KOCHI: “I have been exposed to the violin since my birth,” says the 45-year old Australian violinist Smitha Antony. Her father MJ Antony taught her the violin at the age of seven. “My father is my greatest inspiration,” she says. “After my father’s death in 1986, my uncle M J Michael trained me.” M J Michael is the founder of Indian Youth Chamber Orchestra and Suvartha School of Music at Thiruvananthapuram.
Smitha has just received the first ‘Vismaya Balasandra Purasakaram’, given in the memory of the late violinist Balabhaskar on Wednesday at Bharat Bhavan. This award has been instituted by the Balabhaskar Charitable Memorial Society,
Citing her love for the artist Balabhaskar she said, “I was shocked to hear about Balabhaskar’s death (October 2, 2018). I met him a few months before in Australia. When he passed away, I posted my adaptation of the song, ‘Lag ja gale’, on Facebook,” she recalled.
Her bond with Balabhaskar goes back to the Kerala University Youth Festival days. “After seeing my sister’s western classical violin performance at the university fest, he asked if she can teach him western classical violin. The efforts put by him in learning it didn’t go in vain. Balabhaskar, who usually participates in the Indian classical competition got the first prize in the western classical competition the next year,” she says.
Smitha, who is an IT professional, migrated to Australia in 2000. She has performed at many events in and around Sydney. She has also conducted various music programmes and been a mentor to many groups. Smitha has done violin solos and performed in ensembles, and is a producer of the short film, ‘She Decided Enough is Enough’. This won the Best Screenplay Award at the International Films and Entertainment Festival of Australia in 2016.