I am Ashwin Chandra, a rising sophomore at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California. Welcome to my debut mridangam concert on August 10th. I will be accompanying Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. M. Chandrasekaran and Mrs. G Bharathi on South Indian classical violin duet music. Dr. M. Chandrasekaran is a famous octogenarian violinist from India and has received many awards including the Sangita Kalanidhi from the Madras Music Academy and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award from the President of India. The violin duet will be accompanied by Vidwan S.V. Ramani on Ghatam.
I have been learning mridangam for the past 5 years from Laya Kala Ratna Sri. Ramesh Srinivasan, a leading disciple of mridangam maestro Sangita Kalanidhi Sri. Vellore G. Ramabhadran, During one of the classes, my guru shared information about mridangam maestro Yella Venkateswara Rao, a researcher in Music Therapy. As a researcher, he has set up ‘Mridangam Therapy’ programs tailored to suit the development of mentally handicapped children at Thakur Hariprasad Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, a non governmental organization for mentally handicapped children. That experience kindled my interest to use music as a means to help the differently-abled become more abled.
That’s when I found out about Pragnya (https://www.pragnya.org), a non-profit organization that creates real world experiences for the neurodiverse (differently-abled) community to acclimatize to the neurotypical (abled) community. Along with other students from my mridangam school, Sarvalaghu Percussion Art Center, I have started to volunteer at Pragna on a weekly basis, and we introduce “Num” therapy for the children there.
It is my honor and privilege to dedicate my debut concert to create awareness and to raise funds for Pragnya, an organization that promotes acceptance by the mainstream community of individuals who are on the autism spectrum. I am also proud of the efforts taken by our mridangam school in making a difference in this arena.
Date/time: August 10th 2019, 2:30 p.m. onwards, followed by dinner
Venue: Lakireddy auditorium, Shiva Vishnu Temple, 1232 Arrowhead Ave., Livermore, CA 94551