S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Sunday, 28 October 2018

T.S. Sankaran

28.10.1930 - 9.4.2015
Birthdays & Anniversaries

T.S. Sankaran was the son of flute vidwan T.N. Sambasiva Iyer from whom he imbibed music and flute playing at a very tende  age. The family hailed from the village of Sathanur in the musically and culturally rich Kaveri delta. Family folklore dating back a couple generations speaks of associations with the illustrious 19th century son of Sathanur, musician Panchanada Iyer, a disciple of Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Later on, “Sankaran sir” (as he was to all who knew him) was a loving and dedicated disciple as well as perhaps the closest confidante of the legendary Mali. “Mali sir” was a native of Tiruvidaimarudur, a mere stone’s throw from Sathanur. In a conversation with the poet Vali, published in the Tamil weekly Kumudam sometime in the 1960s, Mali hailed Sankaran as an Ekalavya who perfectly imbibed his style without any direct instruction. That said, Sankaran was no carbon copy of his guru. He was an original musical thinker and the innovator of a unique flute playing style. He certainly took the best elements of the Mali style, added his personal touches and perhaps combined it with other elements reminiscent of the great nagaswara vidwan T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai whom Sankaran held in the highest esteem. What he evolved was an exquisite gayaki style. When playing kritis, it was marked by great poise and control, the kalapramanam steady, precise and unhurried, the sahitya clearly articulated by an optimal blend of blowing, tonguing and fingering. His raga alapanas combined the core gamakas with long, perfectly sruti aligned karvais and interspersed by rapid fire nagaswaram-like brigas. Sankaran’s use of blow modulation for expressivity is unique among Carnatic flautists who depend mostly on fingering techniques for this purpose. Furthermore, he used head movement effectively for precise enunciation of certain gamakas and as part of his overall expression. While his “viral adi” or fingered staccato was of the strong Mali school variety, he also used true tuthukaaram or tonguing for clear cut articulation of swaraprastara. Mention must also be made of the beautiful Mali school cross fingering techniques that lent so much character and weight to spuritams. Sankaran’s posture was perfectly erect and he held his flute in a most graceful and elegant way. His gentle swaying and eye movements communicated the bhava of the music wonderfully to the fellow musicians on stage and to the listeners in front of him. 
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Hema Rajagopalan

28.10.1950
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Hema Rajagopalan is a senior Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer ba Hema Rajagopalan  sed in Chicago, IL, U.S.A. She is the founder and artistic director of  Natya Dance Theatre, a professional touring company and school that has specialised in Bharatanatyam for more than 40 years.  She has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world, receiving critical acclaim. As a choreographer she has created numerous short works and over thirty major productions. Her gurus are some of the foremost figures in Bharatanatyam—natyacharya K.N. Dandayudhapani Pillai and abhinaya guru Kalanidhi Narayanan.
Among the many prestigious awards that Hema has received are an Emmy Award for the PBS production of World Stage Chicago; seven National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Awards (the highest number ever received by any U.S. choreographer); and, in India, the Vishwa Kala Bharati Award for artistic excellence from Bharat Kalachar. In 2004, she received the Nritya Seva Mani award from Bhairavi, a prominent organisation based in Cleveland, Ohio. Hema is the first US-based dancer to receive this award. Also in 2004, she was the first choreographer working in an Indian tradition to be selected among leading Chicago choreographers by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum to create new work.
Scores of students trained under her have established themselves as performers, teachers and choreographers. Her teaching accolades include the Master Teacher Award from the Asian American Heritage Council and the Master Teacher Award from the City of Chicago. She has served as a dance panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and other state arts agencies. Hema has been appointed by the Canadian government to assess Bharatanatyam dance training programmes. She conducts workshops and master classes at several colleges and universities, and is an adjunct faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

KattumannarKoil Muthukumara Pillai

Birthdays & Anniversaries
27.10.1874

Kattumannar Koil Muthukumara Pillai. A name that still glows in the  annals of Bharatanatyam  of Indian dance, some 143   years after his birth and 57 years after his death.

He was an unusual phenomenon. A product of   unique blend of deep spirituality and instinctive love for the dance. The spiritual side of his personality lent a luminous glow to his art.

He was the only dance master of the old tradition who had a career as a performer also. Notably, he dressed up and danced as a girl, a woman.

