Smt. Rugmini Gopalakrishnan playing the Saraswati veena
Tamil Nadu, India
Smt. Rugmini Gopalakrishnan was born in Tamil Nadu, before moving to Kerala with her family as a young girl. She is the granddaughter of Gayakashikhamani Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar. She has had over a 60 year career constituting the teaching, recording and performing of Carnatic music in India.
She began her preliminary training in music and vocal under her uncle, Sri Nellai T.V. Krishnamoorthy, prior to receiving the Government of India Cultural Scholarship to undertake deeper studies in Carnatic music on the Saraswati veena with Padma Bhushan K. S. Narayanaswamy. In 1954, at the age of 17, Rugmini won the President's Award from the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, at the first All India Radio (AIR) Competition for Veena. At 18 years of age, she served as Professor and Head of the Department of Music in the Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from 1957 to 1986. She went on to serve as Principal at Chembai Memorial Government Music College in Palakkad from 1987 to 1990.
She is a member of the Board of Studies at University of Calicut and a Member of the Audition Board of All India Radio for Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram, and the author of several Indian government commissioned books and essays on Carnatic music in the Tamil and Malayalam languages. She has been given the title A-Top Grade Artist with All India Radio, a station that has been broadcasting her recurrent veena recitals for over 60 years, and gives performances regularly on the national Indian television channel Doordarshan.
Smt. Rugmini Gopalakrishnan continues to privately teach at her home in Thiruvananthapuram as well as lecture and demonstrate veena at music conservatories, receiving many honours and awards for her musicianship and gives veena concerts at Carnatic music festivals and Hindu temples throughout India.
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- The President's Award from the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad at the first AIR Competition for Veena, 1954.
- Chembai Memorial Award, 2000
- A Recognition of Honour by Sri Chirthira Thirunal Smaraka Sangeetha Natya Kala Kendram on the occasion of The 89th Chirthira Thirunal Jayanthi Celebration held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 2001.
- V. Sarasamma Award Navarasam Sangeetha Sabha, 2006
- Received the title Sangeetha Ratna given by Adhi Sankara Veda Vedanga Samskritha Co-operative Educational Society, 2006
- Jury member in the First Swaralaya Yeshudas Award Committee, Kairali, 2001
- Recognition of Honour with ponnada by Honorable Minister for Co-operation, Shri M.V. Raghavan, on the Jayanthi Celebrations conducted Sri Chirthira Thirunal Smaraka Sangeetha Natya Kala Kendram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 2001
- Honoured by Padmashree K.J. Yesudas in the Soorya Festival Guru Puja, on the inaugural function held at Thiruvananthapuram, 2005
- Honoured by the All Kerala Brahmins Association (Women’s Wing) on International Women’s Day for contributions rendered towards music
- Honoured at the Padma Bhushan Mavelikkara Krishnakutty Nair Day Celebrations for meritorious service for the cause of music
- Honoured by Sangeetha Natak Academy Kerala at the Guru Puja, 2008
- Received the title Sangita Shastragnya and given a gold medal by the New Delhi Bharat Veenalaya Foundation in October, 2013
Radio and television
- Bestowed the title A-Top Grade Artist by All India Radio
- Giving regular concerts on All India Radio from 1953–present
- Performed veena concert at National Program of Music and National Channel of Music in the years 1982, 2009
- Doordarshan Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram
- Doordarshan Kendra, Chennai
- “Suprabhath” Doordarshan National Relay
- “South Zone Program”, Doordarshan, Thiruvananthapuram
- “Swara Sudha”, Surya TV
- Nadalayam: a tribute to Gayakashikamani Dr. L. Muthiah Bhagavatar