T.K. Govinda Rao , who hails from a family of musicians, is a leading vocalist of Indian classical Karnatak music. In 1949 he joined the then Central College of Karnatak Music at Madras where, wider thecare of great musicians like Tiuppampuram Swaminatha Pillai and Smt .T .Brinda , he completed the course of 'Sangita vidvan.'
Govinda Raowas fortunate to have , as his Guru, the founder Principal Padmavibhushan , Sangita Kalanidhi, Sri Musiri Subrahmanya ayyar, the doyon of Karnatak music. A rigorous GURUKULAVASA-training spread over for fifteen years followed by years ofclose association with his GURU marks him as a faithful reperesentative of the MUSIRI style of Bhava-laden rendering of Krtis.
A career that spanned over five decades brought him assignments such as Lecturer, Tamizh Nadu Govt. Music College, Madras; Producer- Music- All India Radio, Madras and finally Chief Producer -Music in the Directorate-General, All India Radio, New Delhi In addition , he has been associated with the Music Academy Madras, as a member of the Advisory Committee; Central Sangit Natak Academy and ICCR as also with the Universities of Benaras, Delhi, Madras, Annamalai, Bangalore and Telugu University in various capacities.
All these assignments, however, did not deter him from his prime vocation as a Vocalist and teacher that took him over the years all over India and abroad- Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, USA, Canada and Muscat where he taught hundreds of students . Titles like Sangita cudamani, Sangita Sastra Ratnakara, Ganakalatilaka ,Nadakkanal, Svara Samrat and Sangita Acarya, besides the AKADEMI Award from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, The National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama has been conferred on him for his contribution to the field of Karnatak music.
As the renowned senior Music-critic, Sri P.N.Krishnamurthy, quoted by the well-known music Magazine SRUTI, says " TKG is a veteran of the old school who has played a prominent role in the preservation ofall that is precious in the truly classical rendition of Karnatak music".
A major facet of his activity over the years is connected with composing tunes and editing works of distinction. These include compositions of Purandara Dam, Tamizh songs of Periyasamy Thooran, "Varnamanjari" of 42 Tana varnas and 8 Padavarnas of famous composers with notation in diacritical Roman script, selected volumes of Tyagaraja and also Tamizh transliteration of semmangudi Srinivasa iyer's Sri Tyagaraja 's Ghanaraga Pancaratna Krtis from Malayalam.
To promote the time tested oral traditions of classical Karnatak music, he has founded a body named " GANA MANDIR TRUST" that enrols members with the object of publishing works on music, producing audio cassettes, organising seminars and workshops on Music in India and elsewhere and provide them free to the donor-members.
TKG's earlier book ' Compositions of Tyagaraja' is the first of its kind to the world of music. By bringing out the books now on Dikshitar and Syama Sastri, he fulfils a widely expressed need of many music lovers, disciples and students of Music in India and abroad. Presented in comprehensive volumes on a common script that would help to bridge, not only the language barrier but also the generation gap, while preserving the essence and identity of the original that remain characteristically and traditionally Indian.
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