Gayana Samaja’s Sangeeta Kalaratna Award for Rudrapatnam Brothers

Carnatic legends: A file photo of R.N. Thiyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan performing at a music concert.

Carnatic legends: A file photo of R.N. Thiyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan performing at a music concert.  

With 60 years of stage performances and 2,550 concerts to their credit, the Rudrapatnam Brothers — R.N. Thyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan — Karnataka’s senior-most musicians, have been chosen for the prestigious Sangeeta Kalaratna Award instituted by Bangalore Gayana Samaja. The award will be conferred during the sabha’s annual music conference later this year.

“It is not just a question of receiving an award... having the Sangeeta Kalaratna memento will be precious to both of us, as Gayana Samaja is India’s oldest running heritage sabha at 117 years,” Mr. Thyagarajan said.

Mr. Thyagarajan and Mr. Tharanathan were last year’s recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar and Madras Music Academy’s Sangeeta Kalacharya Award. The brothers — with a four-generation musical lineage of Veda and naada practitioners of Rudrapatna in Hassan district — are grandsons of Harikatha vidwan Rudrapatnam Krishna Sastry, sons of R.K. Narayanaswamy, and the nephews of vocal maestro R.K. Srikantan.


Trained under uncle-violinist R.K. Venkatarama Sastry, and also yesteryear musicians such as Semmangudi, Lalgudi, G.N.B., and the Alathur Brothers, the duo are happy with traditional formatting in their presentations, preferring to be within the prescribed boundaries of Carnatic music. “We would prescribe a puritanical syllabus and a one-on-one class. Avoid online classes or refrain from taking part in reality shows and fusion concerts, as it isn’t a sincere approach to classicism,” said Mr. Tharanathan.

The brothers’ puritanical approach to every aspect of rendering music has helped them train nearly 100 students, some of whom are AIR graders and performers. “We advise today’s students to regularly listen to the radio and live concerts for a healthy build-up. Only when you learn under a guru can you sing, discuss and absorb nuances in a broader perspective. Younger musicians have forgotten some of the rare compositions of the Trinity, Mysore composers as Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, and Vasudevachar. Increasing the bank of compositions is another way of improving on concert packaging,” said Mr. Thyagarajan.

He worked as a math lecturer for several years before joining the All India Radio in 1976. He joined Doordarshan, Chennai Kendra, before retiring as the deputy director of Doordarshan, Bengaluru Kendra, in 2003. Mr. Tharanathan, who retired as additional director from the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysuru in 2006, was a visiting professor and fellow in a German university. He has presented 180 research papers for international journals.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 11:15:11 PM |

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