“For the first time we have an opportunity to reach out to the audience outside the four walls of the auditorium. Depending on the response, it could open up possibilities for a hybrid version, consisting of both physical and online concerts,” N. Murali, president of the Academy said
Though the COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge to the December Music Festival, information technology has come in handy for sabhas to uphold a century-old tradition responsible for giving Chennai the ‘creative city’ title by UNESCO.
The 94th annual concerts of the Music Academy, the prestigious sabha in Chennai, will be purely digital and will be available online for eight days beginning December 24.
“We have an unbroken tradition of having an annual festival ever since it was started in 1929. The first one was launched by the Academy, which has grown into one of the largest music festivals in the world, conducted not just by us, but by various organisations, featuring hundreds of artistes over 1,500 concerts,” N. Murali, president of the Academy said.
This year, however, instead of a full festival, it would be a much shorter version, consisting of fewer concerts and without the awards, morning lecture demonstrations, and dance festival.
There will be three categories of performers — junior, sub-senior and senior. Only concerts of the seniors will be charged, as is always the practice while the other concerts are free. There will be 15 concerts by seniors—two on all days and just one on the final day.
“For the first time we have an opportunity to reach out to the audience outside the four walls of the auditorium. Depending on the response, it could open up possibilities for a hybrid version, consisting of both physical and online concerts,” explained Mr. Murali.
The Academy took a decision in August on this, when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging.
“We do not want to expose the musicians, elderly members of the Academy and the audience to the virus in an enclosed air-conditioned auditorium. We have also installed a UV land-based system for disinfection,” he said. Recordings are being done on the stage of the Academy.
The duration of the concerts, is shorter than usual. Seniors, who normally perform in the prime slot, will confine their concerts to one and half hours. Concerts by juniors and sub-juniors will be for one hour. “People’s preference is for shorter online concerts,” Mr. Murali said.
As a value addition, the Academy has produced a 15-minutes audio-visual capsule showcasing the Academy’s heritage, history, Sangita Kalanidhi and other awardees, academic activities, advanced school of music, publications and infrastructure development. “They will be featured between the concerts,” he said.
Concert tickets are available for purchase online at htttps://musicacademymadras2020.eventvirtually.com