He survived a dark period when the dance, then known as Sadir, was looked down upon by society and virtually driven out of existence. But he did more than that; he served as a guardian of the true greatness of tradition and succeeded in propagating it far and wide through his teaching.

He was a great teacher with a missionary zeal, deep dedication and a stern sense of discipline. 

M.K. Saroja, Rukmini Devi, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Muthuswami Pillai, Kamala, Ram Gopal, Nala Najan, Janak Khendry...who distinguished themselves in dance...were all privileged to learn from him.

The world of dance, of Bharatanatyam, has ample reasons to remember him with gratitude. 

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Thursday, 25 October 2018

Madurai Mani Iyer

Birthdays & Anniversaries

His music was sweetness personified and his voice had a bell like tonal purity. The name of Madurai city has come down from Madhura, or ‘sweetness’, and ‘Mani’, an abbreviation of the name ‘Subramaniam’, means a ‘bell’, among other things. These two words sum up Madurai Mani Iyer so perfectly. Add the simplicity with which he presented his music and it was music as it ought to be sung, appealing to the cognoscenti and lay audiences alike. A man who asked nothing more of life than the ability to sing, Madurai Mani Iyer was an all-time great, an icon whose fan following continues to increase decades after his physical form left us. 

Born on 25th October 1912 at Madurai, Mani Iyer came from a well-known music family of the temple town. His father’s brother, Madurai Pushpavanam Iyer, was the reigning star of the early years of the last century. His premature death ended a potentially brilliant career. Mani’s father, Ramaswami Iyer, an employee of the District Court at Madurai, was highly respected for his knowledge in the theoretical aspects of music. His mother, Subbulakshmi Ammal, was a good singer. Mani Iyer was the only son among their four children. 

The musical atmosphere at home was encouraging and soon Mani learnt all his father could teach him. He was sent to Rajam Bhagavatar, a disciple of Ettayapuram Ramachandra Bhagavatar. The tutelage continued for two years, at the end of which Rajam Bhagavatar took employment at the Tyagaraja Vidyalaya, a music school founded by Harikesanallur L Muthiah Bhagavatar in Madurai. 

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Remembering Pattabhi Sir


By Padmini Ganesh

When you think of 'Alapana' -- such an artistic way of setting up a home and workspace, you are quite fascinated with the aesthetic thought process of Pattabhi Sir -- the founder-editor N. Pattabhi Raman.

The cool way to enter by washing one's feet, the beautiful paintings, artifacts displayed without being obtrusive, the warmth and the ambience which only a connoisseur of arts could achieve -- and that is what he was -- with a no nonsense attitude, but with the depth of knowledge that was unquestionable, and the passion to bring out the best in the form of this outstanding magazine called Sruti!

On the occasion of his birthday, we wish the Sruti Team all the good wishes for the amazing work they are doing and in carrying on with his legacy -- the magazine has successfully completed 35 glorious years. It is always a pleasure to hold a Sruti magazine in the hand and be engrossed in the world of arts from around the globe. Keep rocking Sruti staffers!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Arvind Parikh

Birthdays & Anniversaries
19.10.1927

Arvind Parikh is a Hindustani classical musician and sitar player whose performing career has spanned over six decades. His association with such learned musicians as B. R. Deodhar, Latafat Hussain Khan, Amir Khan, Niyaz Ahmad-Faiyaz Ahmad Khan, D. T. Joshi, andRadhika Mohan Maitra  and vocalists helped him in his research work on different rare ragas and compositions. 

Arvind Parikh has performed at almost all the major music festivals in India and Europe, and has had concert tours in several parts of West Asia, the Far East and Australia.

Parikh has numerous students internationally including musicologist Deepak Raja, music director Tushar Bhatia, sitarists Rafat Khan Niyazi, Vinayak Chitter, Ramprapanna Bhattacharya, Abhik Mukherjee, Ganesh Mohan, and more. Parikh has documented many the precious compositions and ragas. "Sitar Guru",and "Bandish Parampara" published by Navras records UK are some of his works.

Parikh has worked as musicologist and teacher, and promoted initiatives aimed at increasing interest in Hindustani classical music n India and abroad. He was vice president of the International Music Council (UNESCO) during 1994-97 and is now co-ordinator for the Indian sub-continent. He is President of the Indian Musicological Society, and chairman of the Western India Chapter of ITC-Sangeet Research Academy. At his instance, music forums have been established in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. He spearheads an association of classical musicians, called the All India Musicians’ Group (AIMG) drawn from the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions (including Zakir Hussain, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Chitravina N Ravikiran, and Rajan and Sajan Mishra), to create support in government, industry and the media for Indian classical music.

