Written by Dr. Suma Sudhindra on 04 September 2020
At every stage of life we all need inspiration to make our lives more meaningful and enriching. In the field of Karnatic music, our constant inspiration is T Chowdiah.
T Chowdaiah, was fearless in his approach to music and was hugely appreciated for the prowess with which he accompanied every great musician of his time. His presence in the Karnatic music circle was larger than life and he left an indelible mark on artists and art lovers alike. His dedicated practice, a sound knowledge of music combined with courage and conviction established him as one of the greats.
His lasting contribution, the 7 stringed violin created a special place for him in music history. In the 20th century, concerts were mostly in temples and outdoor venues, sound systems being nascent at best. The 7 stringed Violin naturally amplified the sound allowing the audience to better hear and enjoy the music. His 50 original compositions have put him in the league of composers who followed the great trinities of Karnatic music.
In 1980, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, a violin shaped auditorium was built in his honour. This was the first time in Karnatic musics' history that a concert space was dedicated to a musician, such was his impact and contribution. An iconic landmark, Chowdiah Memorial Hall continues be a much sought after cultural space.
As the former President of Chowdiah Memorial Hall and Trustee at Indian Music Experience, it gives me great joy to see these two institutions collaborate and digitise the valuable work of T.Chowdiah. Manasi Prasad and team have done a fabulous job of compiling and soulfully presenting his compositions. It makes his great body of work immortal and accessible to music lovers globally. I hope that artists, music connoisseurs and students benefit greatly from this archival work.