Violin maestro Kunnakudi R. Vaidyanathan dead

September 9th, 2008 - 10:54 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 9 (IANS) Violin maestro in south Indian classical music Kunnakudi R. Vaidyanathan died here Monday night, family sources said.Vaidyanathan, 73, succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest. He had been admitted in a private hospital for a heart ailment a few days ago.

The maestro was known for producing offbeat sounds from the violin. Vaidyanathan was awarded the Padma Shri by the government in 2005.

Born in 1935 as the youngest of four children in Kunnakudi in modern day Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu, the musician made his hometown famous.

Vaidyanathan’s father Ramaswamy Sastri, a great exponent of south Indian classical music, was his first guru, who not only taught him the nuances of music but also finer points of Hindu Vedic scriptures.

Vaidyanathan took up the violin at the age of nine when the accompanist in his elder sisters’ music troupe did not turn up for a concert.

Within three years, the young Vaidyanathan was adept enough in his vocation to become the accompanist to one of the top vocalists of the day - Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar.

Soon, he was playing the ideal foil to famous musicians of the period such as Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.

By 1976, Vaidyanathan had carved a niche for himself with his violin skills and became a lead performer in classical recitals.

Such was his dexterity with the instrument that he could produce offbeat sounds of Vedic mantras with the violin at Carnatic concerts.

Vaidyanathan scored music for several Tamil hit movies including those starring the late M.G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganeshan. He also performed small cameos for several films including the 2005 Vikram starrer “Anniyan”.

Almost till his last days, Vaidyanathan was a much sought after musician and he performed alongside modern day masters such as Allah Rakha and Zakir Hussain.

Vaidyanathan is survived by his wife and two daughters. His funeral will be held later Tuesday.

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