The Season, 75 Years ago

The Music Season of 1933 saw two organisations conduct music conferences in parallel. This was a first, the forerunner of today’s situation when over 200 sabha-s vie with one another for the same number of rasika-s. The Music Academy, Madras, which had kick-started the season in 1927, was holding its conference at its usual venue – a pandal in People’s Park behind the Ripon Building. The conference that year was declared open by Sir C.V. Raman. The President of the conference was K. Ponniah Pillai, descendant of the famous Tanjavur Quartet (Chinnayya, Ponnayya, Sivanandam and Vadivelu). He was then working at the Annamalai University in the Music Department. His selection sent out two signals: first, that the Music Academy was serious about its intention to restore south Indian classical dance to its rightful place in society. Ponniah Pillai was after all from a family known for its strong dance connections. Second, the Academy was quite open-minded about the growing demand for Tamil songs to be given importance on the concert platform. Here again, the choice of Ponniah Pillai was apt, for his ancestors were also noted Tamil composers.