T. M. Krishna

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T. M. Krishna
TM Krishna.jpg
Background information
Also known as TMK
Born (1976-01-22) January 22, 1976 (age 39)
Chennai, India

Andhra Pradesh,

Genres Indian classical
Occupation(s) Singer, Teacher, Lecturer, Author
Years active 1988–present
Website http://www.tmkrishna.com

T.M. Krishna (Thodur Madabusi Krishna, born in 1976) is a Carnatic music vocalist. Hailing from a family of music connoisseurs, he was exposed to the south Indian classical music at an early age. His first concert was at the Spirit of Youth series organized by the Music Academy, Chennai (India). T.M. Krishna was born in Chennai on January 22, 1976. His father was a businessman in the automobile industry and his mother has founded several educational institutions, most recently a school for tribal children (Vidyavanam) which caters to over 300 children. www.vidyavanam.org

Krishna's mother learnt from Krishna's guru (teacher) B. Seetharama Sharma who on noticing Krishna's interest in music,started teaching him when he was six years old. Krishna had his schooling in The School, an institution founded and run by the J. Krishnamurti Foundation which has influenced his perceptions and outlook towards life, a fact mentioned by him in various interviews. He received his B.A. degree in economics from Vivekananda College,[disambiguation needed] Madras. Married to Sangeetha Sivakumar, who is also a Carnatic musician, on November 7, 1997, he has two daughters by name Arya and Anantha, and lives in Mylapore.

Early life[edit]

Krishna's mother was a carnatic music graduate, and his father T.M. Rangachari had an ear for carnatic classical music.[1] His grand uncle T.T. Krishnamachari (former Indian finance minister and an industrialist) was one of the founding members of the Madras Music Academy.[2]

After tutelage under Bhagavathula Seetharama Sharma, Krishna underwent special Ragam Thanam Pallavi grooming under Chengalpet Ranganathan. He also received advanced training from the late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer for more than seven years.

Education and Training[edit]

He began his formal training in vocal music from B. Seetharama Sarma at the age of 6. Krishna also received specialized grooming under Chengalpet Ranganathan in the complex form of Carnatic music, Ragam Tanam Pallavi. He then went on to receive advanced training from the late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer for more than seven years.

Krishna's learning years at The School - KFI, an institution run by the J. Krishnamurti Foundation of India, influenced his perceptions about a life driven by competing rivalries. He earned a Bachelors' degree in economics from Vivekananda College, Madras. But through his years at school and university, music remained central to him and before turning twenty he launched into his career as a full-time vocalist.


Krishna is known for his resonant voice and strict adherence to classicism. He is a popular young carnatic vocalist with a good knowledge [3][4]


Krishna's first concert was at the age of 12, at the Spirit of Youth series organized by The Music Academy, Madras. Since then, he has travelled widely in India and abroad and given over 2000 concerts all over the world, performing regularly in major international music festivals. He has performed at prestigious venues including the Kennedy Centre, Theatre de la Ville, The Esplanade, Sydney Opera House, Chowdiah Hall Bangalore, and The Music Academy, Madras. His global concerts include:

  • North America: In the USA and Canada, averaging 20-30 concerts on each visit during 1998, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2011. Additionally, he has travelled to the US to take part in individual performances, conferences, and productions.
  • Europe: Has rendered over 20 concerts across The United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria.
  • Middle East: Has sung at concerts regularly in Muscat, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai in the last 10 years.
  • Southeast Asia: Has performed extensively in Singapore and Malaysia as part of several music festivals including those at The Esplanade and Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society
  • Australia: Has given more than 20 concerts in Australia and New Zealand over the years.
  • Sri Lanka: At tours of the Northern Provinces organized by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, Krishna presented concerts in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Vavuniya in 2011. This was the first concert tour by an Indian Carnatic artist in the civil war-ravaged region after 30 years.


In addition to his solo performances, Krishna has collaborated with a number of artists, including other renowned Carnatic musicians, as well as artists across genres and art forms.

