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A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US…

In an earlier issue, we referred to the grand plans of Sankara Netralaya to celebrate the centenary of the birth of music maestro M S Subbulakshmi in the US and to institute a chair after MS in an American university. We pointed to presenting AR Rahman at the UN on 15 August proving to be an expensive affair that caused a deep dent on SN’s finances. 

SN presented musician Sudha Raghunathan in six American cities and did raise some modest amounts. It presented her at the UN for a much smaller audience on 2 October. It planned a grand finale of the celebrations presenting Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Zubin Mehta at the Lincoln Center on 5 November. Unfortunately, Zubin Mehta couldn’t make it due to illness. However, the programme drew a packed audience at the sprawling Lincoln Center with a capacity of around 1700. Dr S S Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, SN in an evocative address paid rich tributes to MS for the several benefit performances she gave to support the idea of establishing Sankara Nethralaya three decades ago. With that background of repaying a conscience debt, the shortfall in collections may not matter. 

Those who attended the concert at Lincoln Center pointed to more than three hours of scintillating music of high calibre presented by Anoushka and over 100 talented musicians of the Philharmonic Orchestra. 

In my earlier report, I suggested AR Rahman help SN raise sizable funds by offering a benefit performance in Chennai in cooperation with one of the large television companies. I pointed to MS giving hundreds of such benefit performances in her heydays supporting so many causes. It will be quite befitting the stature of Rahman to emulate MS in this regard.        

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