Saturday, December 31, 2016

MSG - The Unforgettable Violinist


M.S. Gopalakrishnan, aka MSG, (10 June 1931 – 3 January 2013) 
M.S. Gopalakrishnan (popularly known as MSG) was born on 10th June 1931. MSG learnt from his father, late Professor Parur Sundaram Iyer, the famous violinist who was an authority on the two systems of Indian Classical Music i.e. North Indian (Hindustani) and South Indian (Carnatic) systems. MSG learnt both systems from his father and gave his first performance along with his father at age of eight. A top ranking violinist, outstanding soloist and accompanist, MSG captivated  the audience  in the music arena for over fifty years playing both Hindustani and Carnatic Music. MSG had done vast research on violin playing techniques. He is presiding persona of a new unique style called the "Parur style". He is always been  a versatile violin artist famous for playing melodies, speed, special fingering technique, and bowing technique. His violin tonal quality has always been clear, and audience  could clearly hear the swarams thus making it more melodious. He  won numerous awards including the Padma Sri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award.

M.S.Gopalakrishnan,  a legendary artist who broke the frontiers of his acumen and acclaim beyond the confines of Carnatic to wider acceptance by audiences all over the country and won international recognition for themselves. As for M.S. Gopalakrishnan, he gave early evidence of making his bow as a violinist and thus had the benefit of expert guidance from his father who was the Professor of Music at the University of Bombay. This in itself proved a providential circumstance as it helped to build a bridge of understanding between Carnatic and Hindustani sangeet paddhatis during his impressionable years from six to sixteen.

When young M.S. G
opalakrishnan blazed upon the musical horizon like a meteor, his brilliance dazzled even maestros of Hindustani music like Pt  Paluskar who readily accepted the young virtuoso as an accompanist. With a baptism such as this, M.S.G never looked back. With the crystal-clear tonal purity of his Carnatic lineage and the emotional impact of the 'Shruti-Bhaav' insight of the Hindustani gayaki mode, he evolved a unique style of his own which imparts more depth and dimension to ragas than hitherto expressed through instrumental music. Through relentless researches and riyaaz M.S.G innovated newer techniques on his violin such as one-finger playing, thematic development on single-string octaves to make his violin a more expressive medium.

With artistry such as this at his fingertips, no less a violin virtuoso than the internationally acclaimed Yehudi Menuhin exclaimed, 'I have not heard such violin in all my travels!'. How superbly this young Indian is playing our instrument'. Coming from Yehudi Menuhin, this should be construed as the highest compliment. Whether he is playing a 'Kriti' of Shree Thyagaraja for the rasikas of Carnatic music or a Masitkhani gat for lovers of Hindustani music, M.S. Gopalakrishnan and his audiences share a rapport which 
 the key of his popularity the world over. 

The legend astounded an audience in Holland by playing a small piece of Beethoven. To an artist of such boundless genius, all the world is a stage - and the sky is not the limit. Once Yehudi Menuhin heard M.S.G play the Kalyani ata varnam using only one string with so much fervour and impressed by it, mentioned everywhere about "a man who played in the G string '(with one finger)', whose name also starts with the letter G".

M.S.Gopalakrishnan toured all over the world including countries like USA, UK, Holland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and Hongkong.

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