K. Srimali

VIJAYAWADA: For 77-year-old Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, Vijayawada holds a special place. For, it was here that he had spent his career’s formative years. “It’s indeed a kind of homecoming,” says the maestro, when asked how it feels to be coming back to a city where he had spent a good number of years working as producer for music programmes at the All India Radio and later playing a lead role in the setting up of Government Music College.

In a tête-À-tête with The Hindu during his visit to the city, the maestro recalled the circumstances that led to his appointment as producer for music programmes at the AIR in Vijayawada around 1955.

“The idea of appointing exclusive producers for music programmes in different AIR stations was mooted by the then Union Information & Broadcasting Minister B.V. Keskar. Some stations directors opposed it for the fear of losing their control, but the idea was welcomed by the stations directors of Delhi and Vijayawada. They were given the freedom to choose persons, and I was chosen for the post here,” he explained.

Even as he was continuing in the post, the State Government of the day, around 1960, asked him to become the first principal of the Government Music College, which was later named after Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao.

“When I was reluctant to join it for various reasons, the Government then said that it would withdraw the very idea of establishing a music college,” said the doyen. After an eventful three-year stint at the college, Dr. Balamuralikrishna came back to the AIR fold and joined the station at Madras, now Chennai.

Enthralling show

Dr. Balamuralikrishna on Saturday enthralled music lovers with his performance, which he called ‘Guru Vandana’, at Sivaramakrishna Kshetra Sravana Sadanam at Ramanagaram.

On Sunday, it was the turn of his students to pay their gratitude to him by singing his compositions.