  • Saayujya, 2012-2013: A coming together of music and dance, Saayujya was a production in which T.M. Krishna rendered Carnatic concerts associatively with classical dance renderings by eminent Bharatanatyam exponent Priyadarsini Govind. These complementary renditions were presented at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and New Jersey in 2012. In 2013, they were presented in India in a 3-city series at the renowned National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, Chowdiah Memorial Hall Bangalore, and at the pre-eminent venue for the classical arts, The Music Academy, Madras.
  • Ustad Rashid Khan, 2012: Presented two concerts in the simultaneous and supportive system of jugalbandi or ‘twosome’ concerts with the renowned Hindustani musician Ustad Rashid Khan in Pune and Bangalore as part of major music festivals.
  • Sangeetha Sivakumar, 2008-2012: Gave numerous concerts with Sangeetha Sivakumar for the benefit of different causes and organizations.
  • Aikya, 2011: In a concert with the eminent singer Sudha Raghunathan, presented a ‘musical journey into the concept of duality’, exploring its presence at various levels.
  • Bombay Jayashri, 2007-2011: In collaboration with the distinguished vocalist Bombay Jayashri, undertook a number of concerts around the world, the first one being held at the official residence of the President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, in 2007.
  • Music in Theatre, 2010: Presented music for theatre productions of playwright and director Gowri Ramnarayan, including Rural Phantasy, Flame of the Forest, and One Day in Ashadha.
  • Samarasya - The Union, 2010: Presented by The Madras Seva Sadan on July 11th, 2010, Samarasya was a theatrical presentation of Carnatic music conceptualized by T.M. Krishna. The production explored the concept of two radically independent and absolute elements which yet must converge, across light/dark, man/woman, siva/mohini, music/rhythm, and so on.
  • Semmozhi Anthem, 2010: Lent his voice along with other eminent artists for the theme song composed as a fusion of various styles by A.R. Rahman for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010, in tribute to the Tamil language.
  • Samyukta, 2009: Rendered Carnatic music in a creative collaboration envisioned by Seher with Bombay Jayashri and Bharatanatyam exponents Leela Samson and Priyadarsini Govind at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
  • N. Vijay Siva, 2009: On two special occasions, collaborated with the distinguished vocalist Vijay Siva and presented concerts in Chennai and Bombay that conveyed two different styles in Carnatic Music as one, amalgamating the best from both.
  • Pablo Casals Festival, Prades, France, 2005: With eminent instrumentalists musicians Chitravina N. Ravikiran and Patri Satish Kumar, gave a performance of vocal music on August 1st, 2005 in an old chapel while a versatile western quartet comprising David Grimal on the violin, Georges Lambert on the flute, Michel Lethiec on the clarinet and Andre Martin on the oboe, and the well-known Catalan singer Ferran Savall, represented Catalan music.


T.M. Krishna has released over 40 albums ranging from live performances to thematic presentations.

  • Marga (HMV)
  • Live at the Music Academy – 1998 (HMV)
  • Live at the Music Academy – 1999 (HMV)
  • Thyagaraja Krithis on Deities other than Rama (HMV)
  • Mysore Vasudevacharya Krithis (HMV)
  • T. M. Krishna (Inreco)
  • T. M. Krishna's Experience (Inreco)
  • Kutchery (2 Part Album) (Charsur)
  • Swarajathi (Charsur)
  • Live at Kalarasana-2000 (Part of 9 Set) (Charsur)
  • Papanasam Sivan Krithis (Amudham)
  • Isai Amudham (Amudham)
  • Gopalakarishna Bharati Compositions (HMV)
  • Thyagaraja Krithis on Music (HMV)
  • Shrungaara (Music Today)
  • Live Concert - Season 2001 (Charsur)
  • Kshetra – Tirupathi (Charsur)
  • Ramayana (Music Today)
  • O Rangasayee - Live Concert (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Anandabhairavi (Charsur)
  • Athmanandam (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Surutti – RTP (Charsur)
  • Live Narada Gana Sabha - Season 2003 (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Vaishnava Kshetra (Charsur)
  • Four Raga Pallavi (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Madrasil Marghazhi – Chennai (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • December season concerts 2003 (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Melting Melodies (Amutham)
  • Madrasil Margazhi - Live Concert Season 2004 (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • December Season 2004 – DVD (Charsur)
  • Dashavatharam - Live Concert Release (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • December Season – Live 2005 (Charsur)
  • Madrasil Margazhi 2005 (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Krithis on Rama of Muthuswami Dikshitar (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Apara Karuna Sindhum (Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt)
  • Adbutha – Dance Music (Times Music)
  • Sadasiva Brahmendral Krithis (Sringeri Mutt)
  • Thiruppugazh (Times Music)
  • Mari Mari Ninne (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Bhakthi (Rajalakshmi Audio)
  • Panchabhuta (Charsur)
  • Durga (Amutham)


Krishna has been written about extensively by art reviewers and music critics worldwide and has been featured in several publications, both for his music and for his many and growing contributions off-stage. He has received numerous awards and titles from various institutions around the world. Some of them are listed here:

