To attempt the sketching of a part of a great man is an onerous task . To accept to do so of one who was great from the moment of birth is harder still. Such a one was Maharaja Swathi Thirunal of Travancore . He was a truly a born great , lived great and has lift a memory of greatness imprinted on the life of India, especially in the sphere of the Muses.
Maharaja Sri Swathithirunal
Swathi Thirunal lived in an atmosphere of poetry and music . His songs covering all types of compositions , varnams , swarajathis , kritis , padams , thillanas , javalis , ragamalikas , dhruvapads , tappas & khyals are noted for their beauty , sweetness and depth of emotion.
Swathi Thirunal had composed a large number of kritis in madhyamakala and vilambakala , he having being both a vocalist and a vainika . Navarathri keerthanas and navaratna malika keerthanas are pieces composed for specific occations . He had used the mudras ‘Padmanabha’ or ‘Pankajanabha ‘ or ‘sarasijanabha’ or sarasiruhanabha or kanjanabha or jalajanabha . Outside travancore Swathi Thirunal was known as Kulasekharaperumal or KeralaRaja or Malayalakulasekhara Maharaja . His life was short and he passed away on December 25th 1846 at the age of 34.
Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram started in the year of 1939 first named as The Music Academy for giving refresher courses to music teachers of the Travancore state. The primary objective of this venture was to popularize the kritits of Maharaja Sri. Swathi Thirunal. This institution from the date of its inception has produced a lot of talented artists who have contributed much to the realm of Carnatic music.
Earlier, a three-year certificate course in Music - “Gayaka and Gayika” for male and female students respectively was provided in the Institute. In 1961, a committee, which included eminent musicians and music educators like Mrs. Lekshmi Narayanan Nair, Sri. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Dr. Musuri Subrahmanya Iyer and Prof. P. Sambamurthy constituted by the Government of Kerala prepared a comprehensive curriculum and syllabus for the course in this institution. Later “Ganabhooshanam and Ganapraveen”, (four year Diploma course) were introduced. The college was affiliated to the University of Kerala in 1999 and a unique course Bachelor in Performing Arts was initiated.