Song of Surrender

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Generation Next

Amritha Murali
 
(Reproduced from Sruti 275, August 2007)

For Carnatic music aficionados thirsting for chaste rendering of the great compositions of its maestros and a musical imagination rooted in good aesthetics and orthodox vocalisation uncluttered by gimmickry, 22-year-old Amritha Murali is a godsend. This promising young vocalist is an accomplished violinist as well, known to be the ideal accompanist — supportive and unobtrusive despite her virtuosity — and an appealing soloist, not to mention her excellent showing as an accompanist in the violin kutcheri-s of her guru T. Rukmini.

Belonging to a family deeply interested in Carnatic music — grandmother Sankari Nagarajan was a graded AIR vocalist — Amritha enjoys a pedigree that includes some outstanding guru-s in vocal music, the late K.R. Kedaranathan and Meera Kedaranathan prominent among them. While Rama Ravi of the Brinda-Muktha school has been another notable influence, Amritha has recently started training with P.S. Narayanaswamy. Amritha’s early violin learning was from Vitthal Ramamurthy, before she came under the tutelage of Rukmini.

Amritha is evidently a believer in the importance of listening in a young musician’s career, for she, along with her parents, is one of the most visible rasika-s at concerts. Amritha’s parents encouraged her to learn both music and Bharatanatyam at a young age. Her mother in particular has been a bulwark of support in her concert career.

A strong preference for gamaka over briga, a penchant for subtle prayoga-s, feeling supported by intelligent concert planning that ensures the right length of raga alapana, niraval and swaraprastara, are some of the qualities coming in for praise in the reviews of her vocal concerts.

Amritha’s solo violin concerts have been few and far between, though her violin playing is marked by the same qualities of saukhyam and solid musicianship as her singing. She finds playing the role of accompanist a good learning experience, helpful in her vocal concert career, which is ‘her first priority’ in her own words.

Amritha has to her credit a number of titles and prizes including the M.S. Subbulakshmi Award from Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, the All India Radio National Competition Prize, prize for the best vocalist in the junior category from the Madras Music Academy and in the sub-senior category from the Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai. Her prizes for violin playing include the Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Endowment Prize from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, the K.S. Mahadevan Endowment Prize from Narada Gana Sabha, the Best Junior Violinist Award – Spirit of Youth Series 2003, and the Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Award and Lalgudi Jayaraman Prize for the Best Sub-Senior Violinist from the Music Academy, Chennai.

She has performed at major sabha-s in Chennai and elsewhere in India. She has also performed at the Tyagaraja Utsavam at Cleveland, Ohio, as well as other centres in the U.S.A. This summer Amritha played the violin for Chitra Visweswaran’s dance recital at Cleveland and other parts of the U.S.A.

A graded artist of All India Radio in both vocal and violin music by virtue of winning the All India Radio competition, Amritha is an alumnus of P.S. Senior Secondary School and Ethiraj College, Chennai. She holds a Masters degree in Finance Management and is now pursuing her MBA with Symbiosis, Pune.

Her talent, her steady progress as a performing musician, ably guided by excellent teachers, and her level headed approach to life, promise a notable career in music for Amritha Murali in the years to come.

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