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Mridangam Maestro Prof.Yella Venkateswara Rao


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I. Unique Achievements

        1.  Padma Shri Award in 2008

        2.  World Record Holder-mention in the Guinness Book of World Records

As a world Record Holder Sri. Yella Venkateswara Rao name has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records for continuously playing the Mridangam for thirty six (36) hours playing a, Mridanga Maha Yagnam organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Andhra Pradesh at Sankar Mutt, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh on 16th August 1981 started at 5.00 PM on 16th August 1981 continued until 7.00PM of 17th August, 1981.

a. Has more than 15,000 Regional, National and International performance to his credit.

b. Also performed several times in All-India Radio (beginning in 1954) and Doordarshan 9 from 1965).

II. Academic Qualifications

  1. B.A (Bachelor of Arts)
  2. M.A (Master of Public Administration)
  3. Hon’ Degree of D.Lit (Doctor of Literature) – Conferred Honorary D.Lit by the Jawahar Lal Nehru Technological University
  4. Mridangam Artist – “A Top Grade” in India, a grade above the ‘A’ grade.


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III. Experience

  • Worked in All India Radio from 1963 to April, 1989 as
    1. Instrumentalist
    2. Staff Artist
    3. Composer
    4. Mridangam Artist “A” Top Rank
  • Professor and Head of Department – Worked as a Professor and Head of Department in Music for more than 15 years in Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Dean, School of Fine Arts -  Worked as Dean School of Fine Arts for more than 12 years in Potti Sreeramulu University. During the tenure as Chairman, Board of Studies and Dean, School of Fine Arts, the following courses were introduced –
    1. B.A (Theatre Arts)
    2. M.A (Theatre Arts)
    3. Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts and Sculpture, a 4 year course
    4. M.A (Music)
    5. M.A (Dance)
    6. Doctorate (Ph.D) course in Music
    7. M.A (Dance) in Hyderabad
    8. Diploma courses were offered for 6 years at Kuchipudi Sidhendra Kala Kshetram, in Kuchipudi, Krishna District
    9. M.A in Dance at Kuchipudi Sidhendra Kala Kshetram, in Kuchipudi, Krishna District on Regular basis
    10. Evening courses on self-financed courses
    11. Diploma in Tourism
    12. Diploma course in Harikatha
    13. Diploma in Lalitha Sangitham
    14. One course in Music for Employees and women
    15. Post-graduate diploma courses were also offered in
      1. Vocal Music
      2. Flute
      3. Violin
      4. Mridangam
      5. Nadaswaram
      6. Dhole
      7. Folk Dance
      8. Kuchipudi dance
      9. Acting
      10. A two year part time diploma course in Mimicry
  • Lectures and Lecture demonstrations on Classical and Western Music delivered at International venues – Canada, United States of America, England, France, Malaysia, Singapore. Similar demonstrations were also delivered in different Universities in India and Internationally:
    1. Andhra University,
    2. Sri Venkateswara University
    3. Madras University
    4. Delhi University
    5. Banaras Hindu University
    6. ALE University
    7. Memphis University
    8. Texas University
    9. Washington University
    10. Oxford University
    11. Canada University
  • Provided free education of Mridangam, in the Gurukul system of teaching, at Yella International Institute of Mridangam (Recognized by the Govt. of AP) since 1969. Instrumental in grooming more than 1500 students some of whom are residing in the USA, Canada, West Germany, South East Asia, and France.
  • Research in Music Therapy-Devised ‘Mridangam Therapy’ programs tailored for the development of mentally handicapped children at Thakur Hariprasad Institute for the Mentally Handicapped for the last 7 years. Carried out Research on Mridangam Therapy, one of its kind, and released an audio recording on Dhyana Mridangam for Meditation.
  • Produced and performed ‘Nava Mridangam’, performing on 9 Mridangams at once, another one of its kind.

