TIRUCHY: When many feel the Padma Shri is long overdue for clarinet player Aenjala Kuppuswami Chinnikrishna (AKC) Natarajan, the 92-year-old enthusiast is all geared up for a recording today for the All India Radio (AIR), which was postponed due to Covid. Natarajan is known for adapting the clarinet to Carnatic music and has taken the instrument to great heights in his 75-year-career.
He started learning music and nadaswaram at the age of six as he hailed from a musical family. He was first introduced to the clarinet by his father. He learnt vocal music from Venkatesa Iyer and nadaswaram from Natesa Pillai.
Though many veered towards the nadaswaram, Natarajan fell in love with the clarinet. “I modified the clarinet to suit Carnatic music by reducing the 14 finger holes. I closed eight with wax. I practiced for more than seven hours a day,” says Natarajan. He is hailed for getting the clarinet recognition in concert arenas. Having encountered several hurdles, he teaches nadaswaram to his students.