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The Hindu, January 08, 2015

Aparna Balaji packed her noon concert mainly with Tyagaraja’s compositions; excepting the varnam and a Tamil kriti (as the saint has neither of these to his credit!).

Aparna has a great advantage. She is the granddaughter of one of the best music teachers, O. V. Subramaniam, and daughter of OST whose brothers and sister are musicians in their own right. She has also learnt music from Neyveli Santanagopalan and Sithalakshmi, daughter of Kittamani Bhagavathar.

Aparna’s genius flowed from her adherence to pure classicism and swaragnana. She has a wide melodic potential. Her ability to structure her concert attractively came to the fore.

After a spicy and colourful elucidation of Kiravani, she rendered ‘Kaligiyuntegada’ with niraval and swaras at ‘Baguga Sri Raghuramuni.’ On the violin, the young V. Giridhari, disciple of A. Kanyakumari, presented a spirited alapana and his swaraprastharas were at once innovative and charming. He has an elegant bowing technique and his skill in following the main artist is immaculate.

The Thani offered by Karra Srinivasa Rao (mridangam), disciple of Guru Karaikudi Mani, illustrated that he has a variety of phrases and fast speed pharans, which are crystal clear. His tisra nadai had varied combinations. During every kriti and in aruthis, his quicksilver finishes were attractive.

If Aparna’s Kalyani alapana was elaborate, it also signified originality based on a sound foundation. In ‘Sundarini Divya,’ the niraval and swaras were at the usual ‘Kalilo Dinarakshaki.’ In ‘Telisirama,’ ‘Taraka Rupuni’ had several lovely sangathis. In the Atana piece, ‘Anupama Gunambudhi’ (Khanda Chapu), she rendered kalpanaswarams at pallavi.

Opening with the Kedaragowla varnam, Aparna Balaji wound up her refreshing recital with Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s Behag piece, ‘Irakkam Varamal’ (Rupakam) and another Tyagaraja kriti, ‘Vinayakuni.’ Aparna has a bright future indeed.

Click here to read review on The Hindu

Singing with ease, clear diction 

Review of Concert on 12/24/2004 in "The Hindu" 

THE MUSIC of the NRIs has improved as was conclusively proved by Aparna Balaji, a daughter of O.S. Thiagarajan. She lived up to the lineage. Apparently, she has been practising quite hard in the U.S. where she is now living. Her resourceful programme consisted of kritis, both popular and less heard ones. The latter category included "Krupajudavamma" scripted by Ponnaiah Pillai in Anandabhairavi and Dikshitar's "Kamakshi Kamakoti" in Simhendramadhyamam, and "Palimpararathe" (Arabhi— Pallavi Sesha Ayyar).

Aparna has a sweet and pliable voice. Sings with ease, confidence, and a clear diction. She was at her best when rendering the Khamboji alapana for Gopalakrishna Bharathi's immortal "Tiruvadisaranam." OST had regaled the audience with the same song last season.

With fervour and well chosen sangatis, she focused on the bhakti element with compassion. No wonder she received an ovation at the end of the recital. Aparna's other noteworthy songs were "Muruganin marupeyar Azhagu" (Behag - Guru Surajanandar), "Sarasasamadana" and "Seethamma" after an alapana in Vasantha.

Poorna Vaidyanathan (violin) and Erode Nagarajan (mridangam) gave good support.

Unhurried Expressions

Review of the concert on 12/28/2001 in "The Hindu"

Young Aparna Thyagarajan gave a sweet vocal recital with taste for unhurried expressions of a musically dignified class. Trained well in a notable family musical setting, she gave a nuanced raga narrative of Panthuvarali. Her rendition of the piece, ``Ninnenera'' in it was neat. She concluded with a series of smooth neraval and swara passages. The vocalist showed good imagination in her description in her description of Hindolam, ``Samaganalolane'' with stress on the features of its particular loveliness. Jayanthi Kesav drew praise for her comely exercises in Hindolam on the violin. R. S. R. Srikanth (mridangam) maintained metrical clarity in his accompaniment.