Forbes India 30 Under 30 2023

Aathira Krishna: Following Her Own Tune

Aathira Krishna, a child prodigy, realised the violin's potential at 9

Published: Feb 10, 2014 06:43:49 AM IST
Updated: Feb 11, 2014 12:25:13 PM IST
Aathira Krishna: Following Her Own Tune
Aathira Krishna | 25 Carnatic Violinist

She was three when she could identify ragas that resonated in her Thiruvananthapuram home. Granddaughter of musician Gopala Pillai (who belonged to the illustrious Tanjore Tradition of Carnatic Music), Aathira picked up the violin at the age of eight. “My beginnings were with violin as a toy with me trying to imitate the music I heard at home,” she tells Forbes India. “The presence of vocalists in my grandfather and father helped the child in me feel about music like any other kid would feel about his toys.”

This child prodigy debuted as a Carnatic violin soloist when she was only nine, insisting on going solo because she believed the instrument’s full potential wasn’t realised when played as an accompaniment. In a career spanning over 15 years, she’s held more than 1,000 concerts across the world, going on to become one of India’s youngest cultural ambassadors. “The beauty of live performance with all its nuances and troubles is simply unparalleled. Making original music live is a beautiful journey indeed,” she says.

Aathira Krishna: Following Her Own Tune
Accolades have poured in from all corners. Legendary Carnatic vocalist M Balamuralikrishna hailed her the “Violin Queen” and said she “is a born violinist”. She was conferred the National Balashree Honour in 2001. Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan said of her, “In her nimble fingers, Indian classical music will reach greater heights in the years to come.” These can only be sweet music to her young, well-trained ears.

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(This story appears in the 21 February, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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