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New National Competition Selects 100 Dancers and Musicians for Mentorship and Financial Aid

SIFF Young Artiste was launched in early 2020 and promises to offer Rs 25 lakhs in scholarships

Rolling Stone India Jan 04, 2021

A few of the musicians selected for SIFF's Young Artiste top 100 - drummer Anagh Nayak, violinist Sahapadmavati Madan, Carnatic violinist Hrishitha Kedage, guitarist-composer Tamish Pulappadi and singer-songwriter Mia Aliyah Makhija (clockwise from top left). Photos; Courtesy of SIFF

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The country’s adolescent and teenaged talent in music and dance are being offered mentorship and a scholarship pool of ₹25 lakh as part of a nationwide competition called Young Artiste 2020.

Receiving video auditions and online interviews with candidates between 11 to 18 years of age across India, Young Artiste — created by Bengaluru-based philanthropic organization Singhal Iyer Family Foundation (SIFF) — had senior musicians, choreographers and dancers to sift through over 12,000 entries to pick their top 100 in November last year. The jury included everyone from violinist-composer Dr. L. Subramaniam, Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam and sarod veteran Ustad Amjad Ali Khan to pop singer-songwriters like Nikhita Gandhi and Shalmali Kholgade, guitarist Tony Das (from rock bands Peepal Tree and Thermal And A Quarter) and more. 

In addition to different dance categories, the music categories for Young Artiste 2020 includes Indian classical and contemporary brackets. Classical vocalists — Carnatic and Hindustani — were selected amongst instrumentalists in tabla, flute, sitar/sarod, mridangam and Carnatic violin. For India’s modern musicians, Indian and Western vocals were separate categories, while violin, piano/keyboard, drums and guitar also feature an estimate of about five winners each. “While narrowing in on the 20 categories for Young Artiste 2020, popularity with the Indian audience was a key factor. It is important to note that we are not speaking of popularity in media but rather the prevalence of the artform with the art community of India,” a spokesperson for SIFF says. 

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In addition to the scholarship that will be distributed amongst 100 musicians and dancers, Young Artiste winners join a mentorship program which “will involve a combination of masterclasses, workshops, and collaborations among fellow Young Artistes in preparation for the finale performance.” This finale, which concludes Young Artiste 2020, will be hosted later this year “in accordance with the evolving COVID-19 situation and government guidelines issued at the time,” according to SIFF. 

Get more details on SIFF and Young Artiste 2020 here.

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