N. Ravikiran

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Ravikiran (center) playing the navachitravina in a concert in Seattle, USA. Also shown are (left to right) Guruvayur Dorai, mridangam; Ravi Balasubramanian, ghatam; and Akkarai Subbalakshmi, violin.

Chitravina N. Ravikiran (born February 12, 1967) Mysore, Karnataka, India, is one of India's most celebrated musicians today. A slide instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, guru, author & orator, he is also the creator of the innovator of the concept Melharmony[1] in world music. He is the grandson of famous musician Gotuvadyam Narayana Iyengar.[2]

Prodigy[edit]

Hailed as the Mozart of Indian Music, Ravikiran made his first appearance at the age of two [3] in April 1969. Soon after that he was presented in The Madras Music Academy, Krishna Ghana Sabha he was able to identify and render about 325 ragas (melodic scales) and 175 talas (rhythmic cycles) of Carnatic music. He was quizzed by legendary musicians including Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Pandit Ravi Shankar, M S Subbulakshmi and Flute T R Mahalingam.

Ravikiran trained extensively under his father, Chitravina Narasimhan.[4] He debuted as a vocalist in 1972, at Coimbatore at the age of five.[5] At the age of 10, he switched over to the 21-stringed chitravina and gave his maiden chitravina concert at age 11. He established himself as a frontline Indian string instrumentalist within the next 3 years with recitals in front-line venues and festivals including a 24-hour non-stop solo concert in July 1985 in Chennai. From 1986-96, Ravikiran had the rare distinction of training under the celebrated vocalist T.Brinda, widely acknowledged as a musicians' musician, which added a whole new dimension to his perception of the microscopic nuances of music.

Composer and Director[edit]

Ravikiran has over 600 classical Indian compositions to his credit and is the only Indian composer to have created pieces in each of the 35-talas of Carnatic Music. His pieces combine innovative traditionalism, inventive rhythms and often interesting lyrics and themes. He has also created music for Western Classical Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Orchestras, String Quartets as well as Caprices for solo violins. He has actively collaborated with top world artistes including Taj Mahal, Glen Velez, Larry Coryell and orchestras such as BBC Philharmonic and Sacramento Symphony.[6]

Operatic dance creations of Ravikiran's include Lakshmi Prabhavam, Savithri, Vinayaka Vaibhavam, Ramayana (Bala Kandam and Yuddha Kandam) and Panchakriya. He has also scored music for cross-cultural dance productions such as Cosmos" & "Pushed to the Edge and directed the course of dance project "Divine Equations" with Dr Vyjayantimala Bali and Natya Dance Company, Chicago, based on Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi's compositions.

Guru and Educationalist[edit]

Ravikiran has trained and presented numerous performing disciples. He pioneered the innovative method of tele-teaching in 1996. He is the first guru in world music to have used the Flip teaching method through well-structured syllabuses online, with video lessons in the music education website Acharyanet.com.

Ravikiran conducted a special music camp for over 31,000 students in Tamil Nadu, India and provided syllabuses for Music Education in Schools in India for Grades I - VIII. He has also introduced Indian music through Melharmonic creations for Middle and High School level orchestras in School Districts in USA such as Middleton, WI. [7]

Author and Orator[edit]

Ravikiran is the author of several books such as, Appreciating Carnatic Music, Perfecting Carnatic Music Level I and II and Life and Contributions of Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi. He is also the founder of the International Foundation for Carnatic Music.

A fluent and witty orator, Ravikiran has lectured extensively across the world on music and allied subjects and presented significant papers in conferences including The Society for Music Theory Conference, The India-Amsterdam Conference and The Music Academy Conference, Madras.

