Waves of excitement swept the college hall as the maestro spoke and performed for over two-and-a-half hours. The audience sang along with him as he performed with his favourite harmonium

“Music is something that should happen…. like a flowing river or waves of the sea. You cannot make it,” music director Ilayaraja said here on Monday at an interactive session with students of MOP Vaishnav College for Women as part of the Pongal celebrations.

Waves of excitement swept the college hall as the maestro spoke and performed for over two-and-a-half hours. The audience sang along with him as he performed with his favourite harmonium that he described as his “best friend who understands and shares his emotions.”

“I may not be able to see you all. But, I relate to you through music. Any form of classical music is made for youth,” said Ilayaraja, who took a break from a composing session to meet the students.

Recalling his early years of career and how music overtook schooling, he said he grew up amid songs and accidentally accompanied his brother for concerts. “I used to sing in female voice then and later played harmonium in the absence of the other artists,” he said.

Ilayaraja, who has composed music for 887 films, said: “I am still in this field because I don’t know music…. I still have so many things to pass on to the younger generation.” He also shared his thoughts about different genres of music and discussed the nuances of music.

For many budding singers in the college, singing before him and a word of appreciation turned out to be a dream come true.

Answering questions posed by the students, Ilayaraja said western music is like living with society and orchestration is necessary. But, classical music is directed towards God and there is no need for such accompaniment.

He also expressed his anguish over the growing difference in recording system where there is no interaction between artists and orchestra.

On college principal Nirmala K. Prasad’s appeal that he should initiate the process for setting up a university for music, he said that he had made such a suggestion sometime at a function organised by the State government. “It somehow didn’t happen so far. I hope it would be set up soon,” he said.

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