Profile

A MUSICIAN'S MUSICIAN:

Who is Neyveli Santhanagopalan?
It is never easy to summarize what makes one who he is. Exclaiming that Neyveli Santhanagopalan is a creative mind with multiple layers of intriguing interests, a scholar's intellect with a untiring pursuit for more, and a compassionate heart that revels in company of musicians and music lovers, is certainly not justice enough. But let's start with that. Many see him as a unique musician, an accomplished Vidwan (performer), an erudite scholar, an inspiring Guru, an innovative educator, an eternal learner and a friendly celebrity.

The Unique Musician
Every musician is unique. Some strive and uphold the BaaNi that they cherish and hail from. Others identify with many styles and remind their audiences of various doyens from the past as they perform. Yet others have found the perfect balance of individual musical style, pAtAntharA and classical traditionalism. Neyveli Santhanagopalan is one of the rare and unparalleled musicians who is associated with all the above categories and can be seen to do justice to all these descriptions.

The Vidwan’s Vidwan
Neyveli Santhanagopalan is an internationally acclaimed senior Carnatic musician who is known for concerts that mark a traditional classicism. Well-known for rendering effective concerts couched in ‘Bhakthi’ (devotion) and ‘Bhava’ (emotion), he spiritually elevates his technically intricate music to the pedestal of divinity. A musician is often revered by his ability to justify innovation while carefully balancing tradition. Neyveli Santhanagopalan is an expert performer who consistently communicates with his audience through this process of balancing innovation and tradition. He is known to portray a vivid, sometimes a subtly flashy image of even traditional raagas like Bhairavi, Thodi and Keeravani. Many experience the transformation with him as he becomes one with the composer bringing out the Bhava in the composition! His elegant and yet simple approach to educate his listeners and appreciate intricate nuances add to his qualities as a fine performer. Sri Santhanagopalan has given critically acclaimed concerts in Vidwath sabhas in the presence of other erudite musicians and has been recognized with several accolades and titles. He is also an excellent speaker known for his wit, timing and sense of humor which make him a very wholesome entertainer and performer.

The Erudite Scholar
The greatness of this born-musician lives beyond the image he portrays. His excellent theoretical depth with extensive research of the best approaches makes him a distinctive musicologist. This multi-faceted musician is also proficient at playing the Veena and percussion instruments with distinct strengths in ‘laya’ exposition. He has given several Veena concerts in India and abroad. Isai Peroli Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan is an A-top graded artiste in both All India Radio and Doordarshan and is the recipient of several laurels, titles, and awards from leading music associations in India and overseas. His several successful projects to enrich, enthuse and enamor rasikas with his music stand testimony to his commitment to spread the message of music. Through his famous programs including SaRiGaMaPa in JAYA TV Neyveli Santhanagopalan has become a household name conquering hearts of his innumerable rasikas and hundreds of students. His innovative projects such as Charangi’s Introducing Ragas through Pallavis have not only inspired budding musicians but also educated rasikas alike. Sri Santhanagopalan is a brilliant Vaggeyakaara (composer). His kritis such as Kamala Malarinai (Hamsadhwani), Nin Pada Bhajaname (Malayamarutham), Enna Solli Vazhthuveno (Dhanyasi) are rich in poetic beauty, ragabhavam and subtle swaraksharas. Among numerous other contributions to the South Indian Music outside of stage performances, Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s compositions for the operatic Ramayana is particularly noteworthy. These compositions were choreographed as a dance drama and staged successfully all over Chennai, India and in Cleveland, USA in 2011. He has tuned and presented a treasurable collection of Tiruppugazh, Thevaram and other literary pieces in tamil.

The Inspiring Guru
His keen focus in balancing music as a classical science and a performing art has impacted students’ musical and personal growth. In time, this impact and the interactive dynamic has blossomed into the Neyveli Gurukulam – a global musical family. In June 2010, Neyveli Gurukulam celebrated Impart 25 in India and in the USA. In Sunnyvale, CA – a 2 day ensemble of NSG Net-Learning students from all over US in appreciation of their Guru’s 25 years of imparting musical knowledge to the world. Guru Neyveli takes pride in grooming teachers who, in turn, can mold students while still upholding the rich heritage. In his words, he views “listening to his grand-students perform” as a “grand old tree enjoying the taste of its own fruits”. The students of two generations created by him, performed during these events; which was an affirmation of his passion for teaching.

The Innovative Educator
With several of his students anxiously bearing the torch he has lit with his passion, unconditional love and staunch learning standards, Sri Santhanagopalan is more than a Guru – he is true friend, philosopher and guide. A living visionary who foresaw how deep-rooted traditional classicism in its pristine form can still be propagated through today’s technology. This takes quite a paradigm-shift which he best described in his recent article titled "e-Guru, Guru, and You-Guru" in The Hindu (Issue: 28th Dec 2010) – a testimony to his adaptability and vision as an self-taught Acharya and Guru for his fond students. Neyveli Santhanagopalan has guided budding and mature musicians through traditional gurukulam training and regular classes. Hundreds of his students worldwide have benefited from his remote lessons over phone and Skype, his e-learning modules from NSG Net Learning Program and his lessons delivered through recordings.

The Eternal Learner
Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan hails from a culturally strong family, and was initiated into music by his mother Smt. Jayalakshmi ammaaL. He had rigorous Gurukulavasa training under the maestro Padmabhooshan Madurai Sri T.N. Seshagopalan. The laurels he has earned as a scholar, a performer and a teacher are unbounded. And yet, all his rasikas identify with him as the the Nirantara Vidhyarthi, the eternal learner who seeks out the best in himself, and in the subject he undertakes.

The Friendly Celebrity
Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan is well-known all over the world. He has represented, influenced and preserved our rich culture in several ways and has touched several hearts all over the world in the process. His endearing personality and humility are unmistakable as he reaches out to everyone who attempts to connect with him – he stays connected with friends of all age-groups and all walks of life. A sincere human who values personal connection!