Prof Raghavan making announcements during Utsavam 2008


The Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam (CTU) was formed in 1977 with the purpose of promoting charitable, educational, and cultural activities. The organization was founded by Prof. T.E.S. Raghavan and Tyagaraja Rao. Prof. Raghavan, the current Chairman, is the guiding light for the organization. CTU celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2001.

CTU is a 501(3)(C) non-profit tax-exempt organization registered in the US state of Illinois.


CTU’s mission is to

  • Promote South Indian classical (Carnatic) music and traditional Indian dance forms in the USA
  • Propagate these arts among the next generation of children in the United States.

To this end, CTU sponsors several events during the year. These include the annual music festival during the Memorial Day weekend (Utsavam); music camps and workshops, where established musicians from India work with young students in the Chicago area; music competitions, in which all participants are inspired and motivated while the talented are recognized; and regular practice sessions throughout the year for various group performances and recitals.  These are but some of the wide range of activities organized by the CTU.

Present & the Future:

Started in 1977 with an attendance of about a dozen people, the Utsavam has grown enormously in size. In recent years, more than 300 amateur musicians perform on stage with attendance exceeding 6000. CTU is a not-for-profit organization that is supported by a grant from Illinois Arts Council (a state agency) and donations from well wishers. One example of a remarkable contribution is from Drs. Nagamani & Vidyasagar Dharmapuri who have been kind enough to pay for the three day auditorium expenses for hosting the Utsavam for the next 10 years. CTU is grateful for their magnanimity. The organization manages to host quality programs on very limited budgets as it is predominantly run by a team of dedicated volunteers. Every year, roughly 3 months prior to the Utsavam, CTU hosts an Annual General Meeting where persons from the public, who are active at the Utsavam, are invited and provided a forum to present their views.

#CTU2017, the 41st Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam will be held over four days:

  • Memorial Day Weekend from Sat, 27 May 2017 thru Mon, 29 May 2017
  • Saturday, 3 June 2017

The festival will be held during the Memorial Day weekend and the weekend that follows. We welcome everyone to attend and actively participate in the festivities on all days. Please mark your calendars for this multi-day festival of music, dance, food and many activities that involve the children, youth and adults of all ages from multiple communities.

#CTU2017 Program Schedule

CTU never rests on its laurels. It is always looking to new ideas for promoting our art and culture. “Our goal is to provide everyone an opportunity to learn our heritage and be proud of it”, says Dr. Raghavan.

CTU Turned 40 in 2016

Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam celebrated its 40th year anniversary in 2016 over a nine-day period from Saturday, 28 May 2016 through Sunday, 5 June 2016. The festival was held during the Memorial Day weekend and the weekend that follows with programs in the evenings during the weekdays as well.

Click here to view the 40th Year (2016) Program Schedule

Contributing to CTU

Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam relies on your continued support to organize various events around the year including the Memorial Day Music festival.  Please find various ways to support CTU by volunteering or through through individual and corporate sponsorships.

Connecting with CTU