“It is not frequent that a nation discovers a Balamuralikrishna in its history” – these are the words of Swami Chinmayananda
Not everyone among the performing artistes is fortunate enough to become a legend in his or her lifetime, but this rare distinction had come to stay in the case of Dr.M.BALAMURALIKRISHNA, who was rightly regarded as the best exponent of South Indian Classical Music for over six decades. No wonder, a road in Vijayawada has been named after him by the local corporation and he has been honored as Honorary First Citizen of Vijayawada and handed over the Golden Key. A Kalayanamandapam (Marriage Hall) has been constructed in his name at Vishakapatnam. His statue is at the centre of Rajagopuram of Shri Velipuri Durgambika Temple at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. At Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Sabha at Anantapur, an auditorium has been constructed and named as “Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna Auditorium”. He was the fifth generation descendant in the Guru Shishya Parampara (Hierarchy of Disciples) of Saint Composer Shri Thyagaraja. A child prodigy, born to musician parents Smt. Suryakanthamma and Shri Pattabhiramayya, he became a versatile and popular composer by the age of fifteen. At the tender age of sixteen, he composed songs in all the seventy two Melakartha Ragas, considered the very foundation of our music and perhaps all the music on earth.
Dr. Balamuralikrishna was born at Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh and was endowed with the ability of being an accomplished instrumentalist in addition to being a vocalist. He played the Violin, Viola, Ganjira, Veena and the Mridangam with equal ease. He had over 400 compositions to his credit including Varnams, Krithis, Javalis, Devotional Songs and Thillanas. Dr. Balamuralikrishna also did a comparative study of Ragas in film music and classical music and presented the same in Doordarshan. Being the first producer in All India Radio, he was also known for pioneering early morning broadcast called “Bhakthi Ranjani”. He was the first Principal of the Government Music College, Vijayawada besides having sung in various languages including Tamil, Oriya, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and French. He was the state musician of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Ashthana Vidwan of Sringeri Peetam and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam. He was a member of the Expert Advisory Committee at Music Academy and an Executive Committee Member of Kalakshetra Foundation, ICCR and Central Sangeeth Natak Academy.
Dr. Balamuralikrishna’s rich contribution to Indian Classical Music in particular his sustained efforts to resurrect Ragas which were not in vogue like Narthaki, Sunadavinodini etc, and his genius in creating new ragas like Lavangi, Mahati, Manorama, Murali, Omkari, Prathimadhyamavathi, Rohini, Sarvashree, Sumukham, Sushma, Ganapathi, Siddhi, Pushkara Godavari, Mohanagandhi, Kalidasa, Chandrika, Vallabhi, Swarashtram, Mohanangi, Chinmaya, Krishnaveni, Ashwini etc, have shown him to possess an unparalleled intellect . He was also credited with innovating Tala Systems (Rhythms). He was the only South Indian artiste who, on invitation, sang Tagore’s Rabindra Sangeeth in All India Radio to preserve it for posterity.
The magnetic capacity of his voice and music saw crowds pulled towards Jugalbandhis he performed with renowned vocalists and instrumentalists of North Indian Classic Music and helped in bringing about an understanding of National Integration through music.