Seven-Stringed Beauty

There are monuments dedicated to artists that have been constructed to maintain their symbol and grip over the mind of the people. Fans go a long way where a museum for Hitler was created by a German soldier. This being said, the Taj Mahal also built for Mumtaz begum by Shahjahan to idolize their love.

If this seems old and faded out, here is a tale about Mr. K.K. Murthy, a former chairman of BDA, who constructed a concert hall that was shaped in a form of a violin in respect of the great violinist Mysore T. Chowdiah. Yes, you read that right, a full violin shaped building to commemorate the memory of his favorite violin artist and to immortalize it. Let’s have a quick peek in the Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore:

Seven-Stringed Beauty

The Idea behind such Extravaganza

The idea for such an ordeal struck Mr. Murthy when he was strolling out for his daily morning walk and rekindling his memoirs of the previous evening of the Ramanavmi music festival. The festival had run overnight and Mr. Murthy wasn’t complaining. Reminiscing the memoirs, a worry troubled him that after giving so much for the audience, what were the artists receiving? An avid lover of violin and son of a music connoisseur, he was always in awe of Chowdiah. This is when he decided that of building a hall that would stand out as a monument for music and arts. Violin shaped hall was, undoubtedly, his choice.

Planning and Plotting for this Maneuver

The majestic idea of building a violin shaped hall was laughed out on by the public initially. The place of choice was a difficult task since it was supposed to stand out as a symbol rather than a music hall. Hence, the low area, Gayatri Park area was shortlisted so that the building was visible readily from an elevated area. With residential area sprawling up, the place was not cheap to be bought, but the city corporation approved an amazing 99-year lease.

Next important thing was money, monetary problems often caused Mr. Murthy to rethink his vision, but he was adamant. He raised public donations and called out for help to the masses. The musical family reacted from donations ranging Rs.50 to Rs.500, a good amount at that time. Even though this was a measurable amount, they always ran dry for money. Loans from artists and good Samaritans helped to see this monument in the current state.

Tantrums of the Monument

This 1011 seat hall hosts amazing acoustics, which are upgraded with crossovers, graphical equalizers, echo units and modern mixing machines. Every possible precaution for creating the best music is being made so that the audiences get the worth of the money. A sprawling 500 vehicle parking has been lately purchased after the overwhelming audience capacity, hence allowing having them enjoy the musical extravaganza with no irritating thoughts.

Present Magnificence

The Chowdiah Memorial Hall now stands tall as the only building to be constructed in shape of any instrument dedicated to any artist. The hall since the last 35 years has been used for various tests including Carnatic, Hindustani concerts, jazz, ballets, fashion shows, Ghazals to name a few.

Very few artists claim to not be associated with this platform. D.K. Pattammal (Carnatic musician), M.L. Vasanthakumari (Carnatic musician), Semmangudi SrinivasaIyer (Carnatic vocalist), Ustad Amzad Ali Khan (Sarod maestro), Dr. L. Subramanian (violinist, composer) are amongst the musicians, who have been awarded the national award in this hall.

Author’s bio: A music maniac, author also is a part-time blogger on Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore. He is keenly interested in music and follows every knowhow about music in the city.