Violinist and Musicologist
Born in 1938 at Mummidivaram, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma had his initial training from his father late Ashwatthanarayana Murthy and later under P.P. Somayajulu. An ardent admirer and follower of violin virtuoso M.S. Gopalakrishnan, Sharma is one of the few violinists who adapted his inimitable style of playing the violin. His close association with Nedunuri Krishnamurthy opened up new vistas of traditional Carnatic music.
After a short stint as a staff artiste, All India Radio, Hyderabad, he worked for more than three decades as lecturer in violin in various government colleges of music and dance of Andhra Pradesh since 1961. He rendered remarkable service as principal for 12 years and retired in 1996. A strict disciplinarian and a committed teacher, Sharma has produced several good students. His duties as a paper setter, valuator and examiner for examinations held in various universities are commendable.
A top grade violinist of All India Radio, several of his programmes have been broadcast on AIR and Doordarshan. He has had the privilege of participating in the Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan concerts and the National Programme of Music, AIR, which won him wide acclaim. He has also been a graded vocal artiste of AIR, Hyderabad. He has performed extensively across the country in various prestigious sabhas including the Music Academy, Chennai. He has accompanied several eminent artistes of the country. He has several solo programmes to his credit. He has toured the U.K, USA and Canada accompanying Sri Nedunuri Krishnamurthy. He has also toured Singapore as an examiner.
A musicologist of great repute, his contribution to Carnatic music is laudable. An unparalleled exponent and sole authority on talaprastara, Sharma has unravelled the mysteries of prastara, one of the tala dasha pranas. His extensive research spanning over four decades brought to light several latent secrets which he discovered all by himself. He has penned a few books. His first book ‘Talaprastara Sagara’, published in 1985 by the AP Sangeet Academy received the best book (in the fine arts category) from the Telugu University, Hyderabad.
His second book ‘Permutative Genius in Tala (Prastara) in Indian Music’ was the revised version of the first book. After extensive research, he modified and re-published these two books in the names of ‘Talaprastara Ratnakara’ and ‘Indian Genius in Talaprastara’ respectively. He also published “Talaprastara of Nisshanka Sharngadeva’s Sangeeta Rathnakara - A Critical Interpretation”, under the senior fellowship awarded by the Government of India and ‘Systematization of Prastara Details of Deshi Talas’. His books ‘Sangeetha Svararaga Sudha’ in Telugu and English have uniquely dealt with the intricacies of raga alapana and svarakalpana. A perfectionist to the core, he has prescribed several laya exercises which will help students in rendering svarakalpana. He has sung svarakalpana exercises and all the tagas and provided a set of four audio CDs (mp3) along with the books.
His recent publication, ‘Sangeeta Vidyabodhini’ is a compilation of compositions notated and sung by him for the benefit of students appearing for the examinations held by the Government Colleges of Music and Dance (Andhra Pradesh). A set of four mp3 CDs is provided along with this book.
He has extensively toured all the government music colleges in the state for two years conducting lecture-demonstrations and workshops. He has been invited for lec-dems and workshops all over the country by various institutions of music. Currently, Sharma is teaching several students. In addition, he guides students online for the benefit of those inside and outside the country.
Sharma has worked extensively on teaching methods. Having interacted with several students over scores of years, he has evolved his own teaching methodology and has prescribed several lessons. Though unconventional, his teaching methods are novel, innovative and highly effective. He has designed a CD which comprises all the lessons beginning from the basic ‘Laya’ exercises to the Varnas in 481 audio tracks. This mp3 CD also contains definition of gamakas with illustrations. The most significant part is the documentation of the gamakas and, hence, they are provided with symbols and audio clippings which are of great help to aspiring students of music.
Copies can be obtained from:
Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma,
10-283/9/1/1, Vasanthapuri Colony
Phones: 040-27054232, 99088 22992