Category Archives: Uncategorized

Günter Grass

Günter Grass
(10/16/1927 – 4/15/2015)
AP Photograph 2007

Günter Grass was born in Danzig, Germany, 90 years ago on October 16, 1927 and died on April 15, 2015. He was a preeminent German writer and playwright, excelling also in poetry and the fine arts. Throughout his career, he sought to re-examine Germany’s troubled past.

The recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, Grass’ most famous work is the 1959 novel “The Tin Drum”, which was also made into a film and won the 1979 Palme d’Or. “The Tin Drum” was the first book in the Danzig Trilogy and was written in a style that was an amalgam of magic and realism.

In 2006 Grass published the first of 3 autobiographies “Peeling the Onion”, creating controversy when he revealed in an interview that he had been a member of the Waffen SS.

Afterword:
In April 2015, I published a blog entitled “Günter Grass – Blunt and Forceful in Calcutta!“: He had died on April the 13th that year, and I tried to recall the brief time we had spent together in that vibrant Bengali city well-known throughout India and internationally for its cultural diversity of musicians, filmmakers, poets and painters.

References: Wikipedia; My Diary

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 2 1/2 years ago back in February 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me, if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Camille and the Carnival of the Animals

Who was Camille? Find out if you haven’t had occasion to listen to The Carnival of the Animals as a young or veteran concert goer.

As a teaser, alongside is a mug shot of the composer – he’s no other than Saint-Saëns!

b. October 9, 1835
d. December 16, 1921

I fell for his music when back in India as a youngster I first heard The Swan, the penultimate section of the 14-section suite for two pianos and orchestra.

Many years later it was a dream come true, when as the General Manager of the Florida Philharmonic in Miami, USA, I programmed Le Carnaval des animaux at one of our ‘open-air’ concerts, which I organized especially to take place at the City Zoo. The weather cooperated fully and the audience adored it as being one of its best experiences. Indeed, if I may say so, it was un succès fou – a huge success! Listen now to a youthful orchestral ensemble (Symphony Orchestra of The Stanisław Moniuszko Music School in Wałbrzych, Poland, with Małgorzata Sapiecha conducting) performing the last two sections of The Carnival of the Animals on YouTube: The Swan and Finale.

Not long after, the Florida Philharmonic performed the composer’s  “Organ” Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, for orchestra and organ at the Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale that was recorded for the sake of posterity with Diane Bish , the brilliant organist. Listen now on YouTube to the Finale, performed by Diane on the massive Möller 23,511 pipe organ with the West Point Military Band at the Academy Chapel in West Point, New York.

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (b. October 9, 1835 – d. December 16, 1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era.

Saint-Saëns was a musical prodigy, making his concert debut at the age of ten. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire he followed a conventional career as a church organist. Twenty years later, he was a successful freelance pianist and composer, in demand in Europe and the Americas.

As a young man, Saint-Saëns was enthusiastic for the most modern music of the day, particularly that of Schumann, Liszt and Wagner, although his own compositions were generally within a conventional classical tradition. He was a scholar of musical history, and remained committed to the structures worked out by earlier French composers. This brought him into conflict in his later years with composers of the impressionist and 12-tone schools of music. Although there were neoclassical elements in his music, foreshadowing works by Stravinsky and  Les Six – Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc and Germaine Tailleferre  – he was often regarded as a reactionary in the decades around the time of his death.

Saint-Saëns held only one teaching post, at the École de Musique Classique et Religieuse in Paris, and remained there for less than five years. It was nevertheless important in the development of French music: his students included Gabrie Fauré, among whose own later pupils was Maurice Ravel. Both of them were strongly influenced by Saint-Saëns, whom they revered as a genius.

References: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewens

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 2 1/2 years ago back in February 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me, if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Gustav Mahler Gains Musical Heights

Composer Gustav Mahler (pictured alongside) was appointed 120 years ago today, i.e., on October the 8th, 1897 as the director of the Vienna Court Opera. That was after a series of increasingly important appointments that brought him to Europe’s leading opera houses in Prague, Leipzig and Budapest. Mahler displayed his musical gifts at an early age. After graduating from the Vienna Conservatory in 1878, he held a succession of conducting posts of rising importance in the opera houses of Europe, culminating in his appointment in 1897 as director of the Vienna Court Opera (Hofoper).

