This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Handel Manuel" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (July 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) The article's lead section may need to be rewritten. Please help improve the lead and read the lead layout guide. (July 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Handel Manuel
Born(1918-04-27)27 April 1918
Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India
Died22 October 1994(1994-10-22) (aged 76)
Chennai, India
Awards: Padmashri

Handel Manuel (27 April 1918 – 22 October 1994) was an Indian pianist, organist, conductor, composer and accompanist.[1] He helped to make western classical music popular in Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.


Handel Manuel was born in Tuticorin, India, on 27 April 1918,[2] and was named after the composer George Frideric Handel. He was educated at the Madras Christian College, but he did not study music there. He was a self-taught composer.[1]

At the age of 23 Manuel became the first Indian conductor of the Madras Musical Association. He also served for over 50 years as the organist and choirmaster at St Andrew's Church, Chennai (known as The Kirk) and was the founder director of the Madras Philharmonic and Choral Society.[citation needed]

Handel Manuel taught as music teacher in C.S.I Bain's School towards the end of his career. Handel Manuel was the person who wrote and augmented the western musical notes, including the characteristic semi-tones, for the National Anthem of India. He was the Station Director Western Music of All India Radio, Madras which is known as A.I.R. and he was in charge of Children's program. His son is Viji Manuel who played the keyboard for Ilayaraja, Film Music Composer and Director. Manuel died on 22 October 1994.

Honours and awards


At the request of several choristers who had sung under Manuel, Sharada and Surender Schaffter founded the Handel Manuel Chorus in 2003. Surender is the younger brother of Handel Manuel. This non-denominational choir has thirty members and specializes mostly in church music of the Baroque and Classical periods. They have performed at Egmore Wesley, St George's Cathedral, the Emmanuel Methodist Church and St. Andrew's Church, Bangalore.

His son, Viji Manuel has been acknowledged as the best pianist and bass player in India and has performed for over forty years consistently for acclaimed Indian composer Ilaiyaraaja.[4] Viji Manuel died in August 2015.[5]


  1. ^ a b "This Handel of Madras was a jolly good fellow - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Choral Tribute". The Hindu. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  5. ^ "Viji Manuel, the keyboard player par excellence, is dead". The Hindu.