Parikh was awarded the Gaurav Puraskar for 1997-98 by the Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Academy. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for Instrumental music (sitar) in 2003, he is a top grade artist and regular broadcaster of All India Radio.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Palladam Sanjeeva Rao

Birthdays & Anniversaries
18.10.1882 - 11.7.1962

Sanjeeva Rao was born on 18 October 1882, in Palladam in the Coimbatore district of the then Madras Presidency. He was the youngest of the three sons of Palladam Venko- bachar, an ardent devotee of Anjaneya, who had the reputation of possessing tantric powers that helped him cure severe illnesses. The father depended on donations to maintain himself and his family, but his reputation extended to the adjoining districts of Tiruchi and Salem also. It was this reputation apparently that paved the way for Sanjeeva Rao's career in music.

Flutist Palladam Sanjeeva Rao belonged to the era, if not the race, of giants who dominated Car- natic classical music for about three decades from the nineteen twenties. He was the uncrowned king of the flute-until a prodigy called T.R. Mahalingam came along and revolutionised the Carnatic flute. He did not quite lose his throne to the revolutionary, for he continued to be respected by his peers and supported by the Establishment but he was no longer quite the sovereign he was.

Sanjeeva Rao was a disciple and successor of Sarabha Sastri but, even in the early nineteen thirties, there were not many who had heard the blind bard of the bamboo often enough to confirm that, although Rao had inherited Sastri's flute, he had also acquired his style and his mastery of the instrument at the same level. Writting in Personalities In Present. Day Music, published in 1933, the late E. Krishna Iyer, connoisseur and critic and a force at the Madras Music Academy, could only say: "The echoes of that Orpheus of India (Sarabha Sastri) are said to be discernible in the present in Sanjeeva Rao ". There is no doubt, how- ever, that Sanjeeva Rao had attained enough proficiency to establish himself as a prominent player in the major league.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale

17.10.1869 - 8.4.1922
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Bhaskar Raghunath Bakhale  (also known as Bhaskarrao or Bhaskarbua or Bhaskarbuwa) was a Hindustani classical vocalist, a composer, and a teacher.

During 1883–1885, Bakhale performed as a child artist in the stage plays of Kirloskar Natak Mandali where Bhaurao Kolhatkar, Moroba Wagholikar, and Balakoba Natekar earned much fame as singers of folksy and light classical stage songs. After completing his training in classical music, Bakhale returned as a classical vocalist in year 1899 or so.[4] During 1897–1901, he served as a professor of music at a training college in Dharwad. Starting year 1901, he was based in Mumbai and Pune but performed throughout India and Nepal. He was given the honorary title "Deva Gandharva" (God Among Celestial Musicians).[7] His notebook lists dhrupads and dhamars learnt by him but he rarely performed those in public. His typical recital comprised khyal ragas and an assortment of dadratappathumribhajan, songs from Marathi stage plays, and traditional Marathi light classical forms. He also had a successful career as the music director of Kirloskar Natak Mandali and, afterwards, of Gandharva Natak Mandali.[8] Govindrao Tembe benefited from Bakhale's advisement in composing music for the stage play Sangeet Manapman (1911).

Bakhale was one of the first vocalists to receive traditional training from multiple gharana systems.[2] Since the turn of the 17th century, Hindustani classical music had become a stronghold of Muslim musicians and Balakrishnabuwa Ichalkaranjikar (1840–1926) was one of the few Hindu vocalists to earn fame at it in the 19th century.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Sruti

Sruti is an English language monthly magazine on the performing arts -- Indian music, dance, and theatre -- published from ChennaiIndia.
Sruti was founded in 1983 by Dr. N. Pattabhi Raman, who had returned to India from a career abroad, bringing with him a focus and skill for English writing and editing, as well as willingness to engage in sincere criticism and controversy. The magazine initially had financial difficulties, with Pattabhi Raman desiring to gain subscribers vice take out loans, and minimal support from corporations. The journal floundered somewhat following Pattabhi Raman's death in 2002, but as of 2003 it continued forward under staffers who rose to take over its leadership.[1] The magazine was acquired by the Sanmar Group in 2006, and has grown from strength to strength.[2]
Journalist S. Muthiah in 2011 referred to the publication as the country's leading journal on Indian Classical music and dance.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Mudicondan Venkatarama lyer