  • Best Lecture Demonstration Award – The Music Academy, Madras - 2009
  • Best Outstanding Vocalist – The Music Academy, Madras - 2009
  • Yogam Nagaswamy Award - The Music Academy, Madras - 2007
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar Award - Sangeet Natak Akademi - 2006
  • Yogam Nagaswamy Award – The Music Academy, Madras – 2005
  • Young Achievers Award - India Today - 2004
  • Sangeetha Shiromani - Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai - 2004
  • Honorific: Nada Bhushanam - Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, Delhi - 2003
  • Honorific: Isai Peroli - Karthik Fine Arts - 2002
  • Kalki Krishnamurthy Award - 2001
  • Youth Award for Excellence - Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer Trust - 2001
  • Best senior performing artist – The Music Academy, Madras - 2001
  • Honorific - Sangeetha Kala Bharathi - 2000
  • G. Ramakrishna Iyer award – The Music Academy, Madras - 1999
  • Srirangam Gopalrathnam award - The Music Academy, Madras - 1998
  • K.V. Mahadevan award for excellence - 1997
  • Honorific - Yuva Kala Bharathi - Bharath Kalachar - 1997
  • Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar award – The Music Academy, Madras - 1996
  • Musician of the year - Narada Gana Sabha - 1995
  • Best junior vocalist - Krishna Gana Sabha - 1995
  • Best main performer - Youth Association for Classical Music - 1989
  • Spirit of Youth award – The Music Academy, Madras - 1988


Over the past 15 years, teaching has occupied a great deal of T.M. Krishna’s attention. He has devoted time to imparting knowledge and practice in Carnatic music. Stressing with rigor the exactitudes of Carnatic music’s traditional norms, he encourages his students, drawn from various parts of the world, to experience the music’s creativity as an art form. Students from Southeast Asia, North America and Europe come to spend months at a time learning from him, in addition to the numerous students from across India. Placing the highest store by fundamentals Krishna expects and receives from his students a sincere training by practice to acquire and maintain their skills. Today, many of his students participate in top music competitions and performing as soloists on the concert platform.


Krishna has conducted dozens of lecture-demonstrations, in which he delves into specific themes that hold his listeners’ attention in the manner that his concerts do. The intense study and analysis that goes into his preparation for the lectures allows him to systematically elaborate topics and communicate with thematic fluency subjects that are innately complex. A naturally gifted communicator, Krishna has spoken out about various topics spanning music, culture, aesthetics, society, philosophy, leadership, and innovation at many premier institutions and conferences. He is able to transcend all borders and reaches audiences of all ages and backgrounds, irrespective of their familiarity with Indian arts. Some of his notable speaking engagements include

  • "Creativity", Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, 2015
  • Aesthetics to Emotion, Perspectives from Carnatic Music, a lecture-demonstration presented with a lecture by Professor Michael R Trimble (Emeritus Professor of Behavioral Neurology University College, London, UK), 2013
  • TIDES Leadership Conference, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chennai, 2013
  • Lecture on Carnatic Music, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, 2012
  • Indrani Shridharan Lecture, Ethiraj College, 2012
  • Svara, Gamaka, Motif and Raga Identity, CompMusic Conference, Istanbul, 2012
  • “ When Parallels meet” Natyakala Conference, 2012
  • Innovation, TEDxSSN, 2012
  • CompMusic Workshop, Delhi, 2012
  • “Fear”, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Group of Schools, 2012
  • Manthan, Forum for Public Discourse, Hyderabad, 2012
  • Sri Nathadi Guruguho, The Music Academy, Madras, 2011
  • Appreciating Carnatic Music, SAARC Artists Enclave, Pondicherry, 2011
  • Carnatic Music, Montessori, 2011
  • TIDES Leadership Summit, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Coimbatore, 2011
  • Confederation of Indian Industry, National Convention, 2011
  • Confederation of Indian Industry, Young Indians, Erode, 2011
  • One Raga Two Traditions, Harvard University, 2011
  • Concert Formats and Possibilities, Harvard University, 2011
  • Sankara Student Leadership Summit, 2011
  • Composition and Improvisation in Carnatic music, Berklee School of Music, 2011
  • History and Evolution of Melakartas, Vivrti San Jose, 2011
  • Ragam Thanam Pallavi, Vivrti San Jose, 2011
  • Compositional Forms and Patantharam, Vivrti San Jose, 2011 – along with Sangeetha Sivakumar
  • Bhairavam, Sahana, Kannada, Gaurivelavali, & Dhamavathi in the specific context of the Dikshitar Sampradaya with special reference to the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, The Music Academy, Madras 2010. Awarded Best Lecture during the 2010 Annual Conference.
  • The Evolution of Ragas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2010
  • The Human Voice, Ramachandra Medical College, 2010
  • Art Education Conference, Indian Federation for Arts, 2010
  • Issues with Notation in Oral Traditions, Harvard University 2009
  • Theatre and Art Appreciation Course, Rangashankara, Bangalore, 2008
  • Lecture on Carnatic Music, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, 2007
  • Notation in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, Harvard University, 2007
  • Entrepreneurship in Carnatic Music, The Indus Entrepreneurs, 2007
  • Manodharmam & Kalpitam, Music Forum, 2006
  • Lecture on Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, Bangalore, 2006
  • Rhythmic Accompaniment, A Musician's Perspective, The Music Academy, 2006
  • Lakshya and Lakshana in Carnatic Music, 2006
  • Appreciation of Carnatic Music - CII, Tamil Nadu State Council, 2004
  • Appreciating Carnatic Music, iFlex Solutions, 2003
  • What To Look For In A Concert, SVN Music Academy, Bangalore, 2002
  • Musical insights into Carnatic Music with Bombay Jayashri and Vijay Siva, Coimbatore, 2000
  • Traditional Classical Folk Arts And Their Relevance To Youth Today, The School, KFI, 1995

