- In 1989 Nirmala was chosen by the Indian Council for Cultural relations to represent India and perform in International Festivals. Berne, Switzerland was the first venue where she performed in 1991.
- In 1990 Nirmala was given the topnotch ranking of ‘A grade Artist’ by All India Radio, India’s premier gradations board.
- Since 1995, she has received grants such as Artists Initiative,Cultural Collaboration Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board; grants and commissions from the Jerome Foundation, Playwrights Center, COMPAS Meet the Composer New York.
- Nirmala was selected as a BUSH Artistic fellow in 2006 by the Bush Foundation.
- In 2008 she was given the 2008 Achievement award by the India Association of MN, a unique honor given to one individual in the State of Minnesota every year.
- Rotary Club International presented her with a Vocational Excellence award in 2009.
- Naadha Kala Vipanchee award from Dr.Balamuralikrishna and Dr.Saraswathy
- Indian Fine Arts Society Jan 2009
- Nirmala won the Best concert award from the Indian Fine Arts Society India (2009) Best Veena artist from the Narada Gana Sabha 2009 and Best Veena concert of the Festival from the Carnegie Hall of India –the Music Academy Madras, India in Jan 2010.
- In May 2010, Nirmala has received (from the MacPhail Center for Music) the McKnight Performing Artists Fellowship for the year 2010-2011. She has become the first Indian Musician to be chosen for this Fellowship.
- Nirmala performed at the second National Conference of Veena at Chicago Illinois as a featured artist in April 2010 where she was honored for her many contributions to the music world.