The Director’s Blog – Autumn 2016

Darren Henley, ACE's CEO launching the GBG Book & Album

Darren Henley, ACE’s CEO launching the GBG Book & Album

Dear all,

To begin, I want to quickly recap some of the sensational events we have seen over the last few months. At the end of July, we concluded an exciting and very successful Music India Summer School and a nine day INDIKA Festival programme, where we were delighted and proud to welcome Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Jane Beardsworth, ACE’s Regional Director, and Deputy Mayor of Liverpool City, Councillor Wendy Simon.

Darren Henley launched a new book, “The Great British Gharana” and its accompanying double CD, that highlights the achievements of young British musicians, who we believe constitute the now well established “GreatBritish Gharana​”. The book, authored by Alok Nayak, Milapfest’s Artistic Director, profiles 12 very accomplished young British musicians.

​The CD features new compositions from Samyo & Tarang.

Indika festival, now in its sixth year year, has grown from strength to strength. This year it featured a specially commissioned Photographic exhibition, “The Other Art-iste”, featuring the work of acclaimed Indian photographer, Inni Singh, who specialises in capturing performers in their element. It was created in collaboration with our newest partner: the Sarvam Foundation, New Delhi. We were privileged and delighted to welcome both, Inni Singh, and the Founder-Director of Sarvam, and an accomplished dance artist herself, Nehha Bhatnagar.

Indika featured artists such as Sudha Raghunathan, Sangeeta Shankar, Abhishek Raghuram, H N Bhasker and Neyveli Venkatesh.

We also staged the first Yuva Mahotsav (Youth Festival) in London and Liverpool, which featured some of the finest young artists from Indian and UK, such as Dakshina Vaidyanathan, Nehha BHatnagar, Prateeksha Kashi, Irina Kommisorova, Mohanpriyan Thevarajah, Flute Jayanth, Ragini and Nandini Shankar. Yuva Mahotsav was presented in association with the Bhavan, London.

Moving forward, Autumn 2016 promises to exciting times ahead for Milapfest.

The Times Higher Education Awards

The Milapfest-Liverpool Hope University Partnership has been shortlisted in the Times Higher Education Awards in the ”Excellence & Innovation in the Arts” category. This award recognises and celebrates the innovative partnerships between British universities and art organisations. Based on our growing body of partnership projects with the Liverpool Hope University, this is national recognition of our work in higher education.

Here is the announcement from the Times:

“The task of exploring and explaining the world can be daunting. Accomplishing it requires bright, dedicated individuals, of course, but also an environment that supports them in their mission, especially in a turbulent, uncertain climate. The Times Higher Education Awards 2016 honour those standout individuals, teams and institutions that continue to innovate and inspire as they push the frontiers of knowledge. Winners will be announced on 24 November at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.”

National Indian Arts Awards 2016

South Asians who migrated to England over the past 70 years have always aspired to ensure that their children, as well as the local communities, are provided with good opportunities to learn about arts and heritage through teaching and performances. Over the decades, several dedicated professionals have worked tirelessly to make this possible. Up and down the British Isles there are schools, classes and art organisations working tirelessly for this cause. However, while there are numerous ways of recognizing the sterling contribution of people in business, finance, medicine and many other professional categories, there has never been any national awards that recognise and celebrate such dedicated work in the Arts.

It is very important that the contribution of such professionals is recognized and honoured. The establishment of the National Indian Arts Awards will create a better understanding of how such selfless work empowers and enriches the younger generation, and how it helps build bridges between communities and people.

In its 3​2nd​ Anniversary year, Milapfest is determined to strengthen and grow​ ​this initiative to recognize and celebrate the remarkable work of British arts professionals who have rendered truly distinguished service for promoting and strengthening the provision of Indian Arts and Education in Britain.

In addition to arts professionals, Milapfest recognises the importance of supporting the youth of Britain and congratulating their hard work, dedication and passion in the practice, performance and propagation of Indian classical arts in this country. There are four different awards specially created to honour the young emerging professionals of Britain. We hope that these awards will significantly help us to work towards providing more focus on the contribution of the professionals working in the field of Indian Arts and provide opportunities for their work to expand in the years ahead.

​This year we have are also adding a new International Arts Award to honour an artist who has made a significantly important contribution to the propagation of Indian Arts & Heritage internationally.

As we look forward to the 2016 Awards we are pleased to announce that the National Jury have made their decisions and the award ceremony will be held in London on Thursday 20th October, 2016. We are delighted to announce that Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman of Arts Council England, has kindly agreed to be our Chief Guest and present the awards. This is excellent news and we hope that it will be possible for some of you to attend the evening in London with us.

It is very important that the contribution of such professionals is recognized and honoured. The establishment of the National Indian Arts Awards will create a better understanding of how such selfless work empowers and enriches the younger generation, and how it helps build bridges between communities and people.

ISTD Results at the Milapfest ArtsSchool

I am delighted to inform you that our students of Bharatnatyam dance who undertook National ISTD examinations have received excellent results, with all students achieving Distinctions and Merits. Here is a message I posted in a blog on our website congratulating our teachers at the Arts School:

It is a matter of great pleasure and pride to know that once again our ArtsSchool Bharatnatyam students have performed brilliantly at the ISTD examinations. The Milapfest Arts School has an amazingly large number of Bharatnatyam students- eight different groups in fact. I would like to heartily congratulate all the students, their parents and our splendid teachers, Dr Swati Raut and Manisha Solanki. We will continue to find new opportunities for development for all these students in the times ahead. Many congratulations again!!!” 

As well as these brilliant pieces of news, we also have an exciting concerts and educational event programme lying ahead of us this Autumn, including:

  • Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt with Rajkumar Misra: 1st October at the Capstone Theatre, Liverpool.
  • Dance India Europe Master Classes in Kathak & Bharatnatyam, with Pandit Rajendra Gangani and Priyadarshini Govind: 22-24 October at the Royal Academy of Dance, London.
  • Sannidhi Lecture at Liverpool Hope University: Priyadarsini Govind.
  • Jonathan Mayor & Kousic Sen, Sitar & Tabla Duet: Manchester & Liverpool
  • Anjasa, a scintillating thematic dance production from Apsara Arts, Singapore: 10th & 12th November, London & Liverpool.
  • Tarang Tour begins in Manchester & Liverpool in November.
  • Chalte-Chalte: A Bollywood & Gazal evening with Pooha Angre Group (an ACE supported tour).

We look forward to welcoming at some of these exciting events!

Best Wishes,

Prashant Nayak
Executive Director

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