Born in 1944 in Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, Shri Yella Venkateswara received his training in Mridangam under Ratna Sri Yella Rao Somanna,a disciple of Palghat Mani Iyer. Over the years, Shri Venkateswara Rao has acquired a distinct style as a Mridangam-player. He has accompanied many leading Carnatic musicians and has been associated for percussion with outstanding Hindustani musicians as well. He is the author of a number of composi- tions for percussion concerts, having collaborated with percussionists of international repute. He has participated in festivals, workshops and lecture-demonstrations in several countries. He is at present the Dean of the Department of Music at Telugu University, Hyderabad. For his distinguished work in music, Shri Yella Venkateswara Rao has been honoured by a number of cultural institutions. He received the Thyagaraja Vamsi Award of Andhra Pradesh in 1993 and the Best Music Teacher Award of the Government of Andhra Pradesh in 1994. He is also a recipient of the Palghat Mani Award of the Percussive Arts Centre, Banga- lore. Shri Yella Venkateswara Rao receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to Carnatic instrumental music.