It is difficult to encounter such a heady mixture of versatility, creativity and vision, all encapsulated in one man ! In all Dr.T.V.Gopalakrishnan is a cult figure, known simply as dear TVG to one and all! Born at Trippunithura (Kerala, India), in a family of more than 200 years of musical heritage who adorned the courts of Royalties, Trippunithura Viswanathan Gopalkrishnan (TVG) learnt the complexities of this inimitable music from his father, Sri.Viswanatha Bhagavathar, who was himself a great exponent of Carnatic music. Even before the age of five, TVG was initiated to the great tradition and heritage -“parampara”,handed down by Coimbatore Raghava Iyer, Mahavaidyanatha Iyer, Chakrathanam Subba Iyer (great grandfather of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar) and Palghat Anantharama Bhagavathar.
His Uncle Sri.Narayanaswamy Iyer taught him Mridangam too. He was a little Maestro even at the age of Six when he gave his maiden concert before the Last Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow. Gifted with a mellow, bass voice capable of an envious panoramic range, TVG has trained it with infinite patience, practice, and research oriented originality. He has successfully moulded his voice into an enchanting medium, which weaves a magic spell of sonic beauty. With complete discipline, concentration, natural aplomb, he maintains the purity of Carnatic and Hindustani renditions and an uncompromising adherence to the traditions to both. Utilizing an analytical and research oriented approach, coupled with his musical sensitivity and ingenuity, TVG has evolved a unique style in Hindustani music, emphasizing the Sahitya Bhava, Raga Bhava and Rasa Bhava with precise elaboration of the Boltans and Sargam (swara prastharas)-which is now better known as Madras Gharana.
Dr.T.V.Gopalakrishnan was born in Tripunithura, a small picturesque town in Kerala, South India and the capital of the erstwhile Cochin state. He is the 5th generation of a musical lineage spanning more than 200 years, with eminent stalwarts such as Muthuswamy Bhagavathar, Ramaswamy Bhagavathar, Gopalakrishna Bhagavthar and TVG’s father Viswantha Bhagavathar. They adorned the Royal court of Cochin. This inspirational musical environment drew the young TVG into the realm of performance by the tender age of five. His Grandmother Thaiylambal took a keen interest in his musical development till his teens. His mother Meenakshi Ammal, herself a singer, also played a part in chiseling his musical journey. His Uncle Sri.T.G.Narayanaswamy Iyer was his mridangam guru. TVG was already little Maestro at the age of six when he gave his maiden concert before the Last Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow.
His grandmother Thaiyalambal was the grand daughter of Haripad Raghava Bhagavathar who was later known as Coimbatore Raghava iyer and who is credited with today’s public kutcheri format. This represents TVG’s second musical heritage. TVG’s Guru Chembai, represents his 3rd and most vital heritage. Chembai was the grandson of Chakrathanam Subbaiyer, (Guru of Shatkala Govindamarar and contemporary of Saint.Tyagaraja). Guru Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavthar, is the evergreen hero of Carnatic music, having made it accessible to the masses through innumerable multi-lingual gramophone records. He became nationally known when he was barely 20 years old, on being honoured by Sivananda in Rishikesh with the title Sangeeta Samrat.