Thanjavur Quartet

„Ten centuries ago, South Indian music and dance had reached high levels of sophistication in Tanjavur, where royal patronage of three dynasties (Chola, Nayaka, Maratha) and the connoisseurship of the people, had nurtured the arts with love and discernment. Among the galaxy of poets, musicians and composers of that green belt, the Tanjavur Quartet of the brothers Chinnayya, Ponniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu (early 19th century) stand out for their attainments in both dance and music. They are credited with having systematised the “margam” of what we know as Bharatanatyam today.

Apart from the continuation of their tradition through Nāṭyācharyas (dancemasters) in their own family, like the late Kittappa Pillai and Subbaraya Pillai, their unmistakable stamp is left on the entire genre through the two major (and contrastive) influences of Balasaraswati and Rukmini Devi. Their gurus Kandappa Pillai and Minakshisundaram Pillai carried the legacy of the Tanjavur Quartet.“

Quoted from „The musical genius of the Tanjavur Quartet“ (Based on a presentation at the Natya Kala Conference (2000) of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha) by Gowri Ramnarayan | Sruti Magazine 2012

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