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Mysore Vasudevacharya

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Mysore Vasudevacharya (May 28, 1865 – May 17, 1961) was a renowned musician and composer of Carnatic music compositions who belonged to the direct line of Thyagaraja’s disciples. Vasudevachar was born in an orthodox Madhva Brahmin family in Mysore and started learning music from Veena Padmanabhiah, the chief musician of the Mysore court.

He also mastered Sanskrit and allied fields such as Kavya, Vyakarana, Nataka, Alankaram, Tarka, Itihasa, Purana having studied at the Maharaja Sanskrit College in Mysore while learning music privately. He then went on to learn from the famous composer-musician Patnam Subramania Iyer supported by the Maharaja’s generous stipend and imbibed the music of not only his Guru but also other great maestros of the Thanjavur-Cauvery delta.

Vasudevachar eventually became the chief court musician (Asthana Vidwan) at the Mysore court. He was known for his madhyama-kala tanam singing which he learnt from his Guru. Patnam Subramania Iyer often requested his sishya “Vasu” to help him with the sahitya(lyric) aspects of his compositions. This aspect of his training undoubtedly helped Vasudevachar as a composer.

He is also credited with two writings in Kannada, one of them an autobiography called Nenapugalu (memories) and Na Kanda Kalavidaru (the musicians I have met) in which he wrote the biographies of many well known musicians.

Mysore Vasudevacharya was a great disciple of Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer. In the later years of his life, he was invited by the famous Rukminidevi Arundale to head Kalakshetra in Madras. He has about 200 compositions to his credit, which include pada varnams, tana varnams, krutis, javalis, etc. in Telugu and Sanskrit.

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