T. K. Murthy
|T. K. Murthy|
|Also known as||TKM, Chittu, Krishna Murthy|
|Born||13 August 1924|
|Website||T K Murthy|
T.K.Murthy was born on 13 August 1924 to Thanu Bhagavathar and Annapoorani. At the age of eight, without any training murthy started playing mridangam. When the doyen of mridangam Tanjore Vaidyanatha Iyer visited his place, he found murthy playing the instrument without any training. So vaidyanatha iyer decided to train him more on mridangam. Vaidyanatha Iyer, took Murthy to Tanjore, where Palghat Mani Iyer and Thambuswami, brother of T. M. Thiagarajan, were also undergoing training. Murthy, was more than a biological son, to his Guru Vaidyanatha Iyer and his wife. They showered love and care on him. Thus, Murthy found his mentor in Vaidyanatha Iyer, to whom he still offers ceremonial oblations and rites as a true son.
TKM's family were full of court musicians and he was the fifth generation. The family had been in music continuously for 7 generations now. His son T.K.Jayraman was a music composer at All India Radio and grandson Karthikeya Murthy is a film music composer. 
Murthy made his debut at the age of eleven, at Coimbatore in a concert of Musiri Subramania Iyer with Karur Chinnaswami Iyer on violin and Tanjore Vaidyanatha Iyer on mridangam. That was the start of an illustrious career in which he accompanied in more than 15,000 concerts so far. He has accompanied eminent artists over five generations, including Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bagavathar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Madurai Somasundaram, D. K. Jayaraman, M. Balamuralikrishna, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Lalgudi Jayaraman, T. V. Sankaranarayanan, Mandolin U. Srinivas and others.Although murthy is a staunch follower of the Thanjavur style of Mridangam,he was highly influenced by the artistry of the legendary Palani Subramaniam Pillai of the Pudukottai school of mridangam playing. This blend of the Thanjavur and Pudukottai schools has become the hallmark of T.K.Murthy's special style. His style also incorporates highly calculative patterns delivered with a striking clarity and suddenness.
He has the unique achievement of accompanying five generations of guru-sishya parampara, FROM Muthiah Bhagavatar, Ramanathapuram C. S. Sankarsivam, T. N. Seshagopalan, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Sriram Parthasarathy. He also has the distinction of having given accompaniment to Smt M.S.Subbulakshmi for more than forty years including the concerts at United Nations and Edinburgh Festival. His versatility is such that he played for street drama, puppet show, Barathanatyam, etc., sings well in Carnatic and Hindustani styles, plays Ghatam, Kanjira and other percussion instruments with ease. He is a master in Konnakol as well. He is the only Artiste in the world to have composed and played Mohra and Korvai for 35 Talas, 72 Melakartha Talas and also for 108 Talas.
He has dedicated his whole life to the world of carnatic music. Beside a mridangam player, He is an excellent teacher too. He proved the world that he is a disciple of Thanjavur vaidyanatha iyer who himself was one among the best mridangam teachers ever.He has many number of disciples who are prominent in the carnatic music field with their own right such as J.Vaidyanathan, K.P.Parameswaran, B.Sivaraman, B.C.Manjunath in Mridangam and B.S.Purushottaman, K.V.Gopalakrishnan on Khanjira etc.
Plenty of Honours and awards were bestowed on him including:-
- Laya Ratnakara from Sivananda Saraswati, Rishikesh,
- Kalaimamani from the T.N. Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram,
- Mridanga Bhoopathy from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar,
- Mridanga Bhooshanam from Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram,
- Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1987,
- Palghat Mani Iyer Award by Percussive Arts Centre, Bangalore,
- Tala Vilas Award by Sur Singar Samsad, Bombay,
- Kerala Sangeet Nataka Academy Fellowship,
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi of The Music Academy.
He was also conferred with Honorary Doctorate from Arizona University, USA. He was the Asthana Vidwan in Trivandrum Palace. He is a graded “National Artiste” of Prasar Bharathi.
His class and mastery reverberated in many countries around the world, such as Sri Lanka, Edinburgh, Rome, United Nations, USA, Germany, Paris, Geneva, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, London etc.
- "Achievement worth its weight in platinum". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 3 July 2009.
- "Anniversary fete". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 20 March 2009.
- "Zakir Hussain, Vinayak Ram praise mridangam maestro's contributions". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 10 July 2009.
- "Saying it rhythmically". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 24 July 2009.
- "Mridangam vidwan to be felicitated". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 3 July 2009.
- Video on YouTube