Carnatic Violinist




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Padma Shri A.Kanyakumari

Kumari Avasarala. Kanyakumari is a top ranking Carnatic violinist, her experience spanning over 50 years, is popular not only as a soloist and as an accompanist but also as an innovator and organizer of Carnatic instrumental ensembles, always retaining the core values of classicism in her creativity. Her music strictly adheres to the traditional form of Carnatic music. The hallmark of her music is her playing style, which closely resembles vocal music. This is justified by the importance she gives to the sahitya, her bowing, the raga delineation, the krithi selection in each concert, her pakka vadya (accompanist’s) selection. Yet, she does have a touch of novelty in her performances even while retaining her traditional touch.


Born in Vijayanagaram, Andhra Pradesh, India, A. Kanyakumari belongs to a family of musicians. Her parents Sri Avasarala Ramarathnam and Smt. Jayalakshmi encouraged her immensely to pursue music. A.Kanyakumari considers herself fortunate to be a sishya (disciple) of three legendary gurus, Sri Ivaturi Vijayeshwar Rao, Sri M. Chandrashekaran, and Dr M.L.Vasanthakumari. She owes her music career to her Adiguru (First guru) Sri Ivaturi Vijayeshwar Rao. But for him, she says, she would never have made this far. Till date she emphasizes the importance of the lessons taught by him to her, to her students.

After moving to Chennai, A. Kanykumari pursued Banchelors in Karnatic Music in Queen Mary’s College, Chennai. It was during this time that she came under the tutelage of Sri M.Chandrashekaran under the Central Government Scholarship.

But the most memorable association of the artist is with her guru Sangeetha Kalanidhi Smt. M. L . Vasanthakumari. A. Kanyakumari has played accompaniment to this wizard of Karnatic Music for nearly 20 years. What started as a mere accident, moved to be a lifelong experience for the artist. M.L.V as she is popularly called has been more than a guru for A. Kanyakumari. The experiences and moments shared by them are innumerable, memorable and still cherished by the artist.

The Kanya Style..

During her proud journey through decades, she has continued to an ever shining diamond in many respects – a soloist, accompanist, and excellent teacher and a great innovator. It is worthwhile to hightlight here that, whilst she strictly adheres to the traditional form of carnatic music she has established here unique style, popularly known as the ‘Kanya Style’. The hallmark of her music is here playing style, which very closely resembles vocal music. It is this style of melodious playing and silken bowing closely resembles vocal music, captivating and melting down any audience. Listening to her sparkling brigas and sangathis, the music critic Mr. Subbudu compared her music to the ever glittering diamond stud in the nose ring of Goddess Kanyakumari. Her extensive experience, spanning more than 4 decades, combined with sharp acumen and fine sense of creativity has earned her a distinct place. She has absorbed the best out of her musical acquaintances and formed her own way of delivering music to the audience. Hence she succeeds in maintaining her originality and novelty in her every performance. Her peculiar bowing, her alapana and swara prasthara and her sangathis can only behold you wonderstruck and are beyond replication.

As an Artist..

A.Kanyakumari is often described as a “scintillating soloist”. Kanyakumari made a solo concert tour of the USA in 1991. She was the first female artist to tour the USA. Besides, she has performed concerts in France, U.K, Mexico, Switzerland, Canada, Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Sri Lanka etc. She is a favorite of the overseas audience.

For a long time, A Kanyakumari was a ‘most sought after accompanist’. She accompanied the legendary vocalist M.L.Vasanthakumari for nearly two decades, besides many other top ranking artistes like Dr. Ramani, Dr. S .Kalyanaraman, O.S. Thyagarajan, Sikkil Sisters, Kadri Gopalnath etc. After establishing herself as a dynamic soloist. She joined Kadri Gopalnath in rallying many musicians to collect a fund of Rs. 6 lacs towards the ‘Kargil Relief Fund’.

As a Teacher..

A teacher affects eternity – one can never tell where his/her influence stops. Such is the impact of A.Kanyakumari in her yet another facet as a teacher. Her ever readiness, dedication, interest to teach and love for her students has made her undoubtedly the most sought after guru. She has students not only for violin, but also for mandolin, veena, guitar and keyboard. She has brought forward excellent violinists who are well known now in the field of Karnatik music. She was a visiting professor in the University of SanFransisco, USA. Many of her students are recipients of the central government scholarship and some of them are winners of the All India Radio Annual competitions. She has been teaching for more than 25 years, developing and shaping up her students.


As a novelty innovator, A Kanyakumari has a strong desire to introduce innovations into the common forms of stage music without compromising on traditional classicism.