.IV. Prestigious Awards

  1. President’s Award – President’s Award in AIR Music Competitions (All India) – First Prize in 1961. Award presented by Dr.Sarvepally Radhakrishna, the then President of India.
  2. AIR Annual Award for Nava Mridangam Sammelanam, an innovative feature held in 1979 at Delhi.
  3. Scroll of Honour – Awarded by the Hon’ble Governor of Maharastra (for classical music – southern style) in 1986 at Bombay.
  4. Kanakabhishekam at Vijayawada in 1986.
  5. Kala Saraswathi -  Awarded by Kalavedika, Andhra Pradesh
  6. Sursingar – Awarded by Hindustan Sammelan, Bombay
  7. Honorary Doctorate conferred on the occasion of the Golden Jubliee Celebrations of the Andhra Association, Delhi.
  8. National Award – National Award for the best music feature directed for Sivathandavam in 1994, produced by AIR.
  9. The Best Teacher Award – The Best Teacher Award from Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1994
  10. Thyagaraja Vamsi Award, Andhra Pradesh in 1993
  11. Honored with Silver Mridangamthe Vidwan and Musicians of Andhra Pradesh.
  12. Honored with Silver Mridangam at Razole, AP
  13. Honored with Golden Showers at Rajahmundry, AP
  14. Honored with Golden Anklet (Swarna Kanta Kanakanam) at Karimnagar, AP
  15. Honored with Simhathaliatam at Bhimavaram, AP
  16. Honored with Golden Kanakanam at Nizambad, AP
  17. Honored with Golden Ganda Penderam at Bhimavaram, AP
  18. Honored with Golden Showers Nagarjuna Cultural Centre at Guntur, AP
  19. Ugadi Puraskar Awards – instituted by Kinnera Arts Theatre and Yuva kalavahini
  20. Kalaratna Award instituted by Vasavi Arts Theatre
  21. Bharathamuni Award instituted by Bharatamuni theatre Madanapalle
  22. Viswa Saahiti Award instituted by Shrutulaya Art Theatre
  23. Ugadi Award presented by the Hon’ble Vice President of India HE Mr. Krishnakant
  24. Sri Thyagaraja Award, Government College of Music and Dance
  25. Palghat Mani Award by Percussive Art Centre, Bangalore.
  26. Prasanna Puraskar Award by Vartha News Publications and Presented by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
  27. Honoured by Shree Vijaya Durga Visishta Puraskar
  28. Honored by the Andhra Mahila Sabha at Mumbai
  29. Bharat Mohan Award instituted by the Council for National Peace and Solidarity.
  30. Mridangam Tandeswara Award by Mehati Music Academy at Eluru
  31. Mridangam Vidya Bhushan Award instituted by Sadguru Sangitha Sabha at Rajamundry.
  32. Mridangam Kalasagaram Award Kalasagaram Secunderabad
  33. Kala Jyotsna Award instituted by Saraswathi gana Sabha, Hyderabad
  34. Awarded Shiva Ganga Millinium 2000 Citizen Award, Vizag, Andhra Pradesh
  35. Awarded Nava Mridangam Nandeeswara Gold Medal, Tirupathi
  36. Honored by Hon’ble Prime Minister Sri.P.V.Narasimha Rao in 1996
  37. Honored Ganna Bothula Pedda. Tatha, Sathavasantha Vedukalu, Bhimavaram, A.P
  38. Honoured with Best Visista Puraskar Award by Hon’ble Chief Minister of AP, Sri N.Chandrababu Naidu
  39. Vishala Bharathi Gaurav Satkar by the Delhi Telugu Academy (2007).

