Smt Nirmala Rajasekar (veena – Chennai/USA)

Nirmala Rajasekar is a master veena artiste and vocalist. A dynamic and vibrant performer, she is one of the most recognized names in the world of Indian Classical music today. She began training in this art from the age of 6 and began her career as a concert performer when she was 13.

Nirmala’s music is marked by a repertoire that reflects her adherence to the rich patanthra (lineage and heritage) of her Gurus. Her several creative works explore the veena and the voice in the paradigm of world music. Many honors have been conferred on Nirmala and she has been recognized by many institutions around the world for her contributions to music and education – including best performance awards from top music organizations in India- The Music Academy, Narada Gana Sabha and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras and the Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

Nirmala has received the Bush Artistic Fellowship, the McKnight Performing Artist Fellowship and several other commissions and grants from the American Composers Forum, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jay Phillips Center for Inter faith Learning, Meet the Composer New York et al. She has also been feted with several other awards including the Vocational Excellence Award from the Rotary Club International, a Lifetime Achievement award from the India Association of Minnesota. Nirmala is a top ranking artiste, a regular performer in Radio and Television around the world including the BBC (London) AIR (All India Radio) ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and many radio networks in the USA. Her concerts have been featured in many countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. She has performed in world renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, United Nations New York City, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan London, Musee Rietburg Zurich, and BBC London. Her concert at the International Festival of Music in Konya Turkey was the first veena concert in that country in 50 years. Her performances have been featured at several special events including playing for His Excellency the President of India Dr.Abdul Kalam and Jazz great Ornette Coleman among other world luminaries. Nirmala’s concerts are seen every year at the famed December Festival of Music in Chennai, India at all the reputed venues and organizations. Nirmala is scheduled to tour Australia and New Zealand in late summer 2017 and also a tour of the USA in October and November before heading out to India for her winter music Festival tour there in December 2017 and January and February 2018.

Nirmala has recorded extensively over the three decades of her career. She has many albums to her credit under various record labels. She has showcased Carnatic music and performed in a collaborative setting playing and singing alongside other forms of music including western classical music and jazz. She has been featured as a special guest artist by the 3-time Grammy award winning group ‘Sounds of Blackness’ in their album which won ‘Outstanding World Music Album of the Year 2012′.

Nirmala is a passionate educator. Her unique methods and approach to education in the realm of Indian classical music has been a topic of many featured programs on television and the print media. She serves in an advisory capacity on the boards of many organizations in the USA and India. Nirmala teaches at the ‘Naadha Rasa Center for Music’ based in Plymouth Minnesota and serves as its artistic director. Her students, who live in many countries and train with her, are accomplished veena players and vocalists who have won awards and recognitions for their performances.

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