$100,000 Reddy Gift Will Support South Asian Arts

July 20, 2016

Madhu Reddy was thinking about leaving a legacy – not just an inheritance, but a meaningful gift to future generations.

The Glastonbury real estate agent didn’t have to think very long before he knew what it had to be. For years he had participated in the Navaratri Festival at Wesleyan, a celebration of Indian music and dance.

“I was really impressed with Wesleyan … with their keeping Indian music and dance going,” Reddy said. “If I wanted to leave a legacy, this would be it.”

Reddy’s $100,000 gift to endow the Reddy Fund will provide an ongoing source of funds for the university’s vibrant south Asian arts programs. The gift, announced in December, will not only support faculty research and performance but also will help fund the annual Navaratri Festival, which is in its 37th year.

“My hope is to keep Indian music and dance alive, for this generation and the next,” Reddy said. “And Wesleyan is the only university in Connecticut with a full fledged faculty in this area.”

Reddy is not an alumnus, and has no other connection to Wesleyan, but for years has been drawn to the performance-rich south Indian arts program here, which ranges from drumming and vocal music to traditional dance.

The program was founded by T. Viswanathan, who earned his Ph.D. at Wesleyan in 1975. He taught Indian music with his brother T. Ranganathan. Their sister, an acclaimed dancer named Balasaraswati, also taught at Wesleyan.

Currently the faculty includes adjunct assistant professor of music B. Balasubrahmanivan, assistant professor of dance Hari Krishnan, and artist in residence David Nelson.

Nelson has performed internationally and written extensively on Indian music.

Wesleyan’s students are not the only beneficiaries of the Indian music and dance programs. Reddy said many of the about 100 local Indian families participate in the Navaratri festival and attend performances.

“In terms of music,” Reddy said. “This is where it is happening.”