In addition to individual talks, Krishna has also produced two albums that aim to demystify the intricacies of one of the most sophisticated and aesthetic art forms of India that can be traced back to the 15th century:

  • Learning to Appreciate Carnatic Music, 1998 – first ever Carnatic music appreciation album released in 1998 along with musicians N. Vijay Siva and Dr. S. Sunder.
  • Rasikatvam, 2012 – 3-DVD video that introduces the viewer to concepts from the basics, compositions, improvisation and mathematics in Carnatic music.


Krishna has conducted a number of workshops across the world. He aims, in these, at giving his listeners an intense learning experience, in a short span of time, with no outside distractions.

  • A Walk Through Carnatic Music, Chennai Mathematical Institute, 2012 – 3 day series
  • Workshop on Music and Education, Vidya Vanam (a school for tribal Children), 2012
  • Carnatic Music Workshop, Centre for Learning, Bangalore, 2012
  • Appreciating Carnatic Music, The Music Academy, 2011 – along with Sangeetha Sivakumar
  • Carnatic Music Workshop, MITHAS & LearnQuest, Boston 2011
  • Structure, Preparation & Presentation of a Concert, Pallavita San Jose, 2011 – 3 day workshop
  • Nantes School of Carnatic Music, 2005-2010 – several of week-long workshops

Voices Within - Business Creativity Workshops (2007-2009)[edit]

The Business Creativity Workshop is a business innovation/leadership workshop conceived, created and conducted by Krishna with Bombay Jayashri along with innovation coach R. Sridhar of IDEAS-RS. The workshop is designed for senior managers, professionals and entrepreneurs of leading companies. Following the publication of the coffee table book Voices Within in 2007, Bombay Jayashri and Krishna continued their tribute to seven Carnatic music maestros they wrote about by extending the lessons from their lives to corporate professionals. Five qualities that set apart the yesteryear artists from many others in the field were related to business challenges that senior executives face regularly and were presented in a new and innovative way to help unleash business creativity. The workshop was presented on a number of occasions at different venues across India and abroad:

  • Mumbai, June 1st, 2007
  • Rane Group, Chennai, November 21st, 2007
  • Tata Group, June 14th, 2008
  • ICICI Bank, Lonavla, September 17th, 2008
  • Nittany Health Services, Chennai, January 5th, 2009
  • Zurich, February 2nd, 2009


A Southern Music (2013)[edit]

In 2013, he authored a book 'A Southern Music – The Karnatik Story' and it was released by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Chairman of Kalakshetra, Gopalkrishna Gandhi. [5] It discusses the philosophy, aesthetics, sociology and history of Carnatic music. The book was published by Harper Collins.

Voices Within (2007)[edit]

Bombay Jayashri, T.M. Krishna and Mythili Chandrasekhar published the first-ever coffee table book on Carnatic Music in January 2007. The book is a labor of love and pays tributes to seven Carnatic music maestros. The first copy of the book was received by the former President of India, Abdul Kalam at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. This book was later translated in Tamil and published by Ananda VIkatan Publications in the year 2011.

Professor P. Sambamoorthy (1999)[edit]

Commemorative volume containing brief life sketch and several unpublished and some speeches delivered at various conferences brought out on the occasion of the birth centenary of P. Sambamoorthy, a musicologist, teacher, researcher.


On Society, Culture, Politics and Religion

  • A Matter of Faiths – 2 August 2013, Teacher Plus
  • India Can Do Better than Modi or Rahul – 22 April 2013, Op-ed, The Hindu [6]
  • Conversations Flow, Ideas Don't – 24 November 2012, Op-ed, The Hindu [7]
  • Power flows from the back seat of a car – 21 July 2012, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu [8]
  • Beyond the Scars – 22 October 2011, National, The Hindu [9]
  • Death of a Humane Society? – 15 May 2010, The Hindu [10]
  • Culture in One’s Life – Jan 2008, Journal of the Krishnamurti Schools
  • A Crisis of Culture – 7 May 2006, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu

On Music, its Practice, Musicians, History and Future

  • MS Subbulakshmi -India's Most Misunderstood Musician (Cover Story)- October,2015 , Caravan[11]
  • Singing Cinema – 18 October 2013, Frontline
  • What Is Art Music – 9 February 2012, Friday Review, The Hindu
  • A Living Legend...and his Music Today – 2012, Sruti Magazine
  • Article on Violinist Prof. V.V. Subramaniam – 2012, Sruti Magazine
  • A Journey with Kishori Tai – 3 September 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • The Charisma of Composers – 30 January 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Centered Upon Centuries – 23 January 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Celebrating Unheard Melodies – 16 January 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Rhythms of Time – 9 Jan 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Decoding the Gramaraga – 2 January 2011, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Celebrating Unheard Melodies – 26 December 2010, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Poetics of performance - 11 December 2010, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Emergence of the Desi Tradition – 19 December 2010, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • The Influence of His Music – 2009, G.N. Balasubramaniam Centenary Commemorative Volume
  • Between Tradition and Evolution – 20 December 2009, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • Dawn of a New Era – 16 December 2007, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • An Unequal Music - 4 November 2007, Sunday Magazine, The Hindu
  • It’s Sampradaya Unlimited – 5 April 2001, The Hindu
  • The Religious Connection – 3 December 2000, Folio, The Hindu
  • Those Songs We Sing From Our Soul (Coauthored) – 20 January 2007, Hindustan Times
  • Art Theft (Coauthored) – 2009, Indian Express

Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini Editorial Board, The Music Academy (2011 – to the Present)[edit]

The Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, a magnum opus of Subbarama Dikshitar that documents all the compositions of Muttusvami Dikshitar along with other compositions is one of the most important texts of musical importance, originally written in Telugu. The Music Academy in 2011 created an editorial board which also consisted of Krishna, to guide and oversee the translation of this text from Telugu to English to help give more students, musicians and scholars access to this work. Three volumes have been published to date and the final volume will be released in December 2013.


Jaffna Cultural Initiative[edit]

The Northern Province is one of Sri Lanka’s 9 provinces and the best-known around the world – alas, for tragic reasons. It was the battleground for the Sri Lankan Civil War since 1983. Waged over 27 years, the war left nearly 100,000 persons dead and countless rendered homeless and fleeing. For the people who remained in the Province, dazed, insecure and dispossessed of livelihood, the war meant a cessation of all cultural nutriment. This was tragic not just in terms of zero-classical music, zero-classical dance and theatre but also a civilisational stupor. The highly literate and aesthetically honed predominantly Tamil population of the Province went through the motions, in a manner of speaking, with college curricula in the arts and with some art performances but this was clearly not what they were used to ad deserved. The shell of culture was there, but the Province had, over the nearly three decades of life with ballistics, all but lost its living touch in the arts. This was a cause for great anguish among those in Sri Lanka and outside, such as India, who knew the civilisational aspirations and contributions of this Province which has given to the world, among others, the historian and philosopher of aesthetics, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

After a tour of the Northern Provinces in 2011, T.M. Krishna (which was the first by a musician in 30 years) saw that while the satisfaction of the political aspirations of the people of the Province required a democratic process and would take its course, they needed cultural retrievals and restorations urgently. Just like food for the stomach cannot wait, food for the soul cannot either. The deep bond they have with their culture, particularly language, music and religion, moved him to develop a cultural program that would revive their strong but anaesthetized cultural intentions, inspire them, increase self-belief, and make them proud of their cultural and aesthetic anchoring. Given the lack of such exposure during the last three decades, there was a clear call for a cultural re-kindling and much-needed inspiration for charting a better future for the people of the Northern Provinces. Partnering with the Indian High Commission, The Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Northern Province, Krishna introduced to the people of Jaffna a festival focused on practical training by placing potential students of music and dance in direct contact with performing artists in an environment conducive to learning. He formed a team in Chennai that travelled to Jaffna to work with officials in laying the groundwork for the festival and working through details such as the venue, logistics and complete planning for the festival. The event in August 2011 was set to coincide with the month-long annual festival of the Nallur temple in Jaffna so it would reach a wide audience. It involved a combination of traditional cultural performances and a series of interactive workshops and presentations conducted by eminent artists.

In 2012, T.M. Krishna introduced the Bharatanatyam exponent Alarmel Valli and Carnatic vocalist P. Unnikrishnan to the audiences of Jaffna. The 3-day festival was held in Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts of Jaffna University, which teaches music, dance and visual arts to over 400 students. Nearly 1000 students from Ramanathan Academy, Jaffna University, and numerous public schools in and around Jaffna attended the morning workshops. The evening saw performances by each of these visiting artists and was attended by over 2000 people. During the festival, students had the opportunity to interact closely with them to understand the nuances involved in the art forms presented. Astounded that so many young people were interested in learning the arts in spite of the trauma around them, society elders and well-wishers of the Province wanted the festival to become a recurring feature. A second edition was held again in September 2013. Bharatanatyam exponent Leela Samson and Carnatic vocalist Sudha Ragunathan presented workshops during the day for the students. They gave full-fledged performances in the evening attended by large numbers. On the morning of the third day, Tavil maestro A.K. Palanivel led a rhythmic ensemble along with Patri Satish Kumar, Dr. S. Karthick, and B.S. Purushotham. The cultural festival has spurred a sense of cultural and civilisational self-esteem apart from taking the traditional cultural relations between India and Sri Lanka to a new height of great contemporary salience. It is also now part of various steps being taken by India to upgrade the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts, an organization of immense local veracity. T.M. Krishna’s Carnatic music-based assay in Jaffna goes to show that just as peace-keeping missions help heal the wounds of war, often against serious odds, including physical danger, and , invariably, risks of misinterpretation and misinformation, so also, culture-retrieving initiatives are essential to the aftermath of war and must be made in a spirit of respect for the affected populace. Culture has been seen as a method in what is known by the callow expression ‘cultural diplomacy’. Some situations like post-war Jaffna’s, call for something much deeper than cultural diplomacy. They call for civilization restoration, and that requires artists to take a wholly disinterested interest and an unconditionally, un-agenda-ed, interest in life beyond war, beyond strife.


