A Musical Treasurehouse

Sangita Kala Acharya Sri. T. S. Parthasarathy

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Sri. T. S. Parthasarathy, veteran music & dance scholar and erstwhile secretary of the Music Academy passed away on Friday, Oct. 13th at his residence in Chennai. Aged 94, but alert and sprightly to his last days, he was a veritable encyclopedia on matters related to classical music and dance. He was a one-stop source for musicians, dancers and scholars looking for authoritative reference material.

Tiruvallikeni Srinivasan Parthasarathy, popularly known as TSP, was born on Sept. 8th 1913 in Chennai. He was educated at Madras & Calcutta Universities and earned degrees with distinction in Economics, Political Science, History and Sanskrit. After graduating in 1934, he was a journalist in Calcutta with a leading daily before joining the Indian Railways. He retired as the Chief Commercial Superintendent of the Northern Railway after serving the organization for 36 years in various capacities.

Music started as a hobby but soon turned into an all-consuming passion. Even while in School, he learnt Carnatic Music from eminent teachers. He studied in depth the theory of Carnatic Music, Bharatanatyam and allied dance forms, eventually becoming a respected musicologist. He served the Madras Music Academy as its Secretary for 18 years. He was well-versed in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali.

Several honors also came his way such as a fellowship of the Sangeet Natak Academy in 1992, Sangita Kala Acharya title from the Music Academy in 1995 and Emeritus Fellowship from the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India.

Over the years, he compiled hundreds of compositions in different languages from original manuscripts and researched their authenticity, style and content before translating them into different languages. His first work was the translation of Tagore’s seven plays from Bengali to Tamil for the Sahitya Academy. But his magnum opus was the 1967 publication of the complete works of Tyagaraja in Tamil script with meaning. He was also responsible for inscribing the complete works of Tyagaraja on marble slabs at Tiruvaiyaru, the village of the bard. He has authored several books, journals, articles and monographs on music and dance. He was an art critic for the Indian Express and book reviewer for The Hindu as well as accredited guide to several Ph. D. scholars in music and dance.

His hallmarks were his simplicity and the free sharing of his vast knowledge and musical resources with anyone who sought it. He was a father figure to scores of artistes, thus making his demise an irreparable loss to the music and dance community.

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