THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Harikrishnan R, the beloved principal of the Sree Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thycaud, recently bid adieu to the musical institution to start his retirement life. The veteran violinist, who joined the college as a faculty at the age of 26, kept his musical career aside and devoted his life to teaching and uplift the college. The son of prolific Carnatic musician Palkulangara Ambika Devi and former principal of the college. Chennithala Ramakrishna Pillai, is one of the most loved principals of the college, that produced many renowned musicians from Neyyattinkara Vasudevan to young talent K S Harishankar.
Harikrishnan became the college principal in the year 2018, after three decades of teaching. “I was attached to the place since childhood and learnt the beauty of music from this campus. Half of my life was spent here. So, for me, it was a big responsibility. I believe more than academics, the infrastructure of a college is important in a student’s life.
So, through the government allotted funds, I succeeded in modernising the college campus with a digitalised library, an acoustic panel auditorium with hanging speakers, equipping the campus with a women-friendly bathroom and a sound recording studio. These are the basic amenities of a music college, which it had lacked. I have also formulated plans and handed them over to the college administration for the commencement of an audio-visual library, where the children will be exposed to various kinds of music across the globe,” Harikrishnan says.
The sound recording studio set up in 2015, with the help of the then principal, was to enable the students to get a real studio recording experience. “It was not in their curriculum. But I was adamant to teach them about studio ambience and the technical aspects of the music department. Also, the best way to tone our voice and modulation is by recording and listening to it,” he explains.
BEFORE SIGNING OFF
The master musician has a message to pass on to future students and music aspirants. “Classical music is the base of all music genres. So, one should not leave it behind in their pursuit of fame or success. One can explore its possibilities by making healthy experiments and performances using digital technology and social media. Music has a great scope in future as a career, so attain it through disciplined, dedicated and determined learning,” Harikrishnan says.
He also worked for setting up a bronze statue of the legendary musician, Swathi Tirunal Rama Varma, who has given immense contributions to Carnatic and Hindustani music. “It was my tribute to the legend. I found that there is not a single sculpture in our city of this personality, who was the man behind modernising Travancore. The 4.5-feet bust-size bronze statue will be unveiled at a grand function when the situation turns normal. The fund for the sculpture was contributed by faculties of 2019-20 batch and from a non-profit organisation,” he explains.