T. Viswanathan

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This article is about the musician. For other meanings including the other musician, see Viswanathan.

Tanjore Viswanathan (b. Madras, India, August 13, 1927; d. Hartford, Connecticut, United States, September 10, 2002) was a Carnatic musician specializing in the Carnatic flute and voice. His brother was the mridangam player T. Ranganathan (1925–1987).[1]

He first came to the United States in 1958 on a Fulbright fellowship, studying ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1958 to 1960, and later teaching there. He was Head of the Department of Music at the University of Madras from 1961 to 1965. He also taught at California Institute of the Arts. Following the earning of his Ph.D. from Wesleyan University in 1975, he taught at that university for many years. Among his best known students were Anuradha Sriram, T.R. Moorthy, Jon B. Higgins, Douglas Knight and David Nelson.

Viswanathan and Ranganathan recorded the music for the Satyajit Ray documentary film Bala (1976), about their sister, the bharatanatyam dancer Balasaraswati.

In 1988, Viswanathan was awarded the title Sangeetha Kalanidhi by the Music Academy, Madras. In 1992 he became the first Indian musician to be awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, of the government of the United States.[2]

He died of a heart attack on September 10, 2002.

In 2004, Oxford University Press USA published a book co-authored by T. Viswanathan and Matthew Harp Allen, entitled Music in South India: The Karnatak Concert Tradition and Beyond, from the series Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture.[3]


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