Sangeeta Sabhas play a prominent role in promoting Indian classical music and every musician, right from amateur to the established, gets an opportunity to showcase their talent in these sabhas. Indiranagar Sangeeta Sabha is one such organisation that has been promoting Indian music since 1986.
Speaking about the initial days of the sabha, Dr R Balasubramaniam, the founder trustee said, "I was studying in IISC which was close to Malleswaram, a hub of cultural activities. After the course finished, I returned to Indiranagar. and found out that this place was a barren land. Along with A Alagappan, L Krishna Murti, R B K Warrier, and K S S Rao, who are no more, we decided to promote Indian music. Meanwhile, late L Krishna Murti, a physician and music connoisseur along with K C K Raja, the first Director General of Police, Karnataka set out guidelines for the functioning of the organisation."
Like many other sangeeta sabhas in the city, the journey of this sabha was also not smooth. Members of the association went door-to-door to promote music and enroll members. Those days, the organisation catered only to veena and light music classes. Monthly concerts were conducted in the Vigyan Mandira hall, provided by Chinmaya Mission. "Though government allotted BDA land in 1992 for cultural promotion, it was caught in litigation. We had to struggle for funds to construct the present sabha," he added.
However, the organisation continued to receive good response and today it is imparting music and dance knowledge to over 700 students in 12 streams with 15 well-trained teachers.
In 2004, the sabha's cultural complex, Purandara Bhavana, was inaugurated by former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. The organisation has also drafted their own syllabus and conducts examination for those interested. "Foundation course certificate examination includes both theory and practical examination for students. We see to it that the quality of the education is not diluted. Workshops are also conducted with respect to voice culture, singing of dhrupads and others," explained Balasubramaniam.
To showcase the research work of musicians whose works are unrecognised, the sabha conducts national and international conferences. 'Africa Meets Asia', an international conference conducted in 2008 brought artistes from different parts of the world on a single platform. 'Rhythm and melody in world music' served as a path for exchange between art traditions of the orient. Besides, the organisation also conducts over two concerts per month, providing platform for both young and the established artistes.
The sabha has also instituted Purandara National award for those who have rendered selfless service to the world of Indian music and dance. Dr M Balamuralikrishna, C Saroja, C Lalitha, Lalgudi G Jayaraman and Dr R K Srikantan were among the few to receive this award.
The organisation has some rare collection of concerts rendered by stalwarts of Indian music of the yesteryear. When asked about the library facility, Balasubramaniam said, "We are planning to digitise the library as youngsters prefer the digitised version."
Speaking about their future plans, he said, "We will conduct the third International conference on music and dance with the theme 'Classical forms in world music' from January 22 to January 27, 2014," he concluded.