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In Conversation With O.S.Thyagarajan

Ranjani Saigal

O.S.Thyagarajan is a classicist  who paints in glorious colors the fine shades of raga, krithi and swara in his numerous concerts. He had his earlier training under his father Sangeetha Bhooshanam O.V. Subramanian, Padma Bhushan Lalgudi G. Jayaraman and Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.M. Thyagarajan. An ‘A- Top’ graded artist of the All India Radio and of Doordarshan, he has been giving a large number of concerts well appreciated and relished. The Titles won by him are “Sangeetha Choodamani” (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha), Sangeetha Kala Sagara (Kalasagaram, Hyderabad), “Nada Gana Kala Praveena”, “Sangeetha Samrajya” Madurai, “Nadha Booshanam” Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, and New Delhi. He is regularly featured by all leading sabhas in Chennai as well as throughout India and has toured many countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Middle East, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and many cities in Europe. He worked as Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, and Annamalai University for 5 years. He is the father of Aparna Balaji, a leading vocal teacher in the Boston area. 

How did you decide to make a career as a Carnatic musician? 

Ever since my childhood, my passion for Carnatic music was very natural as my house was always surrounded by music and musicians. My great father Sangeetha Booshanam Sri.O V.Subrahmanyam was a great in teacher in Delhi and all visiting artistes would call on us at our home to meet my father. They would discuss all about music and musicians only. This used to happen very frequently. All these made up my mind to take music as my career. I owe it all to me parents and my gurus. 

What is the secret to your success? 

 The secret of my success was my continued hard work and the self confidence I had developed over the years due to that, which enhanced the quality of my music. This resulted in being blessed  with high quality accompaniments of great artistes like Lalgudi Shri.G.Jayaraman, M.S. Gopalakrishnan , V.V. Subrahmanyam on violin and Palghat Mani Iyer, Palghat Raghu, Karaikudi Mani and Umayalpuram Sivaraman on mridanagm, Shri.G Harishankar on Kanjira, Shri VIkku Vinayakaram on Ghatam and so on,  which translated into success in my concerts.  

What is the most important thing you have learned from accompanists? What makes a good accompanist? 

It is always a team work. Helping the main artiste in sruthi, alapanas, rythmn,support  etc . Such good accompaniments embellish and lift the concert to a greater height. 

In your opinion what is the role of Bhakti in Carnatic music? 

Our carnatic music is mostly bhakthi music. It is full of devotion to the LORD whosoever may the composer be. It is also a complex system of music. 

How did it feel to sit and listen to the Arangetram of your daughter's students?

I was indeed happy to witness my daughter's students' arangetram. It was very well planned, trained, rehearsed and also well executed.I have witnessed many students perform here in USA and Canada as well. They are all well equipped ,talented, and the willingness to learn and perform are the good qualities I have found. I really like listening to such children perform not only here but also in India. USA and Canada have good number of quality teachers. I am sure more hidden talents would come to light soon. We will be able to see another CHENNAI in North America very soon.  

What advice did you give Aparna as she decided to teach Carnatic music ?

My advice to Aparna and other teachers has always been to continue this good service and bring about many talented students to the front. I am sure they will do. My help and co operation will always be available to all such teachers. 

What advice do you have for youngsters in America studying Carnatic music? 

 My sincere advice to all the music students would be to learn our music and become a performing artiste later. That itself would be a great success both by the students as well as the teachers. 
Our music is not  merely an  entertainment, it is also an enlightenment. 

Any special message for our Lokvani readers? 

Am very happy to meet this community through Lokvani. It is heartening to see the services rendered by Lokvani in propagating Indian arts and artists. Best wishes for your continued support to this wonderful community. 


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