Carnatic musician TM Krishna wins Ramon Magsaysay Award: All you want to know about him

By: | Updated: July 27, 2016 1:49 PM

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation on Wednesday announced its awardees and Carnatic singer TM Krishna finds a place in the list.

Krishna, born to a privileged, Brahmin family in Chennai, was trained from the age of six in the aristocratic Carnatic music under masters of the form. Krishna, born to a privileged, Brahmin family in Chennai, was trained from the age of six in the aristocratic Carnatic music under masters of the form.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation on Wednesday announced its awardees and Carnatic singer TM Krishna finds a place in the list. Along with him a social activist Bezwada Wilson was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award. Other winners are Conchita Carpio-Morales from Philippines, Dompet Dhuafa from Indonesia, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers and Vientiane Rescue from Laos. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is an annual award, named after former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay.

Krishna, born to a privileged, Brahmin family in Chennai, was trained from the age of six in the aristocratic Carnatic music under masters of the form. “Though he earned a degree in economics, Krishna chose to be an artist and quickly rose to become a highly-admired concert performer of Carnatic classical music,” his citation said. An ancient vocal and instrumental musical system, Carnatic music started centuries ago in temples and courts but was subsequently ‘classicised’ to become the almost exclusive cultural preserve of the Brahmin caste — performed, organised, and enjoyed by the elite who have access to it, the citation said.

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In the 1990s, he was president of the Youth Association for Classical Music, that took Carnatic music to the youth and the public schools. During the period 2011-2013, Krishna brought his passion and artistry to war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka, the first Carnatic musician to tour that region in three decades, and launched two festivals to promote “culture retrieval and revival” in that country.

“Now a leading advocate in India of “music for all and music for a better quality of life,” he says: “Music and the arts are capable of bridging cultures and civilizations and liberating us from artificial divisions of caste and race,” the citation states. Mr. Krishna, who is in Russia, is already informed about the award. He is a student of late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. The vocalist, who is also the author of A Southern Music – The Karnatic Story, writes regularly for publications across the country as well.

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