Select Compositions[edit]

Composition Raga Remarks
Adi Vinayakam Reetigowla Varnam - Part of Vinayaka Vaibhavam
Sami ninne Sahana Varnam
Sarigamadana Vasantabhairavi Varnam
Punnagai azhahil Surati Pada Varnam for music & dance
Kuzhaloodi konjidum Mohanam Pada Varnam for music & dance
Sada sharanam Gowrimanohari Krti on Vinayaka
Sakaleshwara Hamsadhvani Krti on Vinayaka
Sada nin paadame Chakravakam Krti with only descending note-phrases
Sharavanabhava Bilahari Krti on Shanmukha
Rasikapriya Rasikapriya Krti on Devi
72 Mela Ragamalika Geetam Ragamalika Class & Concert level - 73 ragas in 7 mts
Bhasha malika krti Ragamalika In 5 languages - Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada & Hindi - Opera Ramayana
Saadaramutonu Shankarabharanam Thematic Swarakshara krti (Every line begins with S,D - R,D - G,D - M,D etc)
Sadaa dayato Hindolam Thematic Swarakshara krti using SD,- GD,- MD, etc and SM,- GM,- DM, etc)
Sari samana Keshavapriya Krti - raga discovered by Ravikiran
Aashai niraiveridave Ragamalika Folksy critique on human nature
Aaraadhanai sheivaradi Ragamalika Feisty critique on posthumous reverence
Unmai unarndor Ragamalika Philosophical rumination
Vidhiyin vindai Bhoopalam On destiny
Unnai naadi Saveri Padam for music & dance
Varuvai muraha Begada Javali for music & dance
Moha mataladi Vasanta Javali for music & dance
Pancha raga-tala-jati tillana Ragamalika Pallavi, Anupallavi & 3 charanams & reversing raga-tala sequence
Tarikita Khamach Tillana in Chaturashra Tishra style - Opera Ramayana
Takajham tajham Athana Dwigati Tillana (Tishram & Chaturashram) in every line
Tattom tattom Kalyanavasantam Tillana - charanam lyrics alliterate on 'va' to beat
Tamarasakshamunu Behag Varnam-Interesting plays on swaraksharam in charanam

Awards[edit]

Ravikiran is one of the most decorated artistes from India at the International, National, State and artistic levels. In most cases, he has been the first or youngest to have received such recognition, including a Fellowship from The Madras Music Academy at age two.

International Level:

· Millennium Festival Award (Millennium Commission, Government of UK) - 2000
- Best Contemporary World Album (New Age Voice Awards, USA) - 2001
- Citation from City of Houston, USA
- Citation from City of Tulsa, USA

National & State Level:

- President of India's Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - 2007
· Star of India Award (Wisdom International) - 1985
- Sanskriti Award (Sanskriti Foundation) - 1990
- Kalaimamani (Tamil Nadu State Award) - 1985
- Kumar Gandharva Samman (Madhya Pradesh State Award) - 1996

Artistic:

· Arul Isai Selvan - 1973
- Music Academy Senior Awards - several, since 1979
- Lion's International Award - 1979
- Nada Sudharnava - 1980
- Tantri Gana Visharada - 1983
- Sangeet Samraat (Wisdom International) - 1985
- Rotary Vocational Award - 1985
- Madhura Naada Mannar - 1986
- Isai Peroli (Kartik Fine Arts) - 1991
- Sangeeta Choodamani (Krishna Gana Sabha) - 1995
- Chitravina Vidya Varidhi (Yarl Society, Perth, Australia) - 1996
- Kumar Gandharva Award (Kumar Gandharva Foundation, Bombay) - 2000
- Vadya Ratnakara (India Fine Arts, Austin, TX), 2002
- Lifetime Achievement Award (Kanchi Foundation, India), 2003
- Harvard Sangeet Award (Harvard University, USA), 2005
- TTK Award (Music Academy, Madras, India), 2003
- Sangeeta Sapta Saagara (Shanti Fine Arts, Chennai, India), 2005
- Nalli Season Award (Nalli Foundation, Chennai, India), 2006
- Ragalaya Sagara by Ragalaya Foundation, London, Jan 2008
- Sangeeta Ratnakara, Cleveland, USA, 2010
- Rotary Lifetime Award, July 2011

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]