Svanubhava is a cultural movement launched by T.M. Krishna in celebration of Indian art exposing students as they have not been exposed before, to various Indian art forms. It is a unique event conducted by the students of the performing arts. The thrust areas of Svanubhava are:

  • To create a community of students of the performing arts and instill in them a sense of ownership, belonging and pride, breaking all barriers of institutions and styles.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to directly interact and learn from great artists, as such opportunities are not generally available to the students.
  • To develop a sense of respect and mutual understanding amongst students towards the various art forms.
  • To create a future generation that will contribute to the Indian performing arts, irrespective of their own pursuits.

Svanubhava was conceptualized with the intention of welcoming the students to the diverse, multicultural world of Indian art and introduce them to the underlying beauty of even the rarest forms. This festival aims to involve students of music and dance institutions, students from private and public educational institutions, and in the process, create hubs of student communities where they can feel a sense of belonging and nurture their passion towards the Indian art forms. Svanubhava was inaugurated at Chennai, where it has been conducted since 2008. The festival is organized in Chennai with the support of Kalakshetra, a premier institute of dance and music. In 2011, Svanubhava went national by taking the festival to the nation’s capital, New Delhi. It was conducted in partnership with Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi, one of the oldest and highly prestigious institutes of Indian art. In early 2012, Svanubhava was also presented in Trichy and taken to Bangalore in 2013, with the annual Chennai festivals continuing every year during the month of August since 2008. The aim is to create a national movement to celebrate our arts. The festival does not belong to any person or organization; it belongs to the students. Our focus is to give ownership of Svanubhava, and as a result, all performing arts to the student community at large.

Since 2010, each festival’s programs were webcast live over the Internet and received a viewership of over 10,000 people across 25 countries, a unique feature that has helped spread the movement to another level.

Sumanasa Foundation[edit]

Sumanasa Foundation is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2004 with the aim to bring support and aid to the talented young students in underdeveloped rural areas. The emphasis was not on numbers of students to be benefited but the nature and vitality of the new opportunity. T.M. Krishna co-founded this organization along with S. Hariharan and Maya Hariharan to make talent promotion more than a ‘pedagogical subsidy’.

One of Sumanasa Foundation’s primary focuses is to identify talented individuals from rural, underdeveloped areas and to provide a tangible opportunity for them to step out of circumstantial disadvantages and continue learning but with music’s creative dimension added to it. Students from these areas just do not have the infrastructure required of the financial support needed to pursue their advanced training in music. They also would benefit from the exposure and accessibility to the concerts in Chennai as well as the opportunity to learn from the great masters of today.

Sumanasa Foundation has identified 5 such talented individuals. It has brought these students to Chennai from their respective hometowns and completely supports their living expenses. Additionally, and most significantly the Foundation has placed them under the guidance of very senior Carnatic musicians from whom they continue their advanced training. Their tuition expenses are also provided entirely by the Foundation

In 2010, Sumanasa Foundation developed another scheme to identify individuals and give them a platform to showcase their talents. The foundation recognizes that the leading organisations receive so many applications every year for opportunities to perform in the music season and that they find it very difficult in providing the right people with opportunities. This initiative intends to provide more live opportunities to identify talent by showcasing them in Chennai. The foundation looks for talented individuals who are not performing regularly in the circuit, provides an opportunity to perform in Chennai sponsoring their travel, accommodation, and remuneration for the concert and covering all venue expenses. It contacts local organizers and invites them to the concerts. Following the concerts, the foundation sends a list of recommendations to the organizations. Since this initiative started, leading organizations such as The Music Academy, Brahma Gana Sabha and Hamsadhwani have featured individuals that have been recommended by the foundation. Many often comment that they look forward to the festival in order to spot talent for their upcoming events. Since its inception, the initiative has provided platforms for over 52 artists from all over India.

In 2010, Sumanasa Foundation launched another initiative, sushrAvya, aimed at introducing music as therapy for children with special needs. It was launched in partnership with V-Excel Educational Trust, an institution that caters to thousands of special needs children. Under the program, concerts are sponsored on a monthly basis in V-Excel and other similar schools. So far, the Sumanasa Foundation (is proud to say it) has fully sponsored 10 music programs in Chennai.