Birthdays & Anniversaries
15.10.1887 - 13.9.1975

Venkatarama Iyer, was a musician's musician whose mastery encompassed both the lakshana (canonical) and lakshya (aesthetic) aspects of Carnatic classical music. Specifically, he was considered an authority on alapana presentation and tanamand pallavi-singing. He was for many years one of the major draws at the morning sessions of the annual conference of the Madras Music Academy at which experts — mostly real experts in those days — delivered illuminating talks or erudite lecture-demonstrations and discusssed raga lakshana-s. His contributions to enlightenment in these areas eventually earned for him the Academy's Sangeeta Kalanidhi title which goes with the honour of presiding over the annual conference.

The journey to the top honour seems to have begun at his birth, for both his parents were musically gifted. His father Chakrapani Iyer was noted for his singing of raga-s and Tevaram-s which are the hymns in Tamil in praise of the divine composed by the saints of the bhakti tradition. In fact, his maternal grandfather Srivanchiyam Swaminatha Iyer was also noted for his singing ability; he specialized in singing pada-s and javali-s with a lilt of his own, which led his listeners to identify him as Talukku [Glitter] Swaminatha Iyer.

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Vempati Chinna Satyam

Birthdays & Anniversaries
15.10.1929 - 29.7.2012
Vempati Chinna Satyam was an Indian dancer and a guru of the Kuchipudi dance form.Chinna Satyam was born in KuchipudiAndhra Pradesh. He was taught by Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry. He then refined his art by learning from Sri Tadepally Perrayya Sastry and later was trained by his elder brother Sri Vempati Pedda Satyam in expressions. As he learnt the nuances of this style of dance, he was successful in popularising the Kuchipudi dance form all over the world. 
Chinna Satyam sublimated and systematised Kuchipudi, giving it a more classical basis. He refined the art form, bringing it closer to the standards of Natya Shastra and gave it a whole new perspective and introduced new elements, e.g. chari (leg movements) of Natya Shastra that are significantly different from the interpretations of other dance authorities, such as Padma Subrahmanyam. Previously, it had been considered a "rustic" (folk) form of dance.

Chinna Satyam started the Kuchipudi Art Academy at Madras in 1963. The Academy has to its credit more than 180 solo items and 15 dance dramas composed and choreographed by Satyam. These solo items and dramas have been staged all over India and abroad. He composed his first dance drama Sri Krishna Parijatham in the same period followed by another hit Ksheera Sagara Madanam and played the lead role. His portrayal of Lord Shiva and his choreography was well received.

N. Ramani

15.10.1934 - 9.10.2015
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Dr. Natesan Ramanicommonly known as N. Ramani or N. Flute Ramani, was an Indian Carnatic flautist. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1996. Ramani is also credited for introducing the long flute into Carnatic music.
Ramani performed his first concert at the age of 8. The turning point in Ramani's career was when he became a disciple of his maternal uncle and eminent flautist, In 1945, Ramani performed his first concert on All India Radio. Following Ramani's first concert at the Madras Music Academy in 1956,at the age of 22, Ramani had reached the highest point in his career and become an artist of international fame, and his concerts became a regular feature.
The "Mali" bani encompassed facial expressions such as slight tilting of the head, varied movement of the lips which produced the vocal effect in the Carnatic never explored before by Sharaba Shastri or Palladam Sanjeeva Rao.Bringing out more of the tradition Mali introduced in the playing of the Carnatic flute, Ramani's distinctive style is the transformation of the Carnatic flute into the voice of a proficient Carnatic vocalist. Stressing such importance on the emphasis of vocal style of playing, he displayed characteristics of the human voice in his concerts often observed in his fast paced yet melodious performances.
Ramani's performances in All India Radio (AIR) have received numerous praises from Hindustani and Carnatic musicians alike and his performances overseas had been recognised with numerous awards.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

D.K. Datar

14.10.1932
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Pandit D. K. Datar is one of India's foremost violinists. He had his initial training from the Late Pandit Vighneshwar Shastri. Later he received invaluable guidance from Professor B. R. Deodhar. But his style was really influenced by his close association with the Late Pandit D. V. Paluskar. His gayaki style of playing has a unique quality that is rarely found in today's violinists. Pandit Datar is well known for his systematic presentation of the "ragas" in the classical tradition. He also excels, in presenting thumaris, bhajans and other forms of light classical music.

