Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy, Professor and Head of the Department of Indian Music, University of Madras, is also the President and Chairperson of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Holding two Post Graduate Degrees in Indian Philosophy and Indian Music she worked on the Art of Kathakalakshepa of the various States in India with special reference to the Tanjavur Style for her Doctoral Dissertation. This book based on her research has been acclaimed as the only authentic work analyzing the history, performance, the metrical compositions along with the contributionof the veterans of the art. She is a vocalist specialized in Karnatik and Hindustani Classical Music along with Tamil Tirumuraj hymns. She has also learnt the rudiments of Kathakalakshepa, its history and performance styles Embar S. Vijayaraghavachariar and C. Bannibai, both celebrities of this art form. She has also occasionally performed Harikatha in India and abroad. She is a rare combination of an academician who is also a vocalist of high merit who continues to perform concerts and lecture demonstrations. She was awarded a fellowship by the Cultural Ministry of the Government of India for her research in this art form. This book has been well received.
Nominated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu, she is at present a member of the Syndicate of the University of Madras. During her headship she has introduced PG Degrees in Bharatanatyam and Rhythmology along with a five-year integrated course entitled Natya consisting of two majors viz., Bharatanatyam and theatre. Apart from this, under the UICIC (University Industry Community Interaction Center) certificate courses in Karnatik Music, Harikatha and Bhajana, Hindustani Music, Western Music, voice conservation and care (in collaboration with Sri Ramachandra University) have been initiated.
I am indeed very pleased that a book on ‘Harikathakalakshepam’ has been authored by Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy. As proud patrons of our fine arts, religion, philosophy and literature, we should try to promote and preserve our traditional arts. Our temples and places of worship have been centres of learning where traditional art forms flourished.
It is timely that Dr. Premeela had taken up the study of Kathakalakshepam “a one person theatre form”. I am happy that this book is available for those interested in our arts and culture.
I have known Dr. Premeela had taken her student days and am very happy that she has blossomed out to be a musician, musicologist and scholar. Her knowledge of several languages is also a great asset to her. Her research work on Kalakshepam is commendable. I have listened to her lecture demonstrations with great interest. She is one who is devoted to her work and present her programmes to the joy and satisfaction of her listeners. Her lecture demonstrations on Gopalakrishna Bharati’s Nandan Charithram’ and ‘Harikatha’ at our music festivals, evoked great interest. Her articles in magazines are very informative and provide good reading.
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