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April 27, 1918|
Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India
|Died||October 22, 1994
Handel Manuel (April 27, 1918 – October 22, 1994) was an Indian pianist, organist, conductor, composer and accompanist. He helped to make western classical music popular in Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Handel Manuel was born in Tuticorin, India, on April 27, 1918, and was named after the composer Handel. He was educated at the Madras Christian College, but he did not study music there. He was a self-taught composer.
At the age of 23 Manuel became the first Indian conductor of the Madras Musical Association. He also served for over 50 years as the organist and choirmaster at St Andrew's Church, Chennai (known as The Kirk) and was the founder director of the Madras Philharmonic and Choral Society.
Handel Manuel worked as a music teacher in C.S.I Bain's School towards the end of his career. Handel Manuel was the person who wrote and augumented the western musical notes for National Anthem of India. He was the Station Director Western Music of All India Radio, Madras which is known as A.I.R. and he was in charge of Children's programme. His son was Vijay Manuel who played the Key Board for Ilayaraja, Film Music Composer and Director.
He died on October 22, 1994.
Honours and awards
- He is the only Indian to be invited to the International Tchaikovsky Competition held in Moscow.
- He was elected Honorary Life Member of the Royal School of Church Music, London.
- He was appointed Producer Emeritus, All India Radio.
- He was awarded the Padmashri in 1983.
- He was also awarded the For The Sake of Honour award from Rotary.
- Alan Hovhaness, the American composer, dedicated two pieces to Manuel: the "Arjuna" Symphony and an Organ Sonata.
At the request of several choristers who had sung under Manuel, Sharada and Surender Schaffter founded the Handel Manuel Chorus in 2003. Surender is the younger brother of Handel Manuel. This non-denominational choir has thirty members and specializes mostly in church music of the Baroque and Classical periods. They have performed at Egmore Wesley, St George's Cathedral, the Emmanuel Methodist Church and St.Andrew's Church, Bangalore.
His son, Viju Manuel has been acknowledged as the best pianist and bass player in India and has performed for over forty years consistently for acclaimed Indian composer Ilaiyaraaja. Viju Manuel died in August 2015.