Follow us





A spirit flows into the great beyond...
Composer Madurai N Krishnan passes away


October 10, 2005

Renowned Carnatic musician and composer Madurai N Krishnan, age 77, passed away in hospital in the early hours of Sunday October 9, 2005. His end came at the culmination of 2 years of illness brought upon by kidney ailments.

Krishna Iyengar, as he was fondly known, or "VAADYAR" (teacher) by his students, predicted his end four days before it came. He summoned his four daughters and his grandchildren to his bedside and told them not to worry or grieve for his soul. "Please do not ask me to stay any longer. Ganapati is calling me. I must go." These were his last words to his family. The end came at Ashwin Hospital, Chennai at 4:30 am.

His passing in the midst of the Navaratri season seems almost serendipitous since he was an ardent devotee of the GODDESS.

Madurai Krishnan leaves behind a voluminous and prolific legacy of musical accomplishment which spans four decades of composition, performance and writing.

His music for dance has been performed since 1967, first by Anita Ratnam and later by Sudharani Raghupathy, Chitra Visweswaran, Ramli Ibrahim, Chandra Bhanu and numerous performers around the world.

He was the recipient of numerous awards like PADMA SHRI, PADMA BHUSHAN and Sangeet Natak Akademi from the Government of India, Kalaimamani from the Government of Tamilnadu and the UNESCO award among others.

A top graded artiste by the All India Radio, Sri Krishnan is a direct descendant in the musical lineage of the Saint Tyagaraja.

The "parampara" is as follows: Saint Tyagaraja - Manambuchavadi Venkatasubramania Iyer - Patnam Subramania Iyer - Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar - Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar - Madurai N Krishnan.

His early dance compositions were set to dance by guru Adyar K Lakshman and visualized in movement by Anita and Pritha Ratnam. It was through Sri Lakshman that the innumerable jatiswarams and tillanas achieved world wide renown when his students like Chandra Bhanu and Ramli Ibrahim performed them outside India.

Vidwan Madurai N Krishnan was one of the founder directors of SREE BHARATALAYA, a premier institution of Bharatanatyam and dance research in Chennai. The institution was founded by acclaimed dancer-guru Sudharani Raghupathy 35 years ago. It was through this institution that Vidwan Krishnan created, composed and recorded his numerous creations. Books, audio cassettes and DVDs have been released on his compositions and sold worldwide.

Recognised as a VAGGEYAKARA (one who is a composer, lyricist and singer) Sri Krishnan knowingly reduced his own career as a performing musician in favour of his composing and creative skills. As a premier 'sishya' of the great Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, his early years of traditional 'gurukula vasam' with his guru in Karaikudi are a colourful and important chapter in the transmission of traditional arts in Indian society.

Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Ms. J Jayalalitha, who has also performed his compositions, conveyed her condolences stating that his passing was an irreplaceable loss to the arts of Tamilnadu and India.

Vidwan Madurai N Krishnan is survived by four daughters and 6 grandchildren.