During his ten years in Vienna, Mahler—who had converted to Catholicism to secure the post—experienced regular opposition and hostility from the anti-Semitic press. Nevertheless, his innovative productions and insistence on the highest performance standards ensured his reputation as one of the greatest of opera conductors, particularly as an interpreter of the stage works of Wagner, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky.

Late in his life he was briefly director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Mahler’s œuvre is relatively limited; for much of his life composing was necessarily a part-time activity while he earned his living as a conductor. Aside from early works such as a movement from a piano quartet composed when he was a student in Vienna, Mahler’s works are generally designed for large orchestral forces, symphonic choruses and operatic soloists.

Those works were frequently controversial when first performed, and several were slow to receive critical and popular approval; exceptions included his Second Symphony, Third Symphony, and the triumphant premiere of his Eighth Symphony in 1910. Some of Mahler’s immediate musical successors included the composers of the Second Viennese School, notably Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten are among later 20th-century composers who admired and were influenced by Mahler.

The International Gustav Mahler Institute was established in 1955 to honour the composer’s life and work.

Afterword: I had the distinct pleasure on four occasions to visit each of the opera houses, which fell under what some described as Mahler’s autocratic rule of their musical destiny. In the case of the Vienna Opera he lifted that company to an imperial position among Europe’s opera houses. During that period, he also conducted the Vienna Philharmonic, proving himself no less remarkable as an interpreter of symphonic music than of opera – and just as intransigent in his demand for ideal performances!

As to his own symphonic creations, the most frequently performed are the first, second, fourth, fifth and ninth. But who cannot be moved by the sheer eloquence and deeply moving pages of the Adagio of his Symphony No.9 in D minor.

References: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewens

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 2 1/2 years ago back in February 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me, if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!
Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

 

Back to Bax

Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax KCVO was an English composer, poet and author. After reading this post, I hope you’ll agree that this neglected composer needs to be seen more on our concert programs and heard more in our concert halls.

Here’s a summary of his sterling background:
Born: November 8, 1883 · London, England
Died: October 3, 1953 · Cork, Ireland
Compositions: Symphony No. 2 · Tintagel · Symphony No. 7 · Symphony No. 3 · Symphony N…
Education: Royal Academy of Music

Bax was born in the London suburb of Streatham to a prosperous family. He was encouraged by his parents to pursue a career in music, and his private income enabled him to follow his own path as a composer without regard for fashion or orthodoxy. Consequently, he came to be regarded in musical circles as an important but isolated figure.

In 1900 Bax moved on to the Royal Academy of Music, where he remained until 1905, studying composition with Frederick Corder and piano with Tobias Matthay. Corder was a devotee of the works of Wagner, whose music was Bax’s principal inspiration in his early years. He later observed, “For a dozen years of my youth I wallowed in Wagner’s music to the almost total exclusion – until I became aware of Richard Strauss – of any other”. Bax also discovered and privately studied the works of Debussy, whose music, like that of Strauss, was frowned on by the largely conservative faculty of the Academy.

While still a student at the Royal Academy of Music Bax became fascinated with Ireland and Celtic culture, which became a strong influence on his early development. In the years before the First World War he lived in Ireland and became a member of Dublin literary circles, writing fiction and verse under the pseudonym Dermot O’Byrne. Later, he developed an affinity with Nordic culture, which for a time superseded his Celtic influences in the years after the First World War.

Between 1910 and 1920 Bax wrote a large amount of music, including the symphonic poem Tintagel, his best-known work. Perhaps the best known of all his orchestral works Bax’s Tintagel is a vivid tonal impression of the castle-crowned cliff of Tintagel in Cornwall. Here the legends of King Arthur and the scenic grandeur of the Atlantic Ocean fired Bax’s imagination into producing some of the most vivid sea music ever written.

