HYDERABAD: The coming week will see a classical music concert that many music connoisseurs are looking forward to.
The young and highly talented classical musician Sandeep Narayan will be performing at a concert being held to commemorate the birth anniversary of a widely respected Karnatik musician, musicologist and composer Ganakalanidhi Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar (1915--1991).
He will be accompanied by Komanduri Venkata Krishna on violin, Parupalli Phalgun on mridangam, and PV Ramanamurthy on ghatam. The event, organised by South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) will be held on June 18, at Ravindra Bharathi at 6.30 p.m.
Born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar came under the tutelage of two highly reputed musicians of his time–Piratla Sankara Sastri, the court musician of Mukthyala Samsthanam, Andhra Pradesh; and Tiger Varadacharier of then-Madras, both of whom were fourth-generation disciples of Saint Thyagaraja. Thus, he was a fifth-generation, direct-lineage shishya of Thyagaraja.
Vinjamuri was known for his chaste classicism, highly creative manodharma, mastery over the theoretical aspects of music, and bhava-rich renditions.
He gave hundreds of critically appreciated concerts around India and abroad during a glittering career studded with many awards, honours and pioneering achievements.
Among these were the gold medal from Madras Music Academy in 1935; and the lectures he gave on Indian music and comparative study of Western, Carnatic and Hindustani music systems to visiting professors from USA for which he was awarded a doctorate.
Among the many firsts in his career were: teaching Carnatic music on All India Radio, Madras, from the year 1943, in a programme titled ‘Gana Lahari, a live broadcast, thrice a week; an Akhanda namasamkeertana’ or non-stop singing of Thyagaraja krithis for 24 hours in Hyderabad in 1962; as Carnatic Music producer of All India Radio, Hyderabad, during 1956-64, he introduced many new features on radio like Bhakthi Ranjani, Laya vinyasamu, Raga lakshanam and Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi, all conceived, directed and presented by him.
He was also founder-principal of Government Music College, Hyderabad, the first government college in then-Andhra Pradesh.
The performer at this forthcoming concert is Sandeep Narayan, a brilliant, young Karnatik musician and among the most talented vocalists of his generation.
It is remarkable that he was born and bred in USA but has now settled down in India to make a career of classical music. Sandeep began learning music from his mother Subha Narayan and later came under the tutelage of Calcutta Krishnamurthy and Sanjay Subrahmanyam.
There is a personal reason too behind the choice of Sandeep Narayan for this concert. As the daughter of Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar, Chennai-based Sandhya Vinjamuri says: “Sandeep is known to me from the time he was 12 years old and he has high regard for my father and his work.”
This concert is one of the many efforts by Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar’s descendants to commemorate his memory and contributions to Karnatik music.
These include granting of scholarships, prizes, and gold medals in his name and conducting music programmes. Also, there are trusts like Ganakalanidhi Dr Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar Memorial Trust for example.
In collaboration with SICA of Hyderabad, Vinjamuri Memorial Concerts are being held for the past 28 years sometime around his birth date i.e July 15 or his memorial day, i.e. August 16, reveals Sandhya Vinjamuri.
There are also annual programmes respectively at his birthplace, Guntur, in July in collaboration with Gayatri Mahila Sangeetha Sanmandali; and in Chennai during July-August in collaboration with Chennai Fine Arts.
Entry to the concert is free for SICA members and for others, there are donor passes of Rs 100 each.