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Chowdiah T

Chowdiah T


About this album

'It is a feature of a violinist's career to burst abruptly into view', Menuhin has said. This is very true of ace violinist, Shri T.Chowdiah. His uncle then took him to learn music under the veteran musician, Sri Bidaram Krishnappa of Mysore. Their association lasted for about 20 years, during which Chowdiah progressed from discipleship to accompanist. Ari Krishnappa was a vocalist with a strong voice. At Tiruvaduthurai the great violin maestro Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer accompanied him in a concert, a tribute to his music.

Sri Chowdiah was a very painstaking sishya and mastered on the violin, ragas, kritis, swaras etc. When he made mistakes his guru used to chastise him, though he loved this sishya deep in his heart. All this rigorous training enabled Chowdiah to become a nature and full-fledged violinist.

In the second and third decades of this century, Chowdiah came to notice the lowering of Adhara Shruti by vocalists. Amplification was not known then. The accompanist was therefore at a disadvantage, as his violin sound did not carry well and far enough to the audience. This set Chowdiah's active mind working on a method of rectifying the handicap. With the aid of a craftsman, he was able to fashion a seven-stringed violin, the sounds from which were agreeable and voluminous. Mysore Asthana Vidvan Seshanna is reported to have been greatly impressed by it. Handling such a complex stringed instrument, however, needed skill to tailor it to Carnatic music. Chowdiah showed the way, which was later followed by his disciples C.R.Mani, the late Sethuramaiah and others.

Chowdiah was a powerful and popular violinist for many decades. He was called upon to accompany veterans like Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavather, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Alathur Brothers, G.N.B., Musiri Subramania Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Madurai Mani Iyer, Percussionists like Dakishinamoorthy, Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subramanya Pillai were fellow-accompanists to him in dozens of concerts.

Sri Chowdiah became Mysore Asthana Vidvan in 1939. The Music Academy, Madras conferred the title of 'Sangitha Kalanidhi' in 1957 on him. He was also known to give solo violin concerts along with Gururajappa, C.R.Mani, Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar etc.

His wide-ranging accomplishments included his own inspired compositions like kritis, thillanas etc. Two of them, played by himself, are recorded here. Sri Chowdiah was a versatile sincere artist whose name came to mean lovely gorgeous sound on the violin and has given him a niche in the annals of the violin.


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