Bax himself wrote that the music brought, “…thoughts of many passionate and tragic incidents in the tales of King Arthur and King Mark… and that the piece ends as it began, with a picture of the castle still proudly fronting the sea and wind of centuries”

During this period he formed a lifelong association with the pianist Harriet Cohen – at first an affair, then a friendship, and always a close professional relationship. In the 1920s he began the series of seven symphonies which form the heart of his orchestral output. In 1942 Bax was appointed Master of the King’s Music, but composed little in that capacity. In his last years he found his music regarded as old-fashioned, and after his death it was generally neglected. From the 1960s onwards, mainly through a growing number of commercial recordings, his music was gradually rediscovered, although little of it is heard with any frequency in the concert hall.

Afterword: As an alumnus myself of the Royal Academy of Music, London, my professor there, Frederick Jackson, urged me to get acquainted with ‘Arnold’s superb compositions’ whenever I got the chance. As a result of the orchestral works, I became attached to Tintagel heard here on YouTube and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones. The Celtic music is played by a Celtic ensemble. Enjoy!

References: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewens

Dear Readers,
You number over 70,000 in just over 2 1/2 years ago back in February 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me, if you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

 

 

Max Bruch and Hebrew Melody

An unusual mix for a German composer was that as a Protestant he happened to be deeply moved by traditional Hebrew melody. I’m speaking here about Max Bruch, who was born in Cologne on January 6, 1838 and after a notable career as both composer and conductor died this day, October 2, 1920 in Friedenau near Berlin.

Bruch is best known for his excellent Violin Concerto in G minor, the Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra, and the Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra. My particular favorite happens to be Kol Nidrei, which he never presumed to write as a work of Jewish music: he only wished to incorporate Jewish inspirations into his own compositions. Here it is on YouTube performed by cellist Jacqueline Du Pre with Daniel Barenboim conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra: Kol Nidrei.

Indeed, Bruch wrote in a letter to cantor and musicologist Eduard Birnbaum (December 4, 1889): “I became acquainted with Kol Nidrei and a few other songs (among others, ‘Arabian Camel’) in Berlin through the Lichtenstein family, who befriended me. Even though I am a Protestant, as an artist I deeply felt the outstanding beauty of these melodies and therefore I gladly spread them through my arrangement.

…As a young man I had already …studied folksongs of all nations with great enthusiasm, because the folksong is the source of all true melodies—a wellspring, at which one must repeatedly renew and refresh oneself—if one doesn’t admit to the absurd belief of a certain party: “The melody is an outdated view.” So lay the study of Jewish ethnic music on my path.”

Bruch’s Violin Concerto was introduced in Coblenz on April 2, 1866, with Otto von Koenigsloew as soloist, and the composer conducting.

References: Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen; Wikipedia

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

 

Durga Puja Celebrated Today

Today, 28th September 2017, India is celebrating the 8th day of Navratri (a multi-day Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn every year that is also known as Durga Ashtami.)  On this day, the Goddess Maha Gauri  – the eighth manifestation of the Goddess Durga – is worshiped. It is believed that her divine light illuminates the entire universe.

She is adorned in a white garb and beautifully seated on her ‘sawari’ (‘ride’) – a bull. She protects and blesses her devotees with her four hands.

As an Old Calcuttan of many years standing in the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, I can imagine in my mind’s eye that virtually everyone is hitting the streets of Kolkata today, albeit under heavy security arrangements, and each celebrant is undoubtedly spellbound by the festive look of the transformed city itself.

Durga Puja (or prayer ritual honoring Durga) is the biggest festival in this part of the world, and West Bengalese, dressed in traditional Puja attire, are more than just fervent to welcome the high spirits prevalent everywhere. The eastern metropolis welcomes its patron goddess with the beat of drums, amid the aroma of incense and fragrance of the shiuli (night jasmine) flowers.

Typically, revelers – balancing plates of cutlets (fritters) and daab pani (green coconut water) while precariously maneuvering through the crowded alleyways – patiently queue up for a look at the pandals (large open-sided structures with captivating, religious-themed decorations inside. I’m told that the community pujas in the city number over 3,000 this year, while thousands more are observed in towns and villages across the state.

