AIMA History and Timeline


In 1974, Guruji Dr T V Gopalakrishnan instituted the Chembai Memorial Music Center in memory of his beloved mentor, teacher and Mahaguru Shri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. It was re-registered as a Charitable Trust and re-christened as the Academy of Indian Music & Arts (AIMA) on June 27, 1984. 

AIMA was formed with the vision of propagating the Gurukula system of learning to all those who wished to learn an art form as practised by Mahaguru Chembai and Guruji Dr TVG. As AIMA grew, Guruji Dr. TVG created a specialized methodology to revive and rebuild the declining standards of music education.

Academy of Indian Music and Arts (AIMA) stands tall as a state-of-the-art music academy to attain in-depth knowledge and mastery in multiple genres of Indian music. AIMA has proven to be a haven for music aspirants and practitioners irrespective of economic or social bias. Here, passionate seekers are nurtured/groomed in the art of performance and the art of teaching in the enriching time-tested Gurukulam ethos.


With illustrious associations, AIMA has always been true to the cause of its visionary Founder to propagate and preserve Indian arts and culture and to provide support and encouragement to any artiste who wishes to lead a life in arts. Throughout the history of AIMA, its multifarious activities have been testimony to this vision.

Since its inception, in addition to its various activities, AIMA has been conducting music classes for all those who are interested in learning an art form.

1987 - 1991
1992 - 1996
1997 - 2001

1987: In December of 1987, AIMA started the famed 3-day Marghazhi Festival in association with the newly formed Narada Gana Sabha. This event was a great success and saw various future stars taking the limelight.

1988: Continuing the tradition that began the previous year, AIMA in association with the Narada Gana Sabha organized the Marghazhi Festival. The focus of this year’s festival was to promote budding talents. This year AIMA was also recognized by the Government of India as an NGO with 80 G certification and granted IT Exemption for its Charitable and Cultural promotion activities.

AIMA Logo 1989

1989: AIMA’s logo was created. This would be used till it was modernized in 2021. This year also saw the behemoth 19-day Marghazhi Festival hosted at Narada Gana Sabha. AIMA successfully organized and executed the event which was well attended and immensely appreciated. This festival saw the Maestro Kadhri Gopalnath being introduced by Dr TVG. Radio France crew headed by Jacques Dupont covered and relayed the event.

1990: As a tribute to the brilliant composer, the Swathi Thirunaal Festival was conducted at Narada Gana Sabha on the occasion of his birth anniversary in April. In September, the uniquely themed Vaggeyakara Festival was conducted at the India International Center (IIC), New Delhi, highlighting the works of famed composers. The Marghazhi Festival was well-attended by artistes, patrons, and rasikas bringing to close an event-studded year.

1991: This year AIMA began the humungous task of setting the guidelines for contemporising Music Education, under the direction of Guruji Dr TVG. This project was approved and funded by the Ford Foundation in September. The Marghazhi Festival in 1991 was a monumental event hosted at Narada Gana Sabha. The festivities kicked off with the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Shri N Janardhana Reddy inaugurating the festival. AIMA honoured artistes for their exemplary contributions to music and arts with the Vadya Ratna and Gana Ratna titles.

1992: In March, AIMA conceived and hosted the Festival of Bani throwing light on the various musical styles of India at the India International Center (IIC). The 3-day festival included concerts, workshops, seminars and LecDems by renowned musicians. This year the Marghazhi Festival was hosted at the Kamaraj Memorial Hall. AIMA honoured a host of musicians and artistes for their contributions. Vocalists Tanjore Shankara Iyer and Smt Mani Krishnaswamy were awarded the Gana Ratna title. Instrumentalists Namagiripettai Krishna, Valangaiman Shanmuga Sundaram Pillai, G Narayana Swamy Iyer, Dr Raja Rammana, and Dr T K Moorthy were honoured with the Vadya Ratna award. In addition to this R S Manohar and Dr P Krishnan were conferred with the titles for their outstanding contributions to theatre and medicine respectively.

1993: This year saw the AIMA office move out from Guruji’s residence to its own rented premises in 1st Cross Street, Indira Nagar.  AIMA organized the Sabha Ganam Festival in Delhi. The Ford Foundation Grant was re-confirmed for the project for contemporising Music Education. The AIMA fixture, the December Marghazhi festival was conducted with the usual fanfare and triumph.

1994: The Prodigy Development Project was started. Sponsored by Ford Foundation. Madhu Balakrishnan, Ramesh, AK Devi (Veena), Biju, Shriram(Mrdangam), Ghulam Dasthageer (visually-challenged student for violin), Priya Pothi (Dance) were admitted as residential scholars. The documentation studio and recording room were set up by Mr Emmy and S Raghunathan at the AIMA premises. AIMA has been given permanent registration by FCRA.

1995: AIMA conceived and hosted the thematic Creative Music Festival at India International Center (IIC), New Delhi in September. The December Festival was celebrated as the kick-off to the year-long Chembai Centenary Year celebrations. The then Vice President of Indian Shri K R Narayanan inaugurated the festival. Dr Semmanguddi Srinivasa Iyer was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred the title Sangeet Sarva Bhauma.

1996: Concluding a year-long celebration of the Chembai Centenary year, the December festival was a crowning tribute to the Mahaguru. Shri T N Seshan inaugurated the event. The prestigious Sangeet Sarva Bhauma title was conferred upon Dr M S Subbulakshmi. The event was hosted at the scenic New Woodland’s lawns.

1997: AIMA presented the Bharat Darshan Festival in commemoration of 50 years of Indian Independence at the India International Center (IIC), New Delhi. Shri K R Narayanan, the then Vice President of India, was the Chief Guest and inaugurated the festival. Shri Pavan Rangachar, a part of the Ford Foundation Prodigy Development program, debuted at this festival.

1998: During the 5-day Marghazhi Festival, an eminent musicologist from Holland, Dr Emmie Nijenhaus was honoured.

1999: As AIMA grew, the students in our daily community programs saw a significant increase. Empathetic parent volunteers constituted a strong team to help manage day-to-day activities. Scholars from abroad under the Cultural Exchange program by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) under the Government of India joined AIMA as residential students from Mauritius, South Africa, France, Germany, USA and UK. They trained from 1999 to 2001 for a period of 2 years. ICCR also identified AIMA as a Cultural Center and was a designated Academy for the Scholarship Program under the Ministry of Culture.  The Marghazhi Festival was hosted at the Asthika Samajam, Alwarpet. Dr John Marr an eminent musicologist, Indologist, Tamil & Sanskrit scholar from the UK was honoured during the festival.

2000: AIMA hosted the Annual December Festival at Asthika Samajan, Alwarpet. The event was widely attended by patrons.

2001: AIMA conceived and conducted its first innovative summer camp. Across the 5-day program, with over 50 children participating, the camp gave the participants a holistic learning experience including music, dance, theatre, communication and soft skills sessions.