MADRAS STRING QUARTET

THE QUARTET

Violinists V.S. Narasimhan and Hemanthraj Muliyil, Cellist V.R. Sekar and violist B. J. Chandran perform their original musical form (which integrates Indian Classical and Western Classical music) to worldwide audiences. In addition, the musicians often take part in recordings for major motion pictures as well as immerse themselves in solo projects.

During the 80’s, Madras had two groups which performed western music regularly. One was the Madras Philharmonic and Choral Society Orchestra (MPCS) and the other The Madras Chamber Orchestra (MCO). The MCO was very active with V.S.Narasimhan as its leader and performed regularly until (1985) when problems with the film industry reduced the group’s activity. It was at this point when V.S. Narasimhan, Sekar, Chandran and later Hemanthraj Muliyil started coming together to explore various quartet repertoire.

Although the group’s members are in high demand for motion picture recordings and have recorded projects for legends ranging from Illayaraja and AR Rahman to George Harrison of the Beatles, they have been shifting paths over the course of the past decade having discovered a new, unique quartet voice – a voice that serves to connect the Western quartet form with their Indian music backgrounds.

Their sound—composed of traditional Indian Classical pieces, which are imbued with an enduring blend of Western harmonies, counterpoint, and pulsating rhythmic structures—reflects a startlingly natural sound as though this music style has always been in existence. It is a sound which quartet leader VS Narasimhan—who is so uniquely equipped to create this innovative new musical voice because of his ability to play, perform, and compose in both Western classical and in Indian classical music styles—kept hearing in his head before he put the notes on paper.

Ultimately, their sound is possible due to each member’s versatility, improvisational skill, and ability to fully internalize and embrace elements of Western and Indian classical music.