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V. Positions Held

1.   Asthana Vidwan, Government of Andhra Pradesh from 1981 to 1985.
2.   Asthana Vidwan of the

        a. Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams,
        b. Yadagiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple and
        c. Srikalahasti Temple in Andhra Pradesh since 1977

3.   Member, Sangeone Cultural Centre, Government of India, New Delhi from 1988 to 1993.
4.   Member South Zone Cultural Centre, Government of India, Tanjore, Tamilnadu and Cultural Centre, Government of Andhra ......Pradesh, ......Srisailam, AP which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Governor of Tamilnadu and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
5.   Life Time Asthana Vidwan, Datta Peetam of Sri Ganapati Sachidananda Swamiji, Mysore since 1993
6.   Member South Central Zone Culture Centre, Government of India, Nagpur, Maharastra
7.   Life Member Thyagaraja Festival Committee, Tiruvayur, Tamilnadu.
8.   Member, Thakur Hari Prasad Institute of Rehabilitation for Mentally Handicapped Children, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
9.   Member International Film Festival Committee during 1986 in Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh.
10. Member Board of Degree and Diploma courses, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
11. Member Syllabus Committee Technical Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh
12. Member, erstwhile Sangeetha Academy, Hyderabad, AP
13. Member, Board of Studies, Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, a Deemed University, Prashanti Nilayam, AP
14. Academic Senate Member, Andhra University, Vizag, AP
15. Member, Board of Management, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, AP
16. Executive Member, Board of Management, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, AP
17. Syndicate Member, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, AP.
18. Chairman, Board of Studies Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, AP
19. Chairman, Board of studies, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupathi, AP
20. Chairman, Board of studies, Government College of Music and Dance, AP
21. Senate Member University of Madras, Tamilnadu, Chennai.
22. Visiting Professor, BHU – Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

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VI. Seminars and Workshops organized

  1. As a Dean, conducted various seminars and workshops in various music faculties at school of Fine Arts, Potti Sriramulu University, Hyderabad
  2. As a Director, conducted workshops for various departments for many times in Classical Music, Theatre, dance and Fine Arts.
  3. Conducted seminars on theatre, Folk Arts, Music Dance, at national as well as State level, financed by UGC.
  4. Conducted workshop on National level Refreshing courses, twice in Indian Music
  5. Coordinator Kuchipudi Sidhendra Kala Kshetram Institute- faculty of Dance and raised fund of nearly One Crore Rupees for the purpose of construction of the building (Funds collected from various Donors as well as Prime Minister slots)
  6. Coordinator – National Seminar, Classical Music Janapriya Gaana Sabha

VII. Performance Chronicle

  1. Started giving public performances at the age of seven years as child prodigy
  2. Played along with and accompanied top notch stalwarts, musicians and maestros in Indian music, as well as Carnatic/ Hindusthani music concerts and grand performance in India and aboard viz., Bharat Ratna M.S.Subba Lakshmi, Bharata Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar, Chemba Vidhyantha Bhagavathar, Maharajapuram Viswantha Iyer, madurai Mani Iyer, Alathur brothers, G.N.Balasubramaniam, Dwaram Venkateswamy Naidu, T.R.Mahalingam, S.Balachander, Emani Shankara Sastry, Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar, ChittoorSubramaniyam Pillai, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Madurai Somasundaram, M.L. Vasantha Kumari, D.K. Jayaram, Brindha Muktha, Semangudi Srinivas Iyer, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Dr. L. Subrahmanyam, K.J. Yesudas, and many artists from four generations thus giving accompanies for all eminent artists.
  3. Also accompanied Pandit Amjad Ali Khan, Hariprasad Chourasia, Pandit V.G. Jog, Pandit Ramnarayana, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Allarkha Santha Prasad, Pandit Kishen Maharaj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pagal Das, Ustad Dawood Khan and many others.