He is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1996) and the Maharashtra Government Award (1998). He has been visiting faculty at many universities such as Bombay University, S.N.D.T. University, M. S. Baroda University, Banaras Hindu University and Khairaghar University. He has performed duets with Shahid Parvez, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vijay Raghav Rao, Sultan Khan, Devendra Murdeshvar and has accompanied D. V. Paluskar, Kishori Amonkar, Saraswati Rane, Hirabai Barodekar, Narayanrao Vyas, Kumar Gandharva and many others.

Pandit Datar has toured extensively in India and has participated a number of times in all of the presrigious music conferences held in Bhopal, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hydrabad, Madras, Baroda, Calcutta, Nagpur, Indore and Delhi. He also had successful concert tours of U. S. A., Canada, U. K., Europe, Iceland, Japan, U.A.E. and countries of South East Asia.

Nikhil Banerjee

14.10.1931 - 27.1.1986
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Nikhil Banerjee was one of the three outstanding sitar players dominating Hindustani music during the last 30 years. Pandit Ravi Shankar, the most wellknown of the three, became famous for first exposing the West to Indian classical music through his cotttact with George Harrison and the Beaties. Nikhil Banerjee was in fact Ravi Shankar's gurubhai; both artists were trained by the same teacher, the late Baba Allaudin Khan of Maihar. Ustad Vilayat Khan, the third sitarist of the trio, represents a long and distinguished gharana of instrumentalists from what is now Bangladesh.

At the invitation of the American Society for Eastern Arts, Nikhil Banerjee first came to the United States in 1967 to perform .on the college campuses and give instructional classes in sitar. In 1974 and '75 the Center for World Music sponsored the teaching programme, which in 1976 and '78 was organized by Musical Traditions, an offshoot of ASEA. Greeted by enthusiastic reviews wherever he went, Nikhil Banerjee saw his reputation soar at home and abroad. In 1968 he was awarded the distinction of Padma Shri by the Government of India, and he was given the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1974. Between 1967 and 1973 six long-playing records of his were released by the Gramophone Company of India (EMI).

In November 1985, Nikhil Banerjee fufilled a lifelong ambition when he performed in Carnegie Hall. Reviewer Robert Palmer of The New Yark Times wrote :

"The extraordinary fluidity and assurance of his rhythmic ideas and phrasing set a pace and a standard that would

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Annapurna Devi is no more

A reclusive genius


Eminent surbahar artiste Annapurna Devi died at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai on Saturday, 13th October 2018 aged 91, hospital officials said.

Daughter of the Maihar gharana maestro Alauddin Khan, sister of top sarod artist Ali Akbar Khan, and for a couple of decades the wife of sitarist Ravi Shankar before their divorce, Annapurna Devi was considered the greatest exponent of surbahar. She was also a guru of repute, counting sitarist Nikhil Banerjee and flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia among her prime disciples.  
For most of her life, the great musician stayed out of the limelight by choice.

Chitti Babu

Birthdays & Anniversaries
13.10.1936 - 9.2.1996

Chitti Babu (13 October 1936 – 9 February 1996) was a renowned veena artiste in Carnatic music. He was perhaps the most popular exponent of his instrument in his time.

He had a significant stint in film music from 1948 to 1962, when he worked in the south Indian film industry, playing the veena for numerous background scores in movie soundtracks under the batons of many eminent music directors of the time like Saluri Rajeswara RaoPendyala Nageswara Rao, and Viswanathan-Ramamoorthi, among others. His veena playing was a key element in many hit songs in Telugu and Tamil.
While continuing with the principles of his his guru Emani Sankara Sastri, Chitti Babu, created and evolved a distinctive style and identity. He offered exquisite tonal quality and versatility and produced sounds as varied as Vedic hymns and birdsong. He played many western-music based compositions of his own. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

Chitra Visweswaran

Birthdays & Anniversaries
12.10.1950

Chitra Visweswaran is a famous Bharatanatyam exponent, reputed guru and an excellent choreographer. Born on 12 October 1950, Chitra was initiated into dance by her mother Rukmani Padmanabhan, and then put through her paces in Western classical ballet in London. At the age of ten, she came under the tutelage of the well known devadasi dancer Tiruvidaimarudur T.A. Rajalakshmi. Chitra performed her Bharatanatyam arangetram on 12 April 1962. An eclectic background covering Manipuri, Kathak, Rabindra nritya and sangeet, Carnatic music and theatre, launched Chitra on a voyage of discovery at a very young age in Calcutta.