Jnanarnava Trust[edit]

Jnanarnava means "Ocean of knowledge." The trust has taken many steps to establish its mission from the fundamental value of preserving traditions. The trust has embarked on the Audio archival of all musical compositions published in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, a publication on Carnatic music, in conformity with the musical notation provided by its author. The Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP) was written by Subbarama Dikshitar in the year 1904. Subbarama Dikshitar, a great composer and musician, was Muthuswami Dikshitar’s brother’s grandson. Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775-1895) was one of the most influential composers in the history of Carnatic music, along with Thyagaraja (1767-1847) and Shyama Sastri (1762-1827). The trust intends to audio archive all the compositions in the SSP, as the great work is called in spoken shorthand, with the music in strict conformity with the notation provided by Subbarama Dikshitar. The trust has till date released 5 audio albums from 2005 to 2011, and plans to release the next in early 2014. These albums are distributed to music colleges, departments of music at various institutions, and archival centers, free of cost and are not intended to be commercial releases.

The SSP was one of the first publications that attempted to notate Carnatic music. It contains 229 fully notated compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar. The notation was developed by its author, who devised a self-contained and consistent scheme to notate various gamakas. As mentioned earlier, the author of the SSP belonged to the musical and genealogical lineage of Muttuswami Dikshitar. It is generally accepted that Muttuswami Dikshitar was very particular in preserving the older forms of ragas through his compositions. Hence the SSP is a singularly valuable resource for analyzing and understanding the important musical tradition represented by Muttuswami Dikshitar. In addition to the compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar, the SSP contains notated compositions of other composers, providing insights concerning the practice of Carnatic music 150 years ago.

Kalaachaara Marumalarchi[edit]

Kalaachaara Marumalarchi Trust is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2005 with the aim to bring performing arts back to the temples of South India and preserve its rich culture and heritage. The trust has conducted festivals of music and dance at the Thirukurungudi Temple Tirunelveli and Thanjavur Kamakshi Amman Temple, Thiruchendur, Ekambreshwarar Temple Kanchipuram, Parthasarathy Temple Chennai, and Big Temple of Tanjavur between the years 2004 and 2011. T.M. Krishna, Sangeetha Sivakumar, Mr. N. Kumar and Mr. K.B. Chandrasekhar formed this trust in order to revive temples as cultural hubs and thereby promote the arts in interior Tamil Nadu. The hope is to reach these arts to a much wider audience and thereby increase the awareness. They conduct both classical and folk performances in temples. These music and dance festivals are conducted throughout the year coinciding with major temple festivals thereby reaching the arts to the maximum number of people. To date, the trust has conducted over 50 programs in over 15 temples across South India.


Shabda is a project aimed at creating an online archive of the various aspects pertaining to the Indian Performing Arts. It was founded by T.M. Krishna, H.K. Venkatram and R.K. Shriramkumar in 2010. The initiative recognizes that a lot of valuable knowledge content on Indian performing arts is either unavailable or not in the proper form of documentation, and aims to make it otherwise. Each speaker will beading with a specific aspect of their art in an analytical and comprehensive manner. The lectures are for a duration of 20 minutes to ensure that it is focused.

The scope of Shabda in the present performing arts scene includes videography of lectures by eminent artists, scholars and researchers, widening the scope of content availability through internet and using technology to provide high quality content and preservation to avoid inaccuracy in documentation and retrieval. This helps to provide a useful wealth of knowledge for artists, performers, students, and connoisseurs alike. Shabda has conducted 12 lectures across 2 day-long events held at Kalakshetra, Chennai and Bangalore Gayana Samaja in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

'December Season' Portal[edit]

In 2009, T.M. Krishna launched an initiative to make information about the December season readily available and easily accessible to all through an online portal. That December saw the launch of theDecemberSeason.com. The portal consolidated over 1000 concert listings from organizers across Chennai and published them along with detailed information about all the venues, places to stay and eat. It had viewership from across the country and proved to be very useful and the need for such a resource throughout the year was clear. Since then, the portal has evolved into a year-round feature rechristened as Kutcheris.com and now includes aggregated news from various sources, detailed artist profiles and information on organisations. There is also a mobile app available for Android and iPhone that has been widely popular.

Margazhi Raagam[edit]

Margazhi Raagam is the first of its kind filmed Carnatic music concert performed by T.M. Krishna and Bombay Jayashri. Conceived and directed by Jayendra, with cinematography by P.C. Sreeram and audiography by H. Sridhar, this 110 minutes concert has impacted audience perception of live concerts, and enabled a new musical experience. This concert, released in digital cinemas across the world, helps to take Carnatic music beyond the conventional classical music audiences and reach people who love music from different cultures across the globe. The idea was to give Carnatic music an evocative visual appeal and the sound quality that the music deserves. Using the latest high end, 4k RED Digital Cinema Camera in a seven camera shoot, digitally recording sound on Protools, editing on Avid systems, confirming and color correcting on Digital Vision tools, mixing the sound in Media Artists - a THX certified stage, Real Image has put an array of technologies to use to make Margazhi Raagam a one of a kind musical experience. The film was released in theatres around the world in India, the United States, and Australia.