VIII. Creations

  1. Produced, Directed and Choreographed a number of musical    ballets and dramas in classical Carnatic, Folk and Light styles
  2. Present Novel Themes and Programmes at Doordarshan, Hyderabad
  3. Rhythmic Universal accompanied by twenty disciples and trainees
  4. Composed, Produced, Directed and Presented Carnatic/Hindustani classical tunes accompanied by ten artists Viz., Samakhya Sangeetha Lahari(Integration through Music)
  5. Presented a never before full solo Mridangam concert involving Keerthanas, Ragams, Tanams and Pallavis on Nava Mridangam
  6. Introduced solo Mridangam concerts viz Mimicry on Mridangam and Laya Mridangamdhyanam (Meditation with Mridangam)
  7. Recorded for different companies producing EP, LP records, Audio and Video cassettes with many accompaniments
  8. Created and Composed different talas and many laya patterns
  9. Wrote a book on Mridangam (theory and practicals) for Under Graduate, Post-Graduate and 6 Year Diploma and Ph.D courses
  10. Trained and groomed a great number of musicians who occupied key slots in AIR. Music colleges and institutions
  11. Produced Trikkal Jazz with Jugalbhandi Shivamani (Jazz) and Viku (Ghatam)
  12. Composed, Directed and Produced for Devotional  songs in AIR, Doordarshan and also released cassettes and CDs
  13. Innovated, Produced and released audio cassettes, CDs viz., Dhyana Mridangam for meditation
  14. Specialized in Solo, Nava Mridangam, Jugalbhandi and Talavadya Katcheries. These Programs and performances are well received and appalauded by the people, maestros, stalwarts and doyens of the Indian music world. Many of which have been telecast on TV and broadcast on AIR.
  15. Composed and Directed Music for “Panchanadiyam” and “Viswadeepam” written by Gyana Peeth Awardee Dr. C. Narayana Reddy.
  16. Swaralaya Madhuri
  17. Swaralaya Jhankar
  18. Music Composition and Orchestration of “ Ganga Cauvery” a musical production on Rivers.

IX. Innovations and Creations in Carnatic Music

  1. Mridanga and Tabla Tarang
  2. Mridanga Trio
  3. Pancha Mridangam
  4. Laya Chitram
  5. Nava Mridanga concert
  6. Shodasa Mridanga Sammelanam
  7. Mridanga, ghatam-zaz
  8. Tribhinna Laya sammelan
  9. Trikal Jazz
  10. Indian and Western Symphony
  11. Shiva Thandavam – Instrumental Music
  12. Talavadya kacheri
  13. Sapta Swarna Sangeeta Lahari
  14. Talavadya kacheri with eight percussion instruments
  15. Mridangam – Jazz
  16. Sangeetha – Vadya – Laya Samaikhya Bharata Sangeetha Lahari
  17. Navamridanga Sammelan
  18. Mridanga Vedam
  19. Laya Madhuri
  20. Swara Laya Madhuri

X. Performance at Prestigious Venues:

  1. Countries where performances were organized:
    1. USA, Canada
    2. Europe:  West Germany, East Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, England, Denmark, Sweden, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malayasia, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East Countries like Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah and Bahrain
  2. Larvaninayasam – demonstrated in multiple locations in India and:
    1. USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mauritius, etc
  3. Lalitha Kala Thoranam, Hyderabad – Directed the 599th Jayanthi Celebrations of Saint Annamacharya consisting of an Orchestra of 120 artists
  4.  National Concerts
  5. Doordarshan
      1. On the occasion of inaugural function of Yella’s Nava Mridangam program inaugurated by Hon’ble President of India at Hyderabad
      2. On the occasion of inaugural function of Yella’s solo Mridangam by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao at Tirupathi.
      3. Carnatic Classic Fusion, Carnatic Classic Jugalbandi, Indian      and Western Fusion and also Universal beats and Drums of India.

XI. Received Prestigious Felicitations and International Awards

 Hoso Bonka Award for Sivathandavam, a play created, directed and produced by me about Lord shiva and presented at the International Radio Music Competitions held in Indonesia in 1979, where in 79 nations participated. India won the Award

