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Veteran musician, composer R. Visweswaran dead

Special Correspondent



Visweswaran

CHENNAI: R. Visweswaran, veteran musician and composer, died in Chennai on Thursday night following a cardiac arrest.

He is survived by his wife and Bharatanatyam dancer Chitra Visweswaran, his mother and three sisters.

Born in May 1944, Visweswaran belonged to a family of musicians. He was the nephew of the legendary G.N. Balasubramaniam. A graduate in commerce, he studied chartered accountancy course but took to classical music as his career. Visweswaran learnt Santoor from the maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He received guidance in the dance-compositions of Lalgudi G. Jayaraman from the violin maestro himself. In addition, he had specialised training in Padam singing from T. Muktha. He also worked on Annamacharya’s Kritis under M.S. Subbalakshmi and on Swati Tirunal and Purandaradasa Kritis under K. V. Narayanaswamy.

A graded artist of the All India Radio and an empanelled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), he performed extensively all over India and abroad on Santoor. At the international level, his concerts at South Bank Kufa Gallery and Bhavan Centre, London, and his participation in the International Jazz Festival at Rouen and the Montelimar Festival deserved special mention. During the celebration of the 50th anniversary of independence, he performed Santoor concerts as part of the official presentations at the House of World Cultures, Berlin, and in several cities of Germany. Married to Ms Chitra in 1972, Visweswaran’s vocal accompaniment and musical compositions for her dance were noteworthy.

Sharada Ramanathan, film maker and who had a long association with the Visweswarans, said Visweswaran was perhaps the first to present Carnatic music concerts on Santoor. He regarded M.S. Viswanathan as his guru in film music. Ms Chitra Visweswaran said her husband was a great devotee of Mataji Vithamma of Shri Muthukrishna Swami Mission Trust.

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