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Kiwi, Koala, Kangaroo plus

2003 for us was a banner year for travel when Lolita and I embarked on a round-the-world trip by land and air, the highlights of which were New Zealand and Australia.  We were bent on first exploring Kiwi country and we were not disappointed when we flew into
Auckland, North Island, from New York via Los Angeles.

Kiwi
(Also, a colloquial name for a New Zealander!)

Then onto Adelaide, South Australia, via Sydney. The time there was well spent, including a  rewarding trip to Cleland Wildlife Park, which is just 20 minutes away from Adelaide’s City Center: the Park is beautifully laid out and full of fauna, including two other K-named species, namely, Kangaroos galore and the adorable Koalas – the Koala shown below in the middle photo is obviously enjoying being fed his favorite greens. (Photos by yours truly.)
Kangaroos

Koala ‘bear’ – my favorite pic!

Pair of Emus

References:
My Photo Albums; Wikipedia

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

Down Under, Twice Over

Azim Mayadas and Roy Sen
at Azim’s 70th Birthday Bash in NYC (2003)

It helps to have family and friends in far-flung places that you’ve never visited before. And so it was back in the last century – mid 1990’s to be precise – that my wife and I found ourselves, passports in hand, entering Australia via Sydney’s international airport for the very first time. We were delighted to meet up there with cousins from my mother’s side and the following week with close friends of mine in Adelaide.

I personally was so impressed with the country and its friendly people that, on my own, I made another trip to satisfy my curiosity in experiencing more aspects of that vast country. Also, the fact that my best friend from schooldays in New Delhi who was later on a business executive in Calcutta, working at the same British firm as I was, drew me to South Australia.

Roy Kumar Sen had preceded me in emigrating abroad – he with Philomena and their family to Down Under. and I with Lolita and our family to the United States: Roy stuck to his engineering profession by signing up with a large industrial mining company in its export division; I swung away from my commercial background in India’s coal industry, and in pursuit of my lifelong interest in classical music was hired as the Assistant Manager of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in Upstate New York.

During my first three years with RPO, and as part of my job, I took the orchestra on concert tours up and down the Eastern seaboard. During one such ‘run-out’ and in the midst of an actual concert, I was summoned to take a phone call backstage: A familiar British-accented voice said cheerily: “Roy, he-a-h!” He was visiting the Americas on a sales trip, and my Rochester office had given him my itinerary, so that he could get in touch with me before he returned home. That’s Roy for you. He kept ‘in touch’ one way or another throughout the times we were so geographically apart. His highly legible cursive-scripted airmail letters arrived regularly with news of his rapidly growing family of the younger generation to the point that I lost count.

A date the Sens and Mayadases remembered later on with affection was when by way of careful coordination between  Rochester and Adelaide we flew -East and West respectively – for a blissful few days to a tucked-away countryside resort north of Bombay and chewed the fat about this and that until the cows came home – literally!

Three-Scores-and-Ten Birthday Bash
Yup, 2003! That was my banner year, my 70th Year Birthday Bash!! My youngest daughter, Priya, and son-in-law, David Sable, went all out to convert their duplex on Riverside into a virtual fairyland to celebrate the big day with a long list of invitees, some of whom I’d not seen for ages. Of note was Roy, who had flown in especially from Adelaide for the occasion. It’s no surprise, then, that the following photos feature us at various stages of the party, beginning with Roy’s surprise appearance – Priya had kept it a secret! – and ending with his toasting me:

The Big Bro Hug after Years Apart

 

The Toaster-in-Chief

Philomena Sen and Lolita (1989 Winter)

Azim and Philomena

Postscript:
Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross again face-to-face, and I was mortified to learn from Philomena that Roy had died on a vacation abroad with her while he was taking his routine morning swim in a hotel pool in November 2009. Apparently, he had suffered from a heart attack.

Goodbye, Dear Friend!

