Supriya Nagarajan, the founder of Dewsbury-based arts organisation, Manasamitra, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to music in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024.

As founder, chief executive officer and artistic director of Manasamitra, Supriya was recommended by the Prime Minister on the advice of the independent Main Honours Committee following an independent assessment process.

The King’s Birthday Honours list recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK, from all walks of life.

Supriya will be presented with her medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire at a local ceremony and will be invited to attend a Royal Garden Party.

Speaking of the award, Supriya said: “I am incredibly proud to have been awarded a British Empire Medal and be recognised amongst so many other wonderful individuals. Through Manasamitra, I am honoured to be able to connect with so many people through arts, helping them to express themselves, experience different cultures, and transport people into a mindful space.

“Music and the arts have allowed me to follow my passion and help others to do the same. The arts are so important to our communities here in the UK, I hope that my recognition will help to showcase the importance and value of the arts, here in Yorkshire and across the nation.”

Supriya is one of the most sought-after Carnatic vocalists/composers in the UK and has performed around the world. Supriya combines her South Indian classical vocals with different world genres while composing and performing. Supriya’s music and life has been enhanced by synaesthesia and her work is a confluence of senses.

Known for working in unusual, non-traditional performance spaces, she strives to engage and inspire new audiences and bring them unique cultural experiences. Supriya has collaborated with musicians from different disciplines and been commissioned to create musical responses for the likes of Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, Jaume Plensa, Simon Armitage and Jarvis Cocker.

A Bombay-born Indian musician who studied Carnatic vocal (classical South Indian) music from age five, Supriya initially built up a successful career in the UK banking sector. In 2005 she changed direction and founded Manasamitra to fulfil her passion for music and traditional and contemporary Indian art. She did this with the goal of giving UK audiences an ambience of India, its tradition and its culture.

Today, with Supriya’s leadership, Manasamitra delivers challenging, thoughtful and provocative programmes across all genres and cultures. Its aim is to pioneer new performance vocabularies through multi-disciplinary collaborations and develop new audiences – including children, young people and families – within social and community settings across the UK.

Supriya is passionate about empowering young and emerging artists to realise their dreams and she supports more than 40 artists locally and nationally. She runs a PRSF funded mentoring programme for women composers and artists seeking out ways to create career pathways and opportunities for individuals to overcome socioeconomic barriers and achieve their goals.