The C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation conferred the Saraswathi Puraskaram award for 2022 on vidushi S. Sowmya for her contribution to Carnatic music. Veteran dancer Vyjayanthimala Bali, awardee for 2019, and Justice Prabha Sridevan, retired judge of the Madras High Court, presented the Saraswathi Puraskaram to Sowmya at an event held on 7 October 2022 at The Grove, Chennai.
S. Sowmya, currently the Vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Music and Fine Arts
Uni-versity and a visiting professor at The Music Academy, Madras, and is one of the leading exponents of Carnatic vocal music. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and titles, including the Sangita Kalanidhi in 2019.
Nanditha Krishna, Trustee, The C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, and Sumathi Krishnan, Secretary, The Music Academy, Madras addressed the gathering. Dr Nanditha gave some background on this award and the music heritage of this campus which is located on Eldams Road.
The Saraswathi Puraskaram has been instituted in honour of Saraswathi Pattabhiraman who, along with her husband C. R. Pattabhiraman, donated the ancestral family property of ‘The Grove’ situated at No.1, Eldams Road in Alwarpet to the C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation. An accomplished musician, Saraswathi Pattabhiraman played six instruments: veena, violin, mridangam, harmonium, flute and piano. She was trained in Western and Indian classical music. In 1977, she collected and published a book of traditional music for weddings, festivals and important events, titled Gowri Kalyana Vaibhogame (published by LIFCO), which she set to classical notes.
The Grove, the building where the Foundation is situated, was once a lively centre of music. Great vidwans of Carnatic music had performed here for the benefit of C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar and his guests. Muthiah Bhagavathar taught C.P.R’s granddaughter; T. Mukta taught here rare padams and javalis in the 1970s and many great musicians have performed in the Foundation’s famous kalyana koodam.