Famous saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath died at a private hospital in Mangaluru in Karnataka early on Friday, The Hindu reported. He was 69 and had not been keeping well for some time.
Gopalnath, one of the pioneers of Carnatic music on the saxophone, was born in Sajeepa Mooda village in Dakshina Kannada district in 1949. In an interview to The Hindu earlier this year, he said how at the age of 8, during a visit to Mysuru, he became “fascinated by the sounds emanating from a shiny musical instrument” being played by a musician in the “Mysore Band” patronised by the royal family. A mesmerised Gopalnath went up to the musician and found out that the instrument was called saxophone. There he decided to learn to play the instrument.
Gopalnath received many awards and accolades throughout his career. He was the recipient of the Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award, and the Karnataka Kalashree, reported The News Minute. He played at the Jazz Festival in Prague, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the International Cervantino Festival in Mexico, and the Music Hall Festival in Paris. He received the Padma Shri in 2004, and is among the few Carnatic musicians to have performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.
“He turned a jazz instrument into a Carnatic staple, retaining sensitive roots in a global exploration,” tweeted journalist Madhavan Narayanan. “And worked with AR Rahman in Duet to give us a popular tune. Shraddhanjali to the man who played Anjali, Anjali Pushpanjali.”
Gopalnath is survived by his wife and two sons, one of who is noted music director Manikanth Kadri.