  • A unique instrumental ensemble of the violin, nadawaram and veena or flute and percussion instruments- which has performed concerts throughout India and abroad and has been recorded by Music of the World Inc., a US based premier recording company and also by HMV.
  • An innovative programme having 3 violins played simultaneously in 3 different octaves which has been well received by the audience.
  • An ensemble of 100 instruments. Instrumental ensembles- of 25, 50, 75 violins (since 1993) which are the most sought programs by various sabhas. She is the first female violinist to have led and conducted such programs of higher magnitudes
  • She has led and conducted an ensemble of nearly 3800 instrumentalists during the Silver Jubliee celebrations of ‘The Art of Living’ of Sri SriSriRavishankarji.
    The Art of Living
  • Introducing Carnatic music in cricket. It consists of short tunes played on the violin for different aspects of the game. The sounds are very different – Carnatic ragas here and there laced with a western flavor. The music is catchy and captures the spirit of the moment. It has been appreciated by many people like T. M Krishna, Kadri Gopalnath, K.Balachandar, T.V.Shankaranarayanan, Unnikrishnan, etc…
  • She is also the first female violinist to have given a non-stop marathon performance for 29 hours in 1988.
    Violin Marathon
  • She has composed a ragaMalika piece of 108 different ragas.
    108 Ragamalika
  • She has made VCDs with violin lessons which are first of its kind. This album consists of 3 VCDs
    Violin Lessons VCD
  • A unique concert relating the Legendary Musicians and their Music to the Pancha Bhootas.(2012)
  • In 1997, to celebrate 50 years of independence, she created a new rata called “Bhaarath” and dedicated it to the nation.

    Kum. Kanyakumari has created 7 new ragas, each named after one of the 7 holy hills of Tirumala. They are Venkatadri, Vrushabhadri, Garudadri, Narayanadri, Anjanadri, Neeladri and Sheshadri. She has composed a musical piece using these ragas. In addition she has set to tune 7 different Kritis of Annamacharya in each one of these ragas.

    She has also created many individual ragas Gomatha,Trimurthi, Mahalakshmi, Ganga and Godavari. She has composed theme music for the Godavari Pushkaras 2015, a rare Phenomenon which occurs once 144 years and also has released an Audio- Visual DVD, which was done in the presence of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri. N.ChandraBabu Naidu.
    New Ragams


01 Padma Shri from the Government of India (2015)

02 Sangeetha Natak Academy Award from the Government of India (2015)

03 AIR top rank artist

04 Limca Book of Records for the various achievements in music as a versatile woman violinist

05 India Book of Records for scoring BGM for cricket

06 Star of India from Wisom International Magazine

07 TTK award from the Music Academy, Chennai

08 Papa Venkatramaiah award from the Music Academy, Chennai

09 Senior Violinist Award from the Music Academy, Chennai

10 Ugadi Puraskar Award from Madars Telugu Academy.

11 Talented Guru in Guru Sishya series, Hamsadwani, Chennai.

12 Lifetime Achievement Award from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai Kendra

13 VIshwa Kala Puraskar from Vishwakala Sangama

Titles from Sabhas

01 Golden Violin presented Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai

02 Asthana Vidushi of TTD, Udupi, Pejawar Mutt

03 Vayuleena Vidwanmani by His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal

04 Vishwakala Bharathi from Bharat Kalachar, Chennai

05 Honarary Citizenship of the state Maryland US

06 Kalaimamani from Govt. of Tamilnadu

07 Sangeeta Kala Nipuna from Mylapore Fine Arts, Chennai

08 Vani Kala Sudakara from Vani Mahal, Chennai

09 Dhanurveena Vadhini , by music stalwart Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi for Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha

10 Saptagiri Sangeetha Vidwanmani by Sri Thyagaraja Festival committee, Tirupathi.

11 Sangeetha Choodamani Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai.

12 Nada Kalanidhi by Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeethasabha, New Delhi

13 Sangeetha Saraswati by South Indian Cultural Association, Hyderabad.

14 Isai Alwar From the Organisers of Chennaiyil Thiruvaiyaru.

What they say..


Veteran Mridangist, vocalist and composer

"As an accompanist, she has an uncanny ability of expressing the vocalist’s ideas properly. She does not project herself and her concert temperament is very good. Without treading the beaten track, Kanya tries to innovate. She doesn’t hesitate to try out something new. I have a lot of admiration for her."

M. Chandrashekhar

Guru and Violin Vidwan

"Kanyakumari learnt from me from 1969 to 1974. An obedient student, she displayed talent even at that time. I knew she would go a long way and I bless her with success."

U Srinivas

Mandolin Vidwan

"Kanyakumari provides good support without clashing with the main artiste. The mandolin violin combinations good as violin provides continuity to a mandolin concert. Kanyakumari has been playing for me for 10 years, ever since I was a boy. She understands the idea of the main artiste, and can even render a piece on the spot, without notice. She also likes to attempt something new."

Sikkil sisters

Veteran Flautists

"Kanyakumari follows the main artiste like a shadow. She has all the features of an able accompanist. Her laya, shruthi and raga elaborations are good. She has dedicated her life to the cause of Carnatic music. It is her dedication to the art that has kept her in good stead."


Music Director

"What technique she employs while playing! No other person can replicate it even on her violin; May God bless her with abundant opportunities to convey her new creations to the world."


Secretary, Narada Gana Sabha

"Kanyakumari is inspiring and innovative. She experiments with new forms. She presented a 25 violin concert at our sabha. Her vadyalahari is very popular. The combination of violin and nagaswarma has not been thought of before as the latter has a very high pitch. Her style is base on MLV ‘Bani’."

S.P. Balasubramanian

Cine Playback Singer

"What I like in Kanyakumaris' music is the expression with which she renders the songs on the violin. While listening to it, you almost see the lyrics before your eyes."

Leela Samson

Director, Kalashetra Foundation

"When Kanyakumari’s bow touches the violin, Rasa flows out. The songs may be old or new, but her fingers give them a new vibrancy."