Sharadha Narayanan | ENS09 Sep 2008 12:00:00 AM ISTCHENNAI: Violin maestro Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan (73) passed away in the city on Monday evening following a prolonged illness. The Padma Shri Awardee was admitted to the Sri Ramachandra University Medical College Hospital where he breathed his last following a cardiac arrest.
Kunnakudi was undergoing treatment for a stomach ailment for over two months. Initially, he was taken to a private hospital in Perungudi and later moved to Ramachandra Hospital where he was under intensive medical care.
Sources close to the musician said that Kunnakudi, as the ace musician was popularly referred to, had not been keeping good health for over a couple of months. His son, a doctor working in Melbourne, had also come down to Chennai to treat him and he was planning to take his father abroad for treatment.
However, Kunnakudi’s health deteriorated over the weekend and he was under intensive care at the hospital when he developed complications in his heart.
His body is expected to be cremated tomorrow. He is survived by wife and two sons.
Born in 1935 to Ramaswamy Sastri and Meenakshi at Kunnakudi in Sivaganga district, his father was an erudite scholar in Sanskrit, Tamil and Carnatic music as well as a great composer and exponent of Carnatic music and Kathakalakshepam.
For young Kunnakudi, veda sastram and sangeetam were the main disciplines besides schooling.
The noted violinist, spotted always with a bright saffron spot and sacred ash smeared on his forehead, was known for introducing novelties in his concerts. He has performed all over the world. Conferred the Padma Shri in 2005 , he was also the head of the Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram for many years.
Kunnakudi joined Modern Theatres for film orchestras in the late 50s. In 1963, he got a break with HMV as a music director.
He produced Muruga Ganamrutham.
From 1976, Kunnakudi concentrated on his solo concerts and stopped accompanying vocals for concerts.
Apart from Carnatic music, he also tried his hand in movies. He produced Todi, a musical feature film, along with T N Seshagopalan which went on to become a success. Kunnakudi made a special appearance in the 2005 Tamil blockbuster movie Anniyan directed by Shankar.
Honours have pursued him. Apart from the Padma Shri, he was given the title ‘Sangita Mamani’ and was conferred with more than 200 awards He was also the secretary of Thygabramha Sabha, Tiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur, which organises the annual Aradhna Festival of the great carnatic music composer Saint Thyagaraja. Kunnakudi also had deep faith in the therapeutical merits of music.