  1. Acharya Award conferred by the Telugu Association, Houston, Texas, USA in the year 1985
  2. Honorary Citizenship presented and conferred by the Mayor of City of Temple, Texas, USA
  3. Golden Key of the City given by the Mayor , City of Memphis, USA
  4. Felicitated at the World Telugu conference, Canada
  5. Attended International Music Conference SACRA in Germany in 1992
  6. Felicitated and Honored in the Second World Telugu Conference held in Malaysia in 1981   
  7. Honored with Gold Medal at Rome in 1981 International World Music Festival
  8. Kalapraveena Award by Telugu Kala Samithi Bahrain in 1998
  9. Life Time Achievement Award from North America (SAPNA)
  10. Life Time Achievement Award from Chicago, USA
  11. Life Time Achievement Award from Telugu Association, Dubai
  12. Life Time Achievement Award from Telugu Association, Japan
  13. Life Time Achievement Award from Andhra Mahasabha, Mauritius during Golden Jubilee Celebrations, New Delhi
  14. Silicon Andhra “Laya Bharathi Award”, California, USA

XII. Honored and Felicitated by the Great Indians

The Presidents of India

    1. Hon. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishna, President of India
    2. Hon. Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, President of India
    3. Hon. Gyani Zail Singh, President of India, 1987
    4. Hon. R. Venkat Raman, President of India, 1991
    5. Hon. Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, President of India
    6. Hon. Abdul Kalam, President of India, 2002

The Prime Ministers of India

  1. Hon. Smt. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India
  2. Hon. Sri. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India
  3. Hon. Sri. P. V. Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister of India
  4. Hon. Sri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India

The Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh

  1. Hon Sri. K Brahmananda Reddy, Chief Minister
  2. Hon Sri. T. Anjaiah, Chief Minister
  3. Hon Dr. M. Chenna Reddy, Chief Minister
  4. Hon Sri. Nandendla Bhaskara Rao, Chief Minister
  5. Hon Sri. N. Janardhan Reddy, Chief Minister
  6. Hon Dr. N. T. Rama Rao, Chief Minister
  7. Hon Sri. N. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister
  8. Hon Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister

XIII. Honorary Titles Confered in India and Abroad

Mridanga Sarvabhouma

  1. Mridanga Samrat
  2. Mridanga Siromani
  3. Mridanga Thandaveswara
  4. Mridanga Visarada
  5. Mridanga Nadamuni
  6. Mridanga Marthanda
  7. Mridanga Vadya Sarvabhouma
  8. Mridanga Kalaprapurna
  9. Mridanga Vadya Maharadhi
  10. Mridanga Vadya Shikhamani
  11. Mridanga Chakravarthi
  12. Mridanga Nada Jyothi
  13. Mridanga Lava Vinyasa Chatura
  14. Mridanga Chodamani
  15. Mridanga Kalasriramani
  16. Mridanga Kalaprapurna
  17. Mridanga Kala Sagara
  18. Mridanga Rathnakara
  19. Mridanga Talavilas
  20. Mridanga Laya Vinyasa Chudamani
  21. Mridanga Acharya
  22. Mridanga Kala Saraswathi
  23. Mridanga Kalavachaspathi
  24. Mridanga Navanada Brahma
  25. Mridanga Kalayagna sahasi
  26. Mridanga kala Praveena
  27. Mridanga Bhagiradhi
  28. Mridanga Kalavilasa
  29. Mridanga Brahma
  30. Nava Mridanga Brahma
  31. Nava MridangaVirat
  32. Nada Bhageeradha
  33. Andhra Rathna
  34. Kala Sagara
  35. Kala Navaratna
  36. Nava Mridanga Nandeeswara
  37. Laya Vinyasa Kalavilasa
  38. Sri Parupalli Ramakrishnaiah Visishta Grandham
  39. Amrutha Vahini
  40. Abhinandana Mandavamala
  41. Godavari Pushkara Yuva Kalavahini

XIV. Music Composition for Telugu Movies

  1. Composed Music for the Award winning movie ‘ Sapthapadi’.
  2. Composed Music for the Movie ‘Viswamitra’, the brain child of Dr. N. T. Rama Rao
  3. Composed Music for the Award winning movie at State and National level ‘Bhadram Koduko’, a Children movie.

 XV. Address for Correspondence 

Dr. Yella Venkateswara Rao
1210, TRT, Sanathnagar
Hyderabad – 500018
Andhra Pradesh – India.

Tel:  91 40 23703691

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