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T. N. Krishnan hails from an illustrious family of musicians. Born on 6 October 1928 in Parur (Kerala), he was noted for his musical abilities and precocious talents, even in his formative years. He gave his first concert at the age of eight and was featured on All India Radio from the age of ten. Initially trained under his father Sri A. Narayana Iyer, Krishnan was a dutiful disciple of K. Parthasarathy Iyengar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer as well. His aesthetically rich style also draws inspiration from the renowned violinist, Papa Venkataramiah.From a young age, T. N. Krishnan had the opportunity to accompany several acclaimed vocalists like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer, Chembai Vaidhyantha Iyer and Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer.Later on, he also played for stalwarts like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G. N. Balasubramaniam, M. D. Ramanathan, and so on. He has accompanied these maestros and many others in innumerable concerts. More recently he has featured as a soloist and also gives violin (duo and trio) concerts with his daughter, Viji and son, Sriram.Sri T. N. Krishnan has performed extensively as a violin accompanist and as a solo violinist. He was a Professor of Violin at the Tamil Nadu Government Music College from 1964 to 1978. Later, from 1978 to 1985, he remained the Principal of the Tamil Nadu Government Music College. He was the Professor and Head of Carnatic Music section of Delhi University from 1986 to 1992 and a Member of the Experts Committee of The Music Academy Madras. He was an Executive Board Member of The Sangeet Natak Academy and from 1992 he was its Chairman. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for World Music, University of Berkeley.
incomparable Shehnai player Bismillah Khan is the living legend of
the Indian classical music. With his artistic virtuosity, Bismillah Khan brought
out the instrument of shehnai from the confines of wedding music, elevating
its status as the instrument of the concert music. Bismillah Khan brought
rare vibrancy and resplendence to the Indian classical music. A widely traveled
artiste, Bismillah Khan has performed in many countries across the globe thus
having a tremendous band of supporters following him everywhere. Apart from
his countless classical & semi-classical recitals, his fans still remember
his Jugalbandi with the sitar maestro Ustad Abdul Halim Jafar for a
Hindi film and with the famous violinist Pandit V.G. Jog for the All
Bismillah Khan was born on 21st March 1916 in a family in which ancestors
were court musicians of the princely state of Dumrao in Bihar. His uncle Ali
Bux, a well known Shehnai player at the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi,
gave him training. An extremely promising Shishya (student), the young
Bismillah mastered a variety of forms of the classical music such as the Thumri,
Chaiti and Kajari. Later, after an in depth study of the Khayal
gayaki, he incorporated it in his instrument.Over
the years, the Ustad's rendering of chaiti, dhuns, kajris and other folk forms
have been greatly applauded. He introduced the gayaki ang (vocal aspect)
in an otherwise more 'taan-centric' instrument. On a personal level, Khansaheb
personifies a mélange of faith, practice and sensibility, both Hindu and Islamic.
As a devout Shia (Muslim sect), who refuses to touch the shehnai unless he
has offered his sunrise namaaz, Bismillah Khan is also a staunch devotee of
Saraswati (Hindu Goddess of learning). Every year on the eighth day of Muharram,
this Shia devotee, dresses up in white and leads a procession, playing his
silver shehnai (reserved for just this day each year), from the lanes of Varanasi
to the Imambara (replica of Imam Husain's shrine). Sitting cross-legged on
the dusty ground, he plays for hours and weeps.
Rooted in the cultural, linguistic and geographical milieu of India, his music is heard from Kolkatta to California. Believing that music alone can hold India together, Khansaheb says that music should be taught in schools as the 'rashtra bhasha' or the national language. Though honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 2001, the maestro finds bliss only when his music communicates with the Maker.
Born on March 2, 1919 to Damal Krishnaswamy Dikshitar and Rajamal, in the temple town of Kancheepuram, the young Patta was considered a uniquely gifted child. Her career is unique in that her foundations were not structured by formal music tuition.
Her talent flowered even as she learned to sing slokas at home from her music loving father and avidly listened to the musicians who came and performed at Kancheepuram. She received tuition from a Telugu vadhyar who volunteered to give her music lessons.
When she was 14, she gave her first public performance at the Mahila Samaj in Egmore and won acclaim. She moved to Madras in 1933 to become a regular performer in the concert circuits.
Not only did Pattammal manage to shed the binding coils of orthodoxy in taking to concert music, she dared to venture into a musical area as pallavi singing, hitherto considered a male preserve. Her mastery enabled her to command the respect of senior artistes and she came to be known as “Pallavi Pattammal”.
Displaying a strong adherence to tradition and chastity of expression in rendering Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit compositions, her music has the beauty and grace of Kancheepuram silk woven on the warp of classical tradition and weft of disciplined innovation, in exposition. Her concerts are as much an aural treat to the connoisseurs as lessons to the young students of music.
In her earlier years, Pattammal had, through constant practice and concentration, earned a reputation for her emphasis on laya. She handled very unusual and intricate rhythmic cycles, with consummate ease of command. But as she herself stated “When I was 50, I lost interest in the excitements of ‘laya’. I began to feel that “bhava” was more important. As I sang more and more, I felt the power of the content deep within me. ‘Entraiku Varumo Sivakripai’ was not a string of words; it expressed my devotion through the melody. I wanted to communicate its melting quality to the listeners.'' Her music in later years accorded due place to ‘bhava’.
In an age when experimentation, even in the classical arts, is deemed fashionable, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer stands like a rock – a saviour of the purity in Carnatic music heritage.
Born in 1908, Semmangudi started Carnatic vocal training at eight. His first music recital was at the Kumbakonam Nageswaraswami temple in 1926. His performance at the Congress session at Chennai (the following year) brought him to centre-stage.
Besides his preservation of the classical vocal tradition, Semmangudi's contribution has been in his editing and reviving of the songs of Maharaja Swati Tirunal. Generations of musicians have been taught and nurtured by him. Among his most celebrated pupils are M. S. Subbulakshmi, T. N. Krishnan, T. M. Thyagarajan, P. S. Narayanaswami and Kadayanallur Venkatraman
Despite his prodigious creative energies, Semmangudi avoided composing new songs. Carnatic Music will always be indebted to him for restoring the original beauty of the classic compositions. Semmangudi is the recipient of several awards. Notable among them - the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title in 1947, the Padma Bushan in 1969 and the Padma Vibushan in 1990.
Popularly known as KVN, Narayanaswamy’s music known for its laya and bhawa. He was born in 1923 at Palghat, Kerala. KVN’s family had a great tradition in Carnatic music. His first guru was his father Vishwanatha Bhagavathar. He continued his music training under Palghat Mani Iyer, CS Krishna Iyer, Papa Venkatramaiah and Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar. He joined the Madras government Music college as a teacher . KVN’s achievements include Kerala State Sangita Natak Academy award in 1970, Padma Shri by the Govt. Of India in 1976, Sangita Natak Academy Award in 1977, Sangita Kala Nipuna by the Mylapre Fine Arts in 1982, Sangita Kalanidhi by the Music Academy in 1986, Sangita Kala Shikhamani by the Indian Fine Arts Society in 1989. KVN’s style is known for its laya and bhava.
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