Way back in the 1940s, Mylapore was the primary seat of Karnatic music and rasikas from various parts of Chennai used to throng the place to listen to stalwarts.
It was on one such occasion that noted actor, Chittoor Nagayya while returning from a concert of G.N. Balasubramaniam saw several music lovers walking torwards T.Nagar, Completely drenched by rain. Seeing the difficulty faced by music lovers, An idea of starting a sabha in and around T.Nagar occurred in his mind. This idea concretised and the sabha was given the name Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha by the doyen of music Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja lyengar.
Initially, Concerts were held at Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha but later with the help of like minded persons like Sri V. Rama lyengar, Sri S. Bhashyam(Chandilyan), Sri Sunderrajan, Sri S. Ramaswamy Naidu, and other art lovers, The most popular auditorium "Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha" came into existence and was declared open by Sri C.P. Ramaswamy lyer on 18th november, 1945. This prime property on which the sabha was built was leased for a nominal sum by Sri T.A. Rangachari, a life member. In course of time, prominent citizens of the locality evinced great interest in the activities of the sabha by enrolling themselves as life members.
The first performance was a dance recital by Sri Gopinath and Thangamani. From then on, Vani Mahal has not only been a landmark on G.N. Chetty Road but also an ideal venue for quality entertainment.
In the following year, Dr. V. Rama lyengar and his committee brought the sabha to an exalted position in the cultural map of madras. In 1959, a grand drama festival of 16 plays by eminent troupes was organised by the sabha with astounding success. 1960 was another memorable year in which V. Nagayya, The President conducted Laksharchana to Lord Venkatachalapathy in the month of december. Since then, this has become a regular feature.
Old timers still remember the memorable concerts of Ariyakudi Ramanuja lyengar, Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar, Madurai Mani lyer, D.K. Pattammal, M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.L. Vasantha kumari, Maharajapuram santhanam, Chowdiah,Palghat Mani lyer, Balasaraawathi(dance), Nawab Rajamanickam(drama) and Embar Vijayraghava chariar (Harikatha).
Later on Sri T.A. Padmanabhan, son of Sri T.A. Rangachary was generous to offer the plot of land that was let on lease originally for a very nominal consideration that Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha is able to boast about the absolute owned auditorium that stands today in T.Nagar.
It was in 1979 that Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha started the annual feature of lsai lyal Nataka Vizha and has successfully completed 25 years of the same in December 2004. Again, in 1989, The annual dance festival Bharatham was started for promoting young talents.
Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana, music competitions on Thyagaraja Kritis, Members and Children's day have become regular annual activities. Another milestone is the organising of religious discourse on Thiruppavai during Margazhi, since 1960.
All top ranking artistes have performed under the auspices of this sabha and it can rightly claim due credit for promoting many talented artistis who have become leading performers later. Great personalities like former President Sri R. Venkatraman, former Governors of Tamil nadu (Mr. P.C. Alexander, Mr. Rammohan Rao), Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy, and Sri P. Obul Reddy, have inaugurated the sabha's annual festivals.
Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha has got The Best Auditorium Award from Tamilnadu lyal lsai Nataka Mandram, special medallion for best fine arts in 1983 and best non-A/C hall award from Mylapore Academy in 1995, and best A/C hall in 2002.
In Keeping with the modern tastes and reqiurements, the board of management under the dynamic leadership of N. Krishnamurthy, populary Known as Deccan Moorthy, decided to give a new look to this old structure.
A new building was constructed in 2002 and later, with a handsome donation from a Mumbai based couple, the "Kanchi Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Mahaswami Auditorium" was built with a seating capacity of 850. With sizeable contributions from "Sri P. Obul Reddy", a mini hall with a seating capacity of 250 was constructed and named after him.
Both these halls are fully air conditioned and have fine acoustics. There is another hall with a seating capacity of 150 and is named as"Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Hall".
Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha has been honouring artistes in the field of music, dance and drama during the annual festival. Since 2002, the artistes chosen for honour are conferred the title Vani Kala Sudhakara. The sabha is proud to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee this year with a fortnight long festival of music, dance and drama. The festival is being dedicated to its founder President, Chittoor V. Nagayya.
We, the committee members, fondly remember with reverance our past Presidents and office bearers and convey our deep thanks to our sponsors and wellwishers who have contributed in great measure to keep the sabha growing with full vigour and vitality.
At this juncture, we re-dedicate ourselves to work sincerely in preserving and propagating fine arts and upholding our rich culture and tradition.