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|Formation||18 August 1928|
|Founder||E. Krishna Iyer, U. Rama Rao, Basheer Ahmed Sayeed|
|Purpose||Music, dance and arts education|
|Headquarters||Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018, India|
Madras Music Academy is one of the earliest established music academies in South India. Before the concept of infrastructure was introduced to India in the early 1920s, it was a gathering for elite musicians simply called (and is still more commonly referred to as) Music Academy (Tamil : சங்கீத வித்வத் சபை, sangeetha vidhwadh sabai ? ) It plays an important role in encouraging and promoting primarily the Carnatic Music Indian art form. It played a vital role in the revival of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatnatyam in the 1930s when it faced near extinction due to a negative connotation caused by conservative societal standards.
They also run a music school called the Teachers college of Carnatic Music which has many eminent musicians on its faculty. Musicians such as Tiger Varadachariar, Appa Iyer, Valadi Krishnaiyer and Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer adorned the chair of Principal of the Teacher's College.
In 1927, the Indian National Congress held the All India Music Conference in Madras. At the end of the conference it was decided that an organisation be formed that helped the cause of music. The prime reason for this conference was E. Krishna Iyer who had played a vital role in reviving the south Indian dance art form—Bharatanatyam.
The Academy was formally inaugurated on 18 August 1928 by C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, in the Y.M.I.A. Auditorium before a large and distinguished gathering.
Annual music conferences are held every December to collect all information regarding music, maintain the library and publish a journal. They also help to bring to public notice aspiring musicians and scholars by conducting competitions and other presentations.
For a decade, E. Krishna Iyer worked as the Secretary of the Madras Music Academy. The first Music Festival was held in December 1927 which is before the inauguration of the Music Academy. Since then, it had become a part of the Madras Music Academy's Activities to conduct several expositions and concerts on Carnatic Music every December. This later came to be popularly known as the Margazhi Season or is even referred to as the Music Season amongst Carnatic enthusiasts. This soon became the norm for all sabhas in Madras to conduct several concerts each day during the season. There were several sabhas before the formation of the Music Academy like the Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Triplicane which was formed as early as 1900. However, it was the Madras Music Academy that set the trend of conducting the music festival during December.
Dr U. Rama Rao was the founder President of the Academy and Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, the founder Vice-President. There have been six others in that post. The present President is Sri N. Murali. Before the present building (T. T. Krishnamachari Auditorium) was constructed, the annual conferences and programmes were held in various locations around the city.
During the first few years, the Academy conducted its activities provisionally in George Town and later moved to Mylapore. In 1955, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the music academy building that exists today on TTK Road in Mylapore. It was inaugurated on 20 December 1962 by Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur, the then Governor of Madras.
There are two buildings for the Music Academy:
The T.T. Krishnamachari Hall is the first building that was built in 1955. It has a seating capacity of 1600.
The Kasturi Srinivasan Hall was built in 1982. It houses a small auditorium for conferences and concerts, a library, a committee room and a recording and demonstration room. It was here that T. N. Rajarathnam Pillai's tapes and audio CDs were produced. Kasturi Srinivasan's nephew's son, N. Murali, the Joint Managing Director of The Hindu, is the current President of the Academy.
Music Academy received a donation of Rs. 1,00,000 from late Sri. S. Visvanathan in memory of Sri. K. R. Sundaram Iyer for the improvement of library activities. The library is now named as Sri K. R. Sundaram Iyer Memorial Library. It has rare books, manuscripts and tape recordings of the proceedings of the Expert Committee sessions. The students of the Teacher's College of Music, members, music students and research scholars. Books on both music and other general subjects donated by the families of late Prof. P. Sambamoorthy, Sangita Vidvan K. C. Thyagarajan, Dr. V. Raghavan, Mr. Venkatakrishnan, Dr. S. R. Janakiraman and other individuals.
Sangeetha Kalanidhi or Sangita Kalanidhi is the title awarded yearly to a Carnatic musician by the Madras Music Academy.
Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, popularly known as Ariyakudi, was a Carnatic music vocalist, born in Ariyakudi, a town in the present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Ariyakudi developed a unique style of singing which came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students. He is credited with establishing the modern katcheri (concert) traditions in Carnatic music.
Chennai Music Season is an event hosted every Mid November–January in Chennai Tamil Nadu. Spanning some 9 weeks, it comprises top-flight professional and amateur musicians. The traditional role of the Music Season is to allow aficionados of Carnatic music to appreciate performances by renowned artists, and to allow promising young artists to display their talent and skill. Audiences and artists come from across India and her diaspora to enjoy the season.
Dr. Natesan Ramani, commonly known as N. Ramani or N. Flute Ramani, was an Indian Carnatic flautist. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1996. Ramani is also credited with introducing the long flute into Carnatic music.
Avasarala Kanyakumari is a violinist from South India who specializes in Carnatic music.
Sudha Ragunathan is an Indian Carnatic vocalist, singer and composer. She was conferred the Kalaimamani award by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1994, Padma Shri (2004) and Padma Bhushan (2015) by the Government of India.
Chittoor Subramanyam was an Indian carnatic musician.
M.S. Gopalakrishnan, a.k.a. MSG, was a violinist in the field of Carnatic music. He is commonly grouped with Lalgudi Jayaraman and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1997. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.
S. Sowmya is a Carnatic music singer. She learnt music initially from her father Dr. Srinivasan, and later from Dr. S. Ramanathan and Smt.T. Muktha. In 1998, Sowmya co-founded Carnatica - an institution dedicated to classical music & dance instruction, archival, talent search and other related activities. She also co-authored the first comprehensive reference CD-ROM on Carnatic music, Nadanubhava. She is a visiting professor at the Advanced School of Carnatic Music of the Music Academy Madras and a member of the academic council of the Tamil Nadu Music & Fine Arts University. She was also a member of the Governing Body of the Kalakshetra Foundation.
Dr. Umayalpuram Kasiviswanatha Sivaraman is a Carnatic mridanga vidwan. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2001. He is the son of Sri P. Kasiviswanatha Iyer and Srimati Kamalambal. His father was a medical doctor by profession but encouraged his musical pursuits. He is married to Abhirami Sivaraman and has two sons S.Swaminathan and S.Sivakumar. Both his sons are married and his daughters-in-law are Shanthi Swaminathan, Shashi Sivakumar. He has 2 grandsons Vignesh Swaminathan, Aditya Swaminathan and a granddaughter Aparna Sivakumar.
Palghat R. Raghu was a Carnatic musician and percussionist. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2007.
Chingleput Ranganathan was a classical Carnatic vocalist and Guru.
The Bombay sisters, C. Saroja and C. Lalitha, are a Carnatic music singing duo.
K. S. Narayanaswamy, was a Carnatic veena exponent of the Thanjavur style, in which nuances and subtleties are given more importance over rhythm based acrobatics. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1979.
The Rudrapatnam Brothers are an Indian Carnatic vocal duo, consisting of brothers R. N. Thyagarajan and Dr. R. N. Tharanathan. The brothers come from a family of musicians from Rudrapatna village off the Kaveri banks in Arkalgud Thaluk of Hassan district in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka. Vocalist Tiger Varadachariar, on seeing the musical atmosphere there, once claimed that "Rudrapatnam is the Thanjavur of Karnataka". Music, Veda adhyayana, and studying Sanskrit were integral parts of their family tradition.
Vellore G. Ramabhadran was a Mridangam artiste from Tamil Nadu, India. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2004.
Mani Krishnaswami, was a Carnatic music Vocalist of Tamil Nadu, India.
B. Rajam Iyer was a Carnatic singer from South India. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1987.
Mudikondan Venkatarama Iyer was a South Indian Carnatic music singer and musicologist. He was also known as Mudikondan - the name of his native village.
T. K. Govindarao was the first Malayali film musician and a Carnatic musician.