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The International Music and Arts Society was founded by Rani Vijaya Devi Kotda Sangani in Bangalore in December 1974, on the suggestion of her brother, the late Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar. Since its inception, the IMAS has remained dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of the arts for contemporary audiences while carrying forward the legacy of culture of the Mysore Palace. Its finely curated programmes include a rich diversity of music, dance, theatre and visual arts by Indian and international artists. The Society, through its members, brings together a group of people with shared interest in the classical and contemporary arts of the world.
In 2015, when the Society was approaching its 40th year – a remarkable achievement for a non profit organisation run on the faith and commitment of its voluntary members – the late Ila Chandrasekhar, a Founder Vice President and the Society’s former President, suggested that we bring out a commemorative volume to mark the occasion.
This volume, a realisation of that idea, features a selection of over 130 of the events that the Society has presented to date, highlighting the range of programming and cultural richness that characterise its work. It also includes a selection of articles by eminent artists, scholars and rasikas, adding a context to the programmes presented. The book presents a fascinating cultural history of Bangalore, tracing the artistic evolution of a city through a vibrant story of its journey to the present.
The programme will begin with two compositions of Maharaja Sri Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar performed by Vidushi Apeksha Appala accompanied by Vidwan Kartikeya R on violin and Vidwan Nikshith Puttur on mridangam. This will be followed by the book launch and address by Sri Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, and presentations by the authors. The evening will conclude with a talk by Padma Shri awardee Malavika Sarukkai, ‘Reflections on Dance’.
Thumbnail and poster: A young Rani Vijaya Devi at a Steinway piano in Chamundi Vihar, Mysore, with a photograph of Rachmaninoff whom she met in Lucerne. In later years, she had a picture of the composer on her piano that was inscribed ‘To my talented colleague the Princess Vijaya of Mysore’, signed and dated 1939.
Header: Ustad Vilayat Khan, photograph from the publicity for the IMAS Silver Jubilee Concert on January 15, 2000.
Urmila Devi Kotda Sangani
Urmila Devi Kotda Sangani is the President of the International Music and Arts Society founded by her mother, Rani Vijaya Devi, the sister of the late Maharaja Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar, the last Maharaja of Mysore to rule the state.
Urmila Devi schooled in New York, Colombo, Rome and Delhi when her diplomat father was posted in these cities. She finished school in Ooty and later completed her BA as a rank holder at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University. Travel and diplomatic life with her parents widened her horizons and she inherited a love of the arts, particularly Western classical music, from her mother, Rani Vijaya Devi, an accomplished pianist, whose family were known for their patronage of the arts.
She worked for several years in the garment export industry heading the liaison office of an American buying agent in Bangalore before she joined the International Music and Arts Society to devote herself to the promotion of the arts. Her other interests are travel, reading and the environment, and she has served as an honorary Trustee of the Bangalore Environment Trust.
Indira Brunner Chandrasekhar is the principal author of the volume commemorating the forty years of the International Music and Arts Society.
She is a scientist, writer, literary curator and founder, publisher and principal editor of the award-winning literary journal, Out of Print. An anthology marking ten years of the magazine was brought out with Context Books in 2020 and reissued in 2023. With a PhD in Biophysics, she worked in primary research laboratories in India, the US and Switzerland. Her research on the dynamics of biological macromolecules has influenced many of the stories in her collection, Polymorphism that was published by HarperCollins.
Indira is the daughter of Ila Chandrasekhar, a Founder Vice President and later, President of the IMAS and was much engaged with the Society’s activities during its early years. She returned to live in Bangalore with her family in 2018.
Prateeti Punja Ballal
Prateeti Punja Ballal grew up in Bangalore and did her postgraduate work in the US. She taught Literature at various universities there, most recently at Hunter College, City University of New York. She earlier worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She has been a recipient of a Mellon fellowship for her research and several regional and international awards for her technical publications. A musician and dancer, she has a sustaining interest in the arts and is on the curating team of the Bangalore Literature Festival.
Malavika Sarukkai is a globally acclaimed Indian classical dancer and choreographer specialising in Bharatanatyam. She has contributed a significant and large body of work in solo and group choreographies, making her mark as one who imaginatively reworks tradition. Committed to an internalized creative dance process, her choreographies embody originality, intelligence, mastery of technique and a vitalized movement vocabulary, to inventively relate the world of dance to the world around us.She has performed at many places in India and abroad, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and at Chicago.
A 2002 winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, she was honoured by the Government of India in 2003 with the Padma Shri. Sarukkai is also a recipient of the Kalaimamani title from the Government of Tamil Nadu and other awards such as Mrinalini Sarabhai Award, Nrityachoodamani title, Sanskriti award and the Haridas Sammelan award.
Apeksha Appala is one of the prime disciples of renowned vocalist, Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee, Sangeetha Kalarathna Vidushi M S Sheela. Apeksha is an ‘A’ Grade artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan. She is the recipient of national prizes in Carnatic classical and devotional music contests conducted by All India Radio.
Apeksha has been performing at major Sangeetha Sabhas and has won several prestigious titles and awards such as “Nada Kishori” from Nada Brahma Sangeetha Sabha, Mysore and “Vadirajara Anugraha Prashasti” by Akhila Karnataka Haridasa Tatvagnyana Trust to mention a few. She was awarded 1st prize in the “Mirchi Clash of Corporates” event conducted by Radio Mirchi, Hyderabad and was a semi finalist in “Naad Bhed”, a classical reality show by Spic Macay.
She has completed Junior and Senior Music examinations with Distinction and is fortunate to regularly accompany her guru on vocal support. Academically she is an Engineer and is currently working for an IT firm, Allstate.