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Sutikshna Veeravali - Conviction Through Carnatic Music

Raji Ganesh

 Carnatic music is most often presented in concert format. When it is not, it is second most often presented in a format aimed at educating about a Carnatic-music-specific topic. However, one does not typically hear of a presentation using Carnatic music as the means to explore a more abstract, universal topic.

On Sunday, November 19, 5pm - 7 pm, at the Sri Kalikambal Shiva Temple, Sutikshna Veeravalli does exactly this, exploring the topic, “Building Conviction”.

Whether composing, performing, or listening to music, the most satisfying experiences always involve conviction– conviction that this is what you want to lean into and channel right now. As a composer, we might explore the world around to seed a resonant idea. As a performer, we might search within ourselves to lock into a mood we’d like to express. As a listener, we might take cues from the performer’s body language to feel synchronized with the music. In all three, we look until we find conviction– this sense that intuition has comfortably taken the driver’s seat. So, if from multiple angles conviction is a goal of music, how do we build up to it?

Sutikshna will respond to this query by breaking down the content of Carnatic music compositions and techniques of manodharmam, or structured improvisation. This presentation will take elements of the traditional concert format interwoven with explanation and interactive portions. Sutikshna's background and diverse experiences as a high school educator, Bharatanatyam dancer, and Carnatic musician drive her to look at this concept of conviction by not only considering an individual’s mind but also an individual’s environment.

If you are a student, teacher, performer, or appreciator of music or study of the mind, this is an opportunity to engage consciously with processes that often go on subconsciously in a performing arts space. Do attend this  uniquely learning-driven concert. All are welcome, and the presentation is free entry.

About Sutikshna

Sutikshna Veeravalli, is a gifted Carnatic vocalist and Bharatanatyam artiste originally from Naperville, Illinois and now from Brookline, MA. Sutikshna has been learning vocal music  under the tutelage of Sri R. Suryaprakash. After her maiden concert in Sri Ranjani Sabha, Chennai, she has been performing at several venues in the US and India. She was spot selected as a finalist in the Carnatic Music Idol USA in 2011. She has participated and won several Carnatic music competitions including those in Cleveland Aradhana and Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam. She was awarded the title of “Yuva Kala Vipanchee” for excellence in Indian Classical Music and Dance by the organization, Vipanchee, founded by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. Sutikshna holds the unique distinction of composing a Thillana at the young age of 14, and later performing it at her Bharatanatyam Arangetram. This was possible because of her rigorous training and well-nurtured manodharma, under her guru. Sutikshna is deeply passionate about these traditional, enriching, and complementary arts and strives to pursue it lifelong. She is also a special education teacher who now works in Brookline, MA.

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