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MS Gopalakrishnan
Mylapore Sundaram Gopalakrishnan

(1931-06-10)10 June 1931
Died3 January 2013(2013-01-03) (aged 81)
ChildrenNarmadha, Latha, Suresh
Then President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting the Padma Bhushan Award to Shri M.S. Gopalakrishnan, at an Investiture Ceremony-II, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on April 04, 2012

M.S. Gopalakrishnan, a.k.a. MSG, (10 June 1931 – 3 January 2013) was a violinist in the field of Carnatic music. He is commonly grouped with Lalgudi Jayaraman and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1997. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.

Life and career

Gopalakrishnan was born in Mylapore, Chennai, India, and was taught violin by his father, Parur Sundaram Iyer, who was well versed in both Carnatic and Hindustani systems of Indian classical music. He learned both systems from his father, with whom he gave his first performance when he was 8 years old. He also drew great inspiration from the legendary violinist Sri Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu.

He played the violin for over fifty years as a soloist and accompanist, having accompanied Omkarnath Thakur and D. V. Paluskar, and toured Australia, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, South Africa, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

His daughter, Dr M. Narmadha, is also a violinist. His elder brother M. S. Anantharaman (1924-2018) was a well-known violinist. The family's violin playing style, known as ‘Parur bani’, is being kept alive by the third generation, the children of Anantharaman and of MSG.[1][2]


Gopalakrishnan died in Chennai, India, at 2:00 am on 3 January 2013, at the age of 81. He was survived by his wife Meenakshi, his daughters M. Narmadha and Latha, and son Suresh.[3]


Gopalakrishnan had researched playing technique, and developed particular fingering and bowing disciplines of the "Parur style" to produce a clarity of sound and speed of delivery. His style includes one-finger playing and a thematic development on single-string octaves.[clarification needed]

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin said of Gopalakrishnan's playing: "I have not heard such violin in all my travels! How superbly this young Indian is playing our instrument".[4] When receiving the Sangeetha Kalanidhi award from the Music Academy of Madras, Gopalakrishnan said: "My practice is the only secret of my success and then the other secret is my father. The practice that I was used to was nearly 15–16 hours a day and that was a very tough one where I used to jump suddenly from Carnatic to Hindustani styles while playing. Anything, any award I receive is just the fruit of my practice".[citation needed]


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  1. ^ "Maestro who put Parur on the world music map". The Hindu. 8 January 2013. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  2. ^ "Parur M.S. Anantharaman -". Retrieved 17 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Violin maestro MSG passes away". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  4. ^ "A string of reminiscences". The Hindu. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Classical Music". Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Padma awardees say they feel honoured". The Hindu. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.