My School: Nadhopasana Academy of Fine Arts
Nadhopasana Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) was founded by Ravindra Bharathy Sridharan in 2007. It was established with the primary objective of promoting the art of South Indian percussion in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since its inception, this institution been successful increasing awareness and educating those interested in the divine art of South Indian percussion, featuring the mridangam.
With more than three decades of experience in this great art form, Ravi trains his students in the famous Thanjavur style which has been showcased by famous vidwans like Thanjavur Upendran and Sri. Umayalapuram K. Sivaraman. The Thanjavur style was started by Thanjavur Vaidhyanathan Iyer, and continued by Palghat Mani Iyer, Thanjavur Upendran, Umayalapuram K. Sivaraman, and Ravi's guru, Neyveli Narayanan. Ravi takes a lot of effort to ensure that this style of the art, which he received through his guru parampara (lineage), is passed down to each of his students.
In addition to the mridangam, students are trained in konnahol (vocal percussion) and other upa-pakkavaadhyams such as ghatam, kanjira and morsing. This well-rounded curriculum in aimed at enhancing each student's versatility and in better understanding the role of laya in Carnatic music.
NAFA hosts many enrichment programs and workshops and interactive concerts featuring vidwans such as Neyveli Narayanan, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Dlhi P. Sunder Rajan, Carnatica Brothers, Kallidaicuchi Sivakumar, K. V. Gopalakrishnan et al, to name a few.
Additionally, Ravi also started the the NAFA concert series where students get to perform in front of friendly audience. This has helped students gain concert experience in a controlled environment. Ravi also collaborates with various Bay Area teaches and music schools for the guru-sishya concert series, which has also been helpful in enriching students understanding of Carnatic music concerts.
Ravi's concept of pancha raaga taala maalika and anga taala laya vinyaasam featuring various percussion instruments has garnered excellent reviews. Laya vinyaasams performed by Ravi's students have been staged at various fundraisers and events organized by OSAAT, Vrksha, YSTCA, Carnatic Mela, Papanasam Sivan and Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana festivals, etc.
NAFA students are sought after accompanists to support various schools and events in junior concerts. NAFA students have been consistently winning prizes at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana and Papanasam Sivan competitions every year. NAFA also facilitates the arangetrams of its senior students to encourage and promote them to professional-level concert accompaniment.