About the Guru
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Besides being an amiable accompanist,Nandakumar has shown a flair for teaching and training students in a number of music institutions and fine arts sabhas in Mumbai. Not content with just training, he has found a medium for the students to hone their skills and play in unison. TSN’s percussive Arts Centre which is a composite unit drawn from talented teenagers. He trained his students in instruments like mridangam, konnakol, thavil, ghatam, kanjira, and morsing used in playing for ensemble. Under his tutelage, the ensemble has been performing with excellence. Having performed all over Mumbai and in the south of India, he came out with Jewels Of Rhythm album which was a commercial success. It turned to be a ‘prized possessions’ for all aspirants, young and old, learning the arts of percussion.
Nandakumar has been promoting Indian carnatic music both as a teacher and a performer.He had the privilege of performing for various festivals all over the country,besides giving performances for All India Radio and Doordarshan.
He has conducted several musical concerts, lectures cum demonstration and workshops in India as well as abroad like Lamar University of Houston, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and several others to train students and build their rapport with artists by accompanying them.Nandakumar has adapted to the modern world to take in students of any age, and bring them to the performance stage in an ensemble format. In return he achieves intense dedication and exceptional results from pupils who otherwise would not have participated in the traditional teaching model. Most all of his students are graded artists in All India Radio and are full-time professionals in this field. They are also following the new path trail marked by their guru by spreading the knowledge of Carnatic percussion to their own ever growing number of students around the world. Another of his important contributions of major significance to Carnatic percussion music is his willingness to teach older students based outside of India who begin their training with him without any background in Carnatic percussion or Indian culture.
Nandakumar has earned several awards. He received the LifeTime Achievement Award from Shanti Foundation, Chennai for his contributions to the field of Indian classical music. He was honored by the Cleveland Tyagaraja group with the ‘Best Teacher Award’ where M. Balamuralikrishna and Nirupama Rao, Indian Ambassador to the United States was the guest of honor, and the Bharat Ratna M. S. Subbulakshmi Best Teacher Award from the Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai. He was also felicitated and honoured by Shri R. K. Laxman the cartoonist.
Pittsburgh University in America conducts special classes in percussive arts for which they have enlisted Nandakumar. He used to conduct classes in the Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh; Academy of Indian Music, New Jersey; Switzerland and several places in other countries. He also conducted 24 hours non stop Akanda Seva Bhajan with his students in Mumbai for the tsunami-affected victims of India.