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Vice Chancellor: University will have unique approach towards music

Published Nov 22, 2013, 2:31 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 7:40 pm IST
Veena E. Gayathri, Vice Chancellor of Tamilnadu Music and Fine Arts University speaks about music and much more.
Veena E. Gayathri
 Veena E. Gayathri
ChennaiEminent veena player Veena E. Gayathri, who made a mark in the field of music right from her childhood and carved a niche for herself with her performances,  has been made VC of TN Music and Fine Arts University. She shared her thoughts with DC.
Q How do you feel on being appointed as the first VC of music and fine arts university? Any thoughts on your gurus and parents at this juncture?
I feel overwhelmed that I am the first Vice Chancellor of Tamilnadu Music and Fine Arts University.  I entirely owe it to our honourable chief minister Puratchi Thalaivi Amma who is an exemplary artiste herself for appointing me as the first vice chancellor of Tamilnadu Music and Fine Arts University. She has created history by forming this university, a first of its kind in the state.
First and foremost, I remember my beloved father and guru, late Sri. G.Aswathama (film music director) who used to wake me up at 4 am when I was 5 years old. He used to make me practise my veena and taught me how to emote through veena. He made me understand that veena is all about feeling and emotions and technique can became a live wire medium only through emotive rendering of the instrument.
My mother and guru, Smt Kamala Aswathama (veena vidushi) took efforts in not only teaching me many number of  krithis, but also carried my veena to all my concerts, innumerable tours, changed veena strings, maintained and handled the instrument, cooked for me and cared for me. She was God’s boon to me.
It is because of my gurus and parents that I have tasted success.
I also owe immensely to my guru from 1987, Sangeetha Kalanidhi, late Sri T.M.Thyagarajan, who opened my eyes to a world of treasure which is the essence of Carnatic music. Above all I believe it is the grace of God that I am here today.
Q What are your plans for this first of its kind university which will handle both music and fine arts? 
The university is a new born baby. While I go through the required procedures to set the ball rolling towards the functioning of the university, I have plans of bringing to the forefront traditional forms of South Indian music, dance and fine arts, and even Nattupura Kalaigal (traditional folk arts).
 Gradually as things progress I would like to introduce other modern features like distance and online education and set up a publication department to publish works related to music and fine arts. 
I would like to establish high-tech studio with audio/video recording, plus photography facilities to record and shoot music, fine arts. Also provide live performances, concerts, seminars, workshops, conferences and training programmes with a view to promote awareness and knowledge about the messages embedded in ancient music and performing art traditions.
And also I want to establish directorates for supportive education leading to all music, fine arts and performing arts. Even music therapy is on the cards, not to mention popularising music and experimenting with music. The list is endless.....
Q Do you have any proposal to organise special sessions during this Margazhi season? 
The university will have a different and unique approach in showcasing music, dance and fine arts.
Q As an eminent veena artiste, what are your thoughts on veena concerts of these days? Do you think veena artistes get due recognition at music festivals?
The number of veena concerts should increase, if in a series there are 13 concerts, 12 are vocal and 1 (in many cases none) veena concert. The ratio could be 8:5 at least.
I wish to see more number of veena artistes frequently on the scene, as many as vocal artistes. Veena artistes getting their due depends on individual capacity to attract through their style of veena playing.
Q Do you think younger generation of musicians are doing their best? 
This is the age of speed and youngsters are brilliant. Due to easy popularity through fast media, reality shows and television, there is a danger of overconfidence and shallowness born out of a sense of complacency. Otherwise they are brilliant lot and nothing can stop them!!
Location: Tamil Nadu