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

Carnatic Classical Violin Virtuoso

[Born in the lineage of a disciple of the sainted musician Thyagaraja, Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Jayaraman inherited the essence of Carnatic music from his versatile father, V. R. Gopala Iyer, who trained him. Iyer, a martinet, enforced traits of intense focus and discipline in the young Jayaraman through rigorous lessons. Though a harsh father and guru, Gopala Iyer would not allow the young Jayaraman to even sharpen pencils, believing that his tender fingers were too precious.]

At the age of 12, Lalgudi started his musical career as an accompanying violinist to Carnatic musicians              before rising in fame as a prominent soloist.                                                                                                                                                   Lalgudi Jayaraman
(b. 9/17/1930 d. 4/22/2013)

Lalgudi expanded his style of violin playing by inventing a whole new technique that is designed to best suit the needs of Indian Classical Music and establishing a unique style that came to be known as Lalgudi Bani. He composed several ‘kritis‘, ‘tillanas‘ and ‘varnams‘ and dance compositions, which are a blend of raga, bhava, rhythm and lyrical beauty.

  • Here is an example on YouTube of his Tillana performed by him with his chamber group – it’s a rhythmic piece in Carnatic music that is generally performed at the end of a concert and widely used in Classical Indian dance performances.
  • After inviting him to play the Edinburgh Festival in 1965, Yehudi Menuhin, the renowned violinist, impressed by Lalgudi’s technique and performance, presented him with his precious Italian violin. Lalgudi in return presented Menuhin with an ivory dancing Nataraja when Menuhin visited India.

The Government of India chose Lalgudi to represent India at the Festival of India in USA, London and he gave solo and ‘Jugalbandi’ concerts in London and also in Germany and Italy that received rave reviews.

He was awarded the presitigious Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001. He is commonly grouped with M.S. Gopalakrishnan and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music.

Afterword: Carnatic music, Karnāṭaka saṃgīta or Karnāṭaka saṅgītam is a system of music commonly associated with southern India, including the modern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, as well as Sri Lanka. It is one of two main sub-genres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions, the other sub-genre being Hindustani music, which emerged as a distinct form because of Persian and Islamic influences in northern India.

The main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in gāyaki (singing) style.

Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tambura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Other typical instruments used in performances may include the ghatam, kanjira, morsing, venu flute, veena, and chitraveena. The most outstanding performances, and the greatest concentration of Carnatic musicians, are to be found in the city of Chennai. Various festivals are held throughout India and abroad which mainly consist of Carnatic music performances, such as the 6-week long Madras Music Season, which has been considered to be one of the world’s largest cultural events.

The Music Season was started in 1927, to mark the opening of the Madras Music Academy. It used to be a traditional month-long Carnatic music festival, but since then it has also diversified into dance and drama, as well as non-Carnatic art forms. Some concert organizers also feature their own Carnatic music festivals during the season. Thousands of performances are held by hundreds of musicians across various venues in the city.

His biography, An Incurable Romantic, by Lakshmi Devnath, was released posthumously in 2013. It contains a foreword by sitarist Ravi Shankar, and charts his 70 years in music.

Personal life: Lalgudi Jayaraman was married to Smt Rajalakshmi and had two children: his son G.J.R.Krishnan and his daughter Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. Both follow the footsteps of their father and are famous in their own right. He had three sisters Padmavathy, a vainika, Rajalakshmi and Srimathi, both violinists. Srimathi learned violin from him as well. The renowned veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh is Smt Rajalakshmi’s daughter.

Jayaraman died on 22 April 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest in Chennai. He is survived by his son and daughter.

Most famous for his thillanas and varnams, Lalgudi is considered to be one of the most prolific composers of modern times. His compositions span four languages (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit), as well as a whole range of ragas not conventionally used for varnams or thillanas. Characteristic of his style, the melody of his compositions camouflages subtle rhythmic intricacies. His compositions are very popular with Bharathanatyam dancers, even as they have become a standard highlight of every leading Carnatic musician’s repertoire.