‘Rasika’ is a Sanskrit word derived from ‘rasa’ meaning ‘sap’ or ‘flavor’ and refers to a person in the context of the arts: one possessed of feeling, passion, but not by chance or random attraction as much as by knowledgeable discrimination, a connoisseur and even, perhaps, a non-performing practitioner of the art form or one in the making. Effectively introduced in 1994 through YACM (Youth Association for Classical Music), the Build-a-Rasika project was started in order to create fresh rasikas for this art form, from schools. It aims at inculcating an interest in South Indian Classical Music amongst the children/youth who know very little or nothing about Classical Music. Stemming from a concern over the lack of training atmosphere for children to appreciate Carnatic Music, which once was seamlessly and beautifully woven into the family’s cultural oeuvre, this scheme introduces the young minds to this great art form and tries to turn them into informed listeners in a short span of time. It is a process of taking them through a concert with commentary (English/Tamil) and telling them the ‘what and how’ of its ingredients. One of the salient features of the BAR is that it teaches them "How to appreciate" and not "How to perform". It spans for just 90 minutes but enough is sown for them to blossom into genuine rasikas anytime during their lives, if not at once. This project has reached over 135 schools in and around Chennai covering about 60000 students, including programmes and lectures in schools from all strata of society and educated the youth. Having been the President of YACM, T.M. Krishna has performed in over 50 schools and propagated the awareness for Carnatic Music and pushed this initiative and propagated the movement as the President of the organization.

Other Organizations[edit]

In addition to his own initiatives, Krishna has been actively involved in various capacities in other organisations and initiatives giving them of his visionary intensities. This has helped give direction and focus to these bodies as they continue to serve the cause of the arts.

Board Member, Kalakshetra (2012 – to the Present)[edit]

Appointed by the Ministry of Culture, Central Government of India, Krishna has been a board member of Kalakshetra from 2013. It is the premier organization for dance and music in India and is one of the most respected art institutions in the world. Kalakshetra is a center of training and performance of the Indian arts supported by the Central Government of India, established in the early 20th century and has produced and molded generations of acclaimed artists in a distinctive style.

Collaborator, Comp Music Project, IIT Madras (2011- to the Present)[edit]

CompMusic, Computational Models for the Discovery of the World's Music, is a research project funded by the European Research Council and coordinated by Xavier Serra from the Music Technology Group of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (Spain). The main goal of CompMusic is to advance in the field of Music Computing by approaching a number of the current research challenges from a culture specific perspective. Collaborating with the technical team at the IIT Madras computer science department, Krishna’s insights on Carnatic music and inputs on the nuances of the music has guided the project to grow and make better use of the technology available, thereby producing better results.

Advisor, Sahapedia (2012 – to the Present)[edit]

Sahapedia is an online encyclopedia on Indian culture and heritage. It has been launched through the partnering of organizations such as SAHA (Delhi-based NGO), CMC Limited (a TATA enterprise) and the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad. Taking advantage of both the rapidly growing Indian internet user community and the burgeoning global interest, Sahapedia aims to position itself as both a resource and a platform for creating rich multimedia content on Indian culture, heritage and the arts. T.M. Krishna is on the advisory board of Sahapedia.

Board, MITHAS (2013 – to the Present)[edit]

MITHAS was founded in 1993, by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) music senior lecturer George Rucket and MIT alumnus Moez Rawji with the support of faculty, students, alums, and friends - to perpetuate, to teach, to present, to perform, and spread appreciation for the great variety of performing arts and artists who practice in these richly learned and refined traditions in the greater New England area of North America. Over the years MITHAS has featured the greatest classical musicians and dancers from India, who have performed and lectured on the nuances of dance and music. Now in its 20th year MITHAS continues to actively engage with its community, enriching it with classical dance and music.

President, Sampradaya (2007 – to the present)[edit]

Sampradaya is an organization founded in the 1980s with an aim to document interviews and concerts of Indian classical artists. Today, the organization is home to a treasure house of books, a rare archive of photographs, and a repository with over 5000 hours of documentaries and recorded music. In 2007, T.M. Krishna was invited to lead the organization as its president. Since then, he has been actively working to help make Sampradaya both relevant and vibrant. He introduced Samvaada, a conversation series designed to provide a public platform to facilitate students and connoisseurs to have face-to-face interactions with veteran musicians of our time. The organization has since held many conversations, all of which are recorded and available in the Sampradaya archives. Krishna has initiated the digitization of Sampradaya’s audio and print archives to ensure it is preserved for posterity. The aim is to make the library available for people over the Internet so that it can reach people in all parts of the world.