Legendary violinist T N Krishnan died in Chennai on Monday evening. He was 92.
Although Krishnan was in good health, he had a “sudden uneasiness” in the evening and passed away, said Ramanathan Iyer, a Chennai-based music lover and organiser of musical events. Iyer, who was close to Krishnan’s family, said they had celebrated his birthday last month. “He was healthy. Even in the recent days, he was watching videos of rasikas and his disciples wishing him a happy birthday,” Iyer said.
Born in 1928 in Tripunithura in Kerala, Krishnan started as a child prodigy and went on to perform with legends from several generations. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Alathur Brothers, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, MD Ramanathan and Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer were among those whom Krishnan accompanied in performances.
He had been living in Chennai since 1942. “There was nobody who could match his experience, he was lucky to play with every legend since the 1940s. His was a remarkable life,” said Iyer.
For music lovers in Chennai, Krishnan’s demise is a huge loss, as they would wait for not only his classical concerts but also for a mandatory annual Christmas performance. To the surprise of many puritans in Chennai, the morning slot of Chennai Music Academy was booked by default for Krishnan’s Christmas performance on every Christmas mornings for several years, where he used to play “Wish you a merry Christmas” and “Jingle bells, Jingle Bells” before a packed audience. After his death, his fans were seen sharing videos of his Christmas performance, remembering the legend.
Here is a small snippet of the 2019 Christmas concert.
— Aravindan Sudarsan (@Aravindan_Sud) November 2, 2020
Besides having a number of prominent violinists as disciples — who would recall him as a Guru who was kind enough to ensure career opportunities came their way — Krishnan also had an academic stint. He taught at the Chennai Music College and later held the position of Dean at the School of Music and Fine Arts of the University of Delhi.
He was also honoured with many titles and awards, including Sangeetha Kalanidhi, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.
Krishnan is survived by his wife Kamala, daughter Viji and son Sriram. Both his children are violinists.
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