Reference: Wikipedia

Dear Readers:
You number over 75,000 in over two-and-a-half years ago back in early 2015, when I first began to put “some of my thoughts, written down” and posted them in the blogosphere. Since that time, many of you have urged me to seek support of my site and my writings by way of donations.

 My blog is about my life. It’s about what I’ve learned through the span of my life. It’s about things I love, and things I know and things I have experienced. I am humbled that so many of you want to join with me in my reflections. If you like what you find here, if it inspires or informs or amuses you, then I am content.

It would mean a lot to me if, with the advent of the New Year 2017, you would please consider making a donation of US $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, or whatever amount you deem fit to sustain my work.
And thank you for being a regular reader of the Azim Mayadas Blog!

Copyright © 2017 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hull House Heroine

Jane Addams (b. September 6, 1860 d May 21, 1935)

Hull House was a settlement house in the United States that was co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams (pictured above) and Ellen Gates Starr. Located in the Near West Side of Chicago, Illinois, Hull House (named after the home’s first owner) opened to recently arrived European immigrants. My interest in Ms. Addams stemmed from my delving deep into the history of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, which in its latest title  of National Guild of Community Arts Education, is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year.

By 1911, Hull House had grown to 13 buildings. In 1912 the Hull House complex was completed with the addition of a summer camp, the Bowen Country Club. With its innovative social, educational, and artistic programs, Hull House became the standard bearer for the movement that had grown, by 1920, to almost 500 settlement houses nationally.

Most of the Hull House buildings were demolished for the construction of the University of Illinois-Circle Campus in the mid 1960s. The Hull mansion and several subsequent acquisitions were continuously renovated to accommodate the changing demands of the association. The original building and one additional building, which has been moved 200 yards, survive today.

On June 12, 1974, the Hull House building was designated a Chicago Landmark. On June 23, 1965, it was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. On October 15, 1966, which is the day that the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was enacted, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hull House was one of the four original members to be listed on both the Chicago Registered Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places list (along with Chicago Pile-1, Robie House & Lorado Taft Midway Studios). The Hull House Association ceased operations in January 2012, but the Hull mansion and a related dining hall remain open as a museum.

When Jane’s father died, the inheritance left her with enough money to live on. Addams traveled to Europe. During one of these trips, she decided what she wanted to do with her life.  In 1888, she visited Toynbee Hall in London, England. Operated by Oxford University students, Toynbee Hall served one of London’s poorest neighborhoods. It offered recreation and educational programs to the poor. Addams left England determined to set up a similar “settlement house” (community center) in the United States.

Jane Addams supported other causes, including trade unions and winning suffrage (the vote) for women. Not all of her efforts won public support. During World War I (1914-18) she organized the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, which worked to end the war. Many called her an enemy of the people because of her antiwar stance.
In the end, though, Addams was lauded for her life’s work. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her work with the peace organization. When she died in 1935, Hull House filled an entire city block. It had inspired the creation of hundreds of similar houses across the U.S. Many Hull House residents went on to pursue other important social reforms. Through Jane Addams’ efforts, women had blazed a pioneering role in improving the lives of others. But Addams always insisted that Hull House served her own needs as much as others. “I should at least know something of life firsthand,” she said.

Afterword:
My own history of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts covering the period 1981-2001 includes a background note that reads:
Janet D. Schenck wrote in Chapter V of her monograph Music Schools and Settlement Music Departments (National Federation of Settlements, Boston, 1923):
“The decade and a half between 1893 and 1911 constituted the period of pioneering in settlement music instruction. By 1910 the idea had thoroughly proved its worth under the restricted conditions imposed upon it in the settlement house. Well-established departments of music with groups of people more interested in the spread of music than in any other field of culture had been brought into being. The movement to establish
schools and departments gathered fresh momentum.
“An important off-shoot of the establishment of a number of new schools in 1910 was the desire on the part of founders to meet and discuss problems having to do with organization and administration. The first national conference of music school representatives was held in New York in 1911. The meeting formed itself into the
National Association of Music School Societies, which met again in 1912. The reports of these two conferences were most helpful and stimulating.”

Reference: Wikipedia

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