Posted by: Satheesh Kumar Muthu | February 11, 2009

Dr. Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan-A Legendary violinist


Vaidyanathan played a key role in transforming the violin from a supporting instrument in Carnatic music to solo instrument.

One of his foremost desires was to make the violin, which is a support instrument (Pakka Vadyam), into a solo instrument (Pakkaa vadyam). He decided in 1967 that he would not play sideman to others but give only solo recitals. He wanted to get the violin a status of its own. His close friends and other vidwans opposed his views and discouraged him saying that what he was trying to do was a fruitless experiment and that it would not succeed. This aroused a feeling of challenge within him.

In time, he evolved a distinct style of his own in playing the violin, which was both simple and melodious and which won him the support of the general public. He also introduced some innovations.

The unique combination of Kunnakudi and Thavil Chakravarti Valayapatti A.R. Subramaniam, although it initially faced much opposition, was a grand success. Between 1974 and 1985, their tandem concerts numbered over 3000.

Vaidyanathan introduced some changes in the way bothe Carnatic, as well as light music, is presented on the violin. He simplified the rendering of sampradaya kritis to suit the desires and tastes of his audience. He also played popular film songs which won the full appreciation of the audience.

Reaching the masses and catering to them has been his consistent goal and strategy. By reaching out to people all over India without regard to caste, creed or religion, Vaidyanathan, through his music, has contributed to National Integration.

Unlike most Carnatic musicians, Vaidyanathan has reached out to the people in the rural areas as well they constitute, as it were, his special constituency. He has always sought to give them the happiness that can be derived from music and to make them appreciate the nuances of music. He has often playfully said that he is doing rural development through music.

Vaidyanathan has performed not only in India but also Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and other foreign countries where he has captured the hearts of listeners and made them his fans.






Over the years, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan has won more than 200 awards and titles – for his virtuosity in playing the violin, for his creative interpretations of thematic and devotional subjects, for the music composed/directed by him for films, etc.

1) “Padmashri” – 2005 – Government of India.

2)Bharata Violin Vadya Bhyaskara, given by kunnakudi Vaidyanathan’s spiritual guru, Pudukotai Sadguru Sree Santananda Swamigal of Bhuvaneswari Peetham.

3) Deiviga Isai Tendral

4) Innisai Vendar

5) Isai Chakravarti, awarded by the Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan Rasika Anbu Kuzhu, Madurai.

6) Isai Perarignar, awarded by the Tamil Isai Sangam, Madras.

7)Kalaimamani, awarded by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram.

8)Nada Brahmam, awarded by the Narada Gana Sabha, Madras.

9)Pannisai Arasu, awarded by the Tamizh Isai Sangam, Tiruvaiyaru.

10)Sangeeta Ratna, the Mysore Chowdiah memorial award given by the Academy of Music, Bangalore.

11)Sangeeta Sagaram, awarded by the Cultural Centre for Performing Arts, Madras. Along with the title, Vaidyanathan received a silver Violin.

12)Tantrinadamani, awarded by the Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

13)Varuna Mazhai Vaidyanathan, awarded in Salem in recognition of his feat demonstrating that music has the power of controlling nature.

14)Villisai Vendan, awarded by the Nellai Rasanandam Nalvazhi Nilayam, Madras.

15)Violin Chakravarti, awarded by the Cholavandan Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan Rasikar Anbu Kuzhu.

16)Violin Everest, awarded by the organisers of the Thiruvarur Kakithakara Street Mariamman Festival.

17)Violin Kalaratna, awarded by the Tiruppavai- Tiruvembavai Music School, Madurai, during its anniversary celebrations.

18)Violin Samrat, awarded by the Delhi Karnataka Sangeeta Sabha.

19)Yezhisai Chakravarti, awarded by the Priya Cultural Academy, Madras.

20)Yezhisai Enthal, awarded by the Sree Krishna Chaitanya Math near Nagercoil. This was the very first title awarded to Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan.

21)State Artiste(1984-1987). Appointed by the Tamil Nadu Government.

22)Violin Isai Chakravarti, awarded by the Federation of Sabhas in 1992. Vaidyanathan was presented with a gold violin, made of 25 sovereigns of gold, to mark his silver jubliee year as a soloviolinist.

23)Yeshisai Selvan

24)Asthana Vidwan, Kanchi Kamakoti Math.

25)Asthana Vidwan, Sringeri Math.

26)Asthana Vidwan, Tiruvavaduturai Adheenam.

27)Asthana Vidwan, Darmapuram Adheenam.

28)Asthana Vidwan, Kunnakudi Adheenam.

29)Doctorate from Annamalai University.

30)Asthana Vidwan, Sri Raghavendra Swami Math, Manthralayam.



  1. hey do u have his recordings , or atleast can u put up some links …thanks a lot

  2. Sorry,I don’t have his recordings at this moment.And there’s is a website in his name.Check it out.

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