Padmavibhushan Dr. M. Balamurli Krishna
This article is an admixture of an article from The Hindu and few articles appeared on rec.music.indian.classical. ``Music resembles poetry; in each are numerous graces which no methods can teach and which a mastermind alone reach''.
Balamurali Krishna , the celebrated Carnatic musician and vaaggEyakaara of this century is one such musical genius. He has an appeal of his own in the international arena and both the commoner as well as the connoisseur are swayed by the variety of his music and his melodious voice.
Born on July 6, 1930 at Sankaraguptam (a small hamlet in Rajolu Taluk, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh) to Mangalampalli Pattabhiramayya and Suryakanthamma, Murali Krishna inherited the musical traits of his parents. Pattabhiramayya was a famous flutist and a music teacher and Suryakanthama a notable veena artiste. Suryakanthamma died when Balamurali was a 15 day old baby. From then on he was brought up by his maternal aunt Subbamma. When he was just two years old, Pattabhiramayya brought him to Vijayawada. At this very young age, he imbibed the nuances of music when his father taught his disciples.
Encouraged by this Pattabhiramayya entrusted him to `Gayaka Sarvabhauma' Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu under whose competent tuteleage Murali Krishna reached the pinnacle of fame in the field of music. In the order of Guru Parampara, the musician is directly the fifth in the line of disciples of saint Tyagaraja. Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, Susarla Dakshinamoorthy Sastry, Akumadugula Manambuchavadi Venkata Subbayya and Saint Tyagaraja.
At the age of eight during the Sadguru Arandhanotsavas (felicitation to Parupalli Ramakrishnayya's guru Susarla Dakshinamoorthy) at Vijayawada, in 1938 where he gave his first full-fledged performance. Balamurali's talent came to the fore. Captivated by his pleasant disposition, it was Musunuri Satyanarayana a distinguished Hari katha performer who gave the prefix ``Bala'' to the young Murali Krishna. Due to his continuous concerts, Pattabhiramayya was persuaded by his friends to let Balamurali dedicate himself completely to music and he stopped attending school when he was in class VI. From then Balamurali Krishna took the world by storm with his mellifluous voice and did not whither away like many other child prodigies. Very soon he proved his versatility by playing kanjira, mridangam, viola and violin and the public flocked to hear his concerts.
Balamurali Krishna wrote a detailed work on the 72 Janakaraga or Melakarta (basic scales of music) scheme at he the tender age of 14. These compositions were accepted by the music circles also because they were more elaborate than that of the earlier writer Venkatamakhin, a versatile genius of the Nayak regime.
Balamurali Krishna served as a music Producer at Vijayawada, Hyderabad and the Madras All India Radio Stations. In this capacity, he pioneered the early hour devotional renderings in India under the title `Bhakthi Ranjani'. He also acted as the first Principal of the Government Music College at Vijayawada. After his transfer to Madras All India Radio he settled in Madras in order to devote his attention to innovation and creative compositions.
Balamurali Krishna has been invited to give concerts by countries U.S., Canada, U.K., Italy, France, Russia, Srilanka, Malaysia, Singapore, the U.K., Middle East etc. He has given more than 18,000 performance throughout the world and has created a world record by 250 audio cassettes brought out by the Sangeetha Recording Company.
Balamurali Krishna has also proved his talent as a playback singer, music director and actor in several languages. He received National Awards as the best playback singer for `Hamsageethe' (Kannada feature film), best music director for `Madhvacharya', and left an indelible imprint in the hearts of the people with his portrayal as a hero in the Malayalam film in ``Sandhya Kendina Sindooram''.
He has bagged many titles and awards ``Gana Sudhakara'', ``Sur Singar'', ``Geeta Kala Bharati'', Sangita Nataka Akademi Award Padmashri and Padma Vibushan are some of them.
He was also conferred the Ph.D., D.Sc and D.Litt by the Andhra University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Sri Venkateswara University and the University of Hyderabad respectively.
He founded "Academy of Performing Arts and Research" in Switzerland and is also working on music therapy.
Though on one side he was showered with innumerable laurels, on the other he was declared as a stormy petrel of the music world by a few due to his creations of new ragas such as Mahati, Sumukham, Sarvashri, Omkari, Janasamodini, Manorama, Rohini, Vallabhi, Lavangi, Hamsavinodini, Pratimadhyamavathi, Sushama etc.
He is often criticized as idiosyncretic. He is different, who has embarked on a new enterprise - a rediscovery of the classical music of the past and its recreation through the embracing of a neo-classical style. He is not necessarily for or against,contribute or confirm, sustain or destroy a tradition.He seem to be least perturbed with the criticisms. He has a strong conviction, right or wrong, that he is there to replace unending melody with discrete order, syncretic and synthetic forms with self-contained ones and emotional self expression with strictly musical statements. It is paradox packed, self imposed music.
He has said (though not in these words), for me, as a creative musician, composition is a daily function that I feel compelled to discharge. I compose because, I am made for that and cannot do otherwise. I stumble upon something unexpected. This unexpected element strikes me. I make a note of it. At the proper time, I put it to profitable use.
He does not believe in the pristine principles of the past, but has supreme confidence in the practical purview of the present. He is a paradox for the puritan, a bore for the conservative and an avathara for the neoclassicist.
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