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Past Presidents

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Dr. P. Rajagopalan                                                                               

·         Founded CMANA in 1976 with the help of fifty five friends sending in their cheques each for $100 in response to proposal for the need for an organization for perpetuation and propagation of Carnatic Music in North America. 

·         Inauguration of CMANA by Mr. C.V. Narasimhan, Under Secretary General, United Nations, New York, in April 1976.  A momentous occasion indeed!  A dream realized!!

·         Organized the first nation-wide concert tour of Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari and party with the co-sponsorship of Bharathi Society of Montreal.   The tour was a phenomenal success which provided the proper exposure for CMANA in becoming a household name in a short period of time.

·         Persuaded Sri. T.R. Mahalingam (Mali) to present his only concert in the Western Hemisphere in 1988 with T. Rukmini (Violin), Trichy Sankaran (Mrudangam) and Srimushnam Raja Rao (Kanjira).  

·         Elected for a second tenure as President in 1983.

·         First ever concert tour of the States and Canada by Sri. Lalgudi J. Jayaraman, G.J.R. Krishnan and Trichy Sankaran.  

·         Organizing the 500th anniversary of birth Saint Purandara Dasa to be celebrated on a grand scale with the unique concert of his compositions by Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari and party. 

 

Mr. L. Ramachandran**

·         One of the founding member of the CMANA, became the second President of CMANA in 1978 succeeding the founding President Dr. R. Rajagopalan.

·         Brought several famous Carnatic musicians to tour across North America.

·         Arranged recitals and concerts by distinguished artists including M.S. Subbalakshmi, Veena S. Balachandar, Sikkil Sisters, Mani Krishnaswamy, Bombay Sisters and D. K. Pattammal.

·         Always keen to bring the spectacle of live performances to many people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience such events.

·         Ardent lover of the Carnatic Music art form youth days in India, relishing the opportunity to be able share this art form with others in the USA. 

** - CMANA regrets to note that Mr. L. Ramachandran passed away a few years ago. 

 

Mr. Parthasarathy

·         Succeeded Mr. L. Ramachandran as the President of CMANA, serving out one year of Mr. Ramachandran's tenure.

·         Subsequently elected and serverd as President for a two-year period. 

·         Arranged multiple concert tours including that of Veena Balachandar. 

 

Dr. Uma Roy

·         Drafted as trustee in response to a somewhat critical letter to DR. P. Rajagopalan, the founder and President of CMANA, for not publicizing its activities sufficiently!

·         Wrote something chatty on Music in a CMANA souvenir in 1987 which led to getting drafted, once again – this time to edit “SANGEETHAM”. Followed rudimentary method of cutting and pasting pictures, articles banged away on a typewriter with no erase function even (using a white tape roll to correct a spelling error!). Many years later, self-funded and bought a $400 Brother combo typewrite/computer with some word-processing capability.  This technology could type a whole page, store it, erase, edit, etc. and print it at will.  To me, that was modernity only next to sliced bread! 

·         Later, in 1993, participation by children was high, hence a JUNIOR SANGEETHAM was created as a part of the main issue under the editorship of (Late) VINAY VENKATESH. Kids played a main part for its eight pages and published their interviews of artists with their frank questions.

·         Considers being president for 4 years, organizing two very successful annual tours, and bringing out 3-4 issues of SANGEETHAM a full time endeavour for entire family.

 

Dr. V. Ramaswami

·         Associated with CMANA almost from the days of its founding.  Served as Secretary for eight years, President for two, and a trustee for four years. 

·         Helped in the preparation of many publications of Sangeetham, fliers, and a variety of promotional material.  Designed the publications associated with CMANA’s 25th anniversary. 

·         Handled the audio system in concerts in NJ and neighbouring states for over eight years.

·         Proposed and designed all aspects of the Sangeethasaagara award. And was a key player in the organization of the two Sangeethasaagara programs in Chennai, the first honoring Sri Semmangudi Srinivasaier and Prof. T.N. Krishnan, and the second honoring the female music trinity Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi, Dr. D.K. Pattammal, and Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari.

·         Helped in formalizing the MLV award at Narada Gana Sabha and the CMANA Award at Music Academy, Chennai.

·         Organized the first Tamil Isai concert in the USA. 

 

Mr. G. Subbiah

·         Involved with CMANA for almost two decades, becoming a Trustee in 1992, Secretary of CMANA in 1994 and the President from 1996 – 2000, and Trustee again!

·         Keen on bringing Carnatic music to all corners of USA where there is an Indian diaspora and a service to Carnatic music by giving opportunities for young talented musicians.

·         Instituted the Sangeethasagara award with the first recipient being Shri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in an award function held in Chennai in 1994. A high point in his time with CMANA.

·         Took responsibility for audio recordings for many years for many concerts under multiple Boards.

