Margazhi season and Music Academy

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 09:22 hrs

Madras Music Academy, one of the early music academies in Chennai, plays an important role in encouraging and promoting the Carnatic Music. Its history dates back to 1927.

In 1927, Indian National Congress held the All India Music Conference in Madras. At the end of the conference it was decided that an organisation be formed that helped the cause of music. The prime reason for this conference was E Krishna Iyer who had played a vital role in reviving the south Indian dance art form - Bharatanatyam.

Madras Music Festival

Lovers of music and other well wishers wanted to stimulate interest in Carnatic music in the South and develop a rich culture. The academy had sound planning from the start with an expert committee consisting of some of the leading musicians and scholars to advise the academy on all technical matters.

The Academy was formally inaugurated on the August 18, 1928 by C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, in the Y.M.I.A. Auditorium before a large and distinguished gathering.

Since then the academy has endeavoured to provide various avenues to further the advancement of the science and art of Indian music.

Annual music conferences are held every December to collect all information regarding music, maintain the library and publish a journal. They also help to bring to public notice aspiring musicians and scholars by conducting competitions and other presentations.

For a decade, E.Krishna Iyer worked as the Secretary of the Madras Music Academy.

The first Music Festival was held in December, 1927 which is before the inauguration of the Music Academy. Since then, it had become a part of the Madras Music Academy's Activities to conduct several expositions and concerts on Carnatic Music every December. This later came to be popularly known as the Margazhi Season or is even referred to as the Music Season amongst Carnatic enthusiasts. This soon became the norm for all sabhas in Madras to conduct several concerts each day during the season.

There were several sabhas before the formation of the Music Academy like the Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Mylapore which was formed as early as 1900. However, it was the Madras Music Academy that set the trend of conducting the music festival during December.

During the first few years, the Academy conducted its activities provisionally in George Town and later moved to Mylapore. In 1955, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the music academy building that exists today on TTK Road in Mylapore.

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