In 1970, after graduating in English Honours from Calcutta University, Chitra received the National Scholarship for advanced study in Bharatanatyam from the Government of India. She relocated to Madras and spent her scholarship period of four years learning from the doyen Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai. After some years Chitra chartered her own course, imbuing her knowledge of the cognate forms of arts with a scholastic approach and developing an individualistic philosophy of movement.

Her holistic vision of dance and her husband R. Visweswaran’s pursuit of music ensured a continuum through the Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), which the couple established at Chennai in 1975. Together, they created several solo pieces, thematic presentations and group productions. Backed by research towards the extension of the Bharatanatyam repertoire, Chitra has  created a voluminous body of work, covering several margams, thematic solo, group /dance theatre productions, which reflect her individuality and are a synergy of tradition and innovation. She recently penned the lyrics and composed the music for Sri Pothai Kuravanji.

Chitra Visweswaran was among the first to perform extensively abroad, and in the process,  she equipped herself and her students in acoustics and lighting design. She has performed solo and presented her work at several prestigious venues and festivals including the United Nations, the Festivals of India abroad, and at the golden jubilee celebrations of India’s Independence held in different parts of the world. She was the first Indian dancer to appear on Portugal TV and more recently, the first Bharatanatyam choreographer to be commissioned to present choreographies by the Opera of France at Lille and Paris.

Her performances have been archived by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi and NCPA, Mumbai. Her dance has been telecast by important television channels including BBC, Singapore Broadcasting Company, Sydney Television, French Television, Doordarshan and Roopavahini. She has presented several papers, lecdems and workshops on dance, and  has collaborated with doyens in Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak. She has served as board member, Kalakshetra Foundation, and the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai. She graced the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Fine Arts as a Professor Emeritus in the University of Madras. She served as  Member, General Council and Executive Board of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, and as Member Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram. Chitra Visweswaran is the Managing Trustee of CAPA, and Dean of Lalitha Kala Mandir, the fine arts wing of Sri Muthukrishna Swami Mission. She is now the President of ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India).

Chitra is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honours including the Nritya Choodamani (1980), Kalaimamani (1983), the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padma Shri (1992), Honorary Citizen of the City of Bourges, Viswa Kala Bharathi, and Natya Kala Acharya from The Music Academy (2014).

Chitra is a voracious reader and has delved deep into literature, the fine arts,  theatre, history, religion and philosophy. She is an aesthete and a connoisseur for whom Bharatanatyam is not only a passion but a spiritual experience.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy

Birthdays & Anniversaries
10.10.1927 - 8.12.2014

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy was an outstanding exponent of Carnatic music, a musicologist, guru and tunesmith. His performances provided a rich listening experience. He was one of the few vocalists from Andhra who had attained national stature.

Krishnamurthy was born on 10 October 1927 in a poor family in Kothapalli, Pithapuram Taluka, East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. His father, Ramamurthy, held a minor job at the estate of Pithapuram. He brought up his son in the traditional Brahminical way, and taught him the customary Sanskrit and religious practices.

Krishnamurthy was initiated to music by his mother and he continued his learning with two local musicians. In 1940 he secured admission in the Maharaja’s Music College, Vizianagaram, of which Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, the violin virtuoso, was the principal. He completed the course in 1940. He gave his first concert before a small audience in his native place. Before long he got a good break to perform in the well-known Saraswati Gana Sabha in Kakinada. It happened under fortuitous circumstances. The sabha had scheduled a performance of T.R. Mahalingam, the flute wizard. He could not reach in time and Krishnamurthy, who was in the audience, was asked to fill the gap. The concert was well-received.

Krishnamurthy’s coming into contact with Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, eminent musician and musicologist, was a turning point in his career. His training under Pinakapani, in the gurukula system, started in 1949. The intensive training deepened his knowledge and widened his repertoire.

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