 

Mr. T. V. Krishna

·         President 1998 to 2000, a period of flux for CMANA, where many new Organizations were also presenting Artistes, which hitherto had been CMANA’s sole domain.  Cultural activities on many fronts such as Dance, Temple activities, Dramas, and other forms of entertainment/ social obligations ate into CMANA’s attendance at its featured concerts.

·         Oversaw the SangeethaSaagara Award function felicitating three eminent women stalwarts MS, DK Pattamal, and late MLV. Owes a deep sense of gratitude to Narada Gaana Sabha for hosting this event under their banner and infrastructure, and owes a big thanks to Soundaram and Ramaswamy who were the prime movers of this idea, and facilitators with NGS to give CMANA a great platform.

·         Planned and conducted CMANA’s major milestone of its              25th Year Celebrations in NJ - a 3-day event featuring 10 major artistes with equally prominent accompanists. While the event itself was free to the Rasikas, we used that forum to increase our membership. During those 3 days alone, our membership almost doubled.

 

Mrs. Asha Janardhan

·         Started as a trustee in 1993 arranging annual Great composers' day music competitions, arranging Music-Marathon, which was an all-day program to promote and encourage local teachers and their talented students, and representing CMANA at the Thyagaraja Aradhana in collaboration with NJML.

·         Became Vice President in 1999 and took multiple responsibilities during the Silver Jubilee of CMANA May 2001.

·         As President from Fall 2001, arranged many concerts including one by (late) Smt. Suguna Purushothaman, and a marathon concert by Smt. Sudha Raghunathan who set a record by singing for six and half hours. Arranged successful tours by T. M. Krishna and by Smt. Rama Ravi.

·         Steered the organization and handled the sensitivities during the tragic events of World Trade Center disaster and later the tragic demise of Mr. Thanabalasingham, Vice President of CMANA. 

·         Instituted the CMANA ‘best percussionist award’, which is given annually by The Percussive Arts Center, Bangalore.

 

Dr. Soundaram Ramaswami

·         Started with helping Mrs. Vasantha Rajagopalan with cooking for all concert and program attendees (yes, CMANA used to serve free food then to attract an audience) and serving as host to many visiting artists.  Organized a Great Composers Day program in the 1980’s at The Hindu Temple, NY featuring mainly children.  Formalized many aspects of the GCD.

·         Later inducted as a trustee and subsequently as President for two years. 

·         As President, conducted a successful fundraiser program, which featured many memorable events - a dance program by the Dhananjayans and a concert of Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, in addition to a soulful program of Smt. (Bombay) Jayashree Ramnath. 

·         During the Silver Jubilee, resurrected the history of CMANA including the list of former trustees from boxes of paper correspondence and files. Later undertook a major responsibility of streamlining the CMANA accounts with Treasurer Mrs. Mangalam Chidambaram. 

·         Being from the founding family of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, got considerable help for CMANA and helped build a strong alliance with that organization. 

 

Dr. P. N. Aruna

·         Founder member joining CMANA in 1976 at its formation.

·         Fondly recalls helping with the December 1976 concert of Smt. DK Pattammal and the 1977 concert of M.S. Subbalakshmi.

·         Become a Trustee in 2001, later served as Secretary, and had two stints as President working with a cohesive team and providing a forum to local artists.

·         Proudly notes that two 2nd generation trustees have served on the Board – Nithya Nagarajan and Rajesh Nathan.

 

Mr. Sankar Narayanan            

·         Had 12+ years of active and direct responsibilities as a CMANA Board member in various roles, teaming and working with 4 Presidents – Mr. T.V. Krishna, Ms. Asha Janardhan, Dr. Soundaram Ramaswami, and Dr. P.N. Aruna.

·         Became President in 2007 with a 3-year term under the newly revised Constitution. 

·         Oversaw the successful first tours of up-and-coming artistes – Sikkil Gurucharan in 2008 and Ms Nisha Rajagopalan in 2009.

·         Chaired an awards-committee to felicitate Sangita Kalanidhi Madurai T. N. Sheshagopalan with the coveted SangeethaSaagara title in October 2007.

·         Took CMANA 'green' by shifting to electronic mailing of flyers and going paperless - a daunting task that required collecting members’ emails and updating our database. 

 

Mr. Aravind Narasimhan

·         Considers CMANA’s 25th year anniversary as his first opportunity to share Carnatic music passion with an elite group of volunteers.

·         Proudly recollects that CMANA’s elected Board consists of volunteers with no true hierarchy, a collective process of decision-making, and strict financial checks and balances. And that CMANA is an inclusive organization, welcoming all and nurturing a sense of community while achieving common goals.

·         Oversaw the modifying CMANA’s constitution to make operations nimble and adapt to the times.

·         Part of the team that organized CMANA’s grand 35th anniversary celebrations.

 

 



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