K. V. Narayanaswamy

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K. V. Narayanaswamy

Born: 15 November 1923

Died: 1 April 2002

  • He often referred to as K. V. Narayanaswamy was an Indian musician, widely considered to be among the finest Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century.
  • He was awarded the Madras Music Academy’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1986.
  • He was described as the “Perfect Knight” of Carnatic music, a phrase from Geoffrey Chaucer, by V. K. Narayana Menon, a prominent art critic of India and recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.
  • His major break came at a Madras Music Academy concert in 1954 when he was unexpectedly forced to substitute his Guru, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar who was not in a position to attend the conference under unforeseen circumstances.
  • Accompanied by doyens Palghat Mani Iyer and Papa Venkataramayya, this concert proved to be a milestone in Narayanaswamy’s career.
  • The training under Palghat Mani Iyer allowed KVN to develop a solid knowledge of rhythmic nuances.
  • He was intimately connected to the Travancore Royal Family following his skillful rendition of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma’s Navaratri compositions.
  • Another landmark in his life came in 1964 when he participated in the East-West Encounter concerts in New Delhi.
  • This was followed by a widely acclaimed concert at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 1965.

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