMF was started in 1992 by Dr. Subramaniam in memory of his father and guru, Prof. V. Lakshminarayana. He is particularly pleased that his mother, Seethalakshmi’s birth centenary celebrations coincide with the 31st anniversary of LGMF, and the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

In an interview with News India Times, Dr. Subramaniam said he had met both Ambassador Sandhu and Deputy Chief of Mission, Sudhakar Dalela. “Some programs are already finalized and others are being finalized. I also met with the Consul General of India in Houston, Aseem R Mahajan who is coordinating our visit for the grand premiere of the Mahatma Symphony with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in Houston in 2022. We will be doing a global tour next year to USA, Europe, and other countries to participate in the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and the LGMF.”

Dr. Subramaniam said he also met with the Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, and discussed plans for next year’s Mahotsav celebrations. He reminisced that during his visit to New York in 1987, he rehearsed at the Indian Consulate in New York City before performing at the United Nations to commemorate the 40th anniversary of India’s Independence.

In addition, “in India, to coincide with the Mahotsav, we will be having the LGMF from January 9 – 11 digitally, and live concerts from January 26 – 30 in different cities,” Dr. Subramaniam said.

Just last week, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel, presented the Tana Riri 2021 Award to Kavita Krishnamurti, and a memento to Dr. Subramaniam during the Tana-Riri Mahotsav in Vadnagar in Gujarat. The celebrity couple also had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Modi’s elder brother Somabhai Modi at the open air concert attended by an estimated 15,000 people.

Responding to a question about his granddaughter Mahati’s recent debut album, “How We Feel,” Dr. Subramaniam said that she’s the fifth generation musician in their family.

“Mahati has been performing since she was 2-years old. She performed in a symphony orchestra during Gandhi Jayanti celebrations in Sri Lanka in October 2018, and recently performed a duet with me in a live concert at the Aspiration Grounds in Sri Chinmoy Centre in New York. This is her first major solo production, where she has sung, written the lyrics and melody, played the violin, and performed a gymnastics routine in the music video. We are proud of her,” he said.

Dr. Subramaniam noted that many musicians were badly impacted during the pandemic. “Many of them sold their equipment and studios, and suffered to survive and support their families,” he said.

“During the pandemic, we came up with a project where I composed in Bangalore and involved musicians globally online including Pandit Jasraj from New Jersey, K J Yesudas from Houston, and the late S.P. Balasubrahmanyam from Chennai and others,” Dr. Subramaniam said.

In addition to this project, he also produced programs online, especially about doctors who lost their lives while treating COVID patients during the pandemic.

But things are slowly returning to normalcy, Dr. Subramaniam noted. He performed his first outdoor concert on July 23rd earlier this year near Chennai on the auspicious Guru Purnima Day, at the invitation of Sri Kanchi Vijayendra Saraswati, which also happened to be his birthday.

 

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