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Category: Music

Chowdiah Profile

  • Name:
  • Chowdiah
  • Died:
  • January 19, 1967

Chowdiah Biography

Tirumakudalu Chowdiah, popularly known as Chowdiah was a violin maestro from Karnatic who followed Carnatic traditional music. He was awarded the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title by Madras Music Academy in 1957. Noted politician and Kannada actor, Ambareesh is his grandson. Chowdiah Memorial Hall at Bangalore was constructed by government in honour of him. It resembles a violin in shape and structure. Sangeetha Rathna Mysore T. Chowdiah Memorial Award was instituted to honour notable musicians.


Chowdiah was born in Tirumakudal Narsipur village of Mysore. In 1910, he became the disciple of Ganavisharadha Bidaram Krishnappa. Till 1918, he was trained by his guru in gurukul system. In his early years, he played the four-stringed violin and by 1927, he became an accomplished violin artist. When Chowdiah started performing, there was no sound amplification equipment or microphones to replicate the voice. So, Chowdiah launched upon increasing the sound of the violin by adding three more strings such as Tara Shadja - Mandra Shadja, Madhya Panchama - Mandra Panchama and Madhya Shadja Mandra Shadja. After a lot of practices, he performed using 7-string violin. He accompanied his guru Bidaram Krishnappa with his 7 string violin and he had to convince him for using the newly innovated musical instrument.


Chowdiah used to practise a lot and his name and violin looked synchronous in those days. Chowdiah designed the seven-stringed violin to ensure that the accompanist could match the vocalist. He founded the Ayyanar College of music and advanced studies in music at “Shri Prasanna Seetha Rama Mandira to fulfill his guru’s dream of a music school. He has composed nearly 50 compositions in Sanskrit and Kannada including varna, kirthana and thillana. He died in 1967 aged 72. A road in Bangalore is named after him as T. Chowdiah Road.

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Updated: March 19, 2014

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