IT is a novel university founded for THE pursuit of music, fine arts, sculpture and even sound engineering. The Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University is located in the historical Brodie’s Castle on the banks of the Adyar river in Chennai.
Its Vice-Chancellor, “Veena” E. Gayathri, calls it “an infant university”, for it was established only a year ago. But it is quickly learning how to walk. It has already started several postgraduate (M.A.) courses. The response for admission to these postgraduate courses in vocal music, veena, violin, flute, nadaswaram, mridangam, thavil and Bharathanatyam is “indeed good,” she says.
The university also offers a postgraduate diploma course in digital photography and visual communication. The course is open to graduates or anyone with a total of 15 years of education.
Gayathri praised Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for having had the vision to start an exclusive university to popularise and promote Indian music, performing arts and fine arts, especially those practised in Tamil Nadu.
What is significant about the university’s academic programmes is that “students have a variety of options” in choosing their subjects, says Gayathri. For instance, a student of M.A. in Music (vocal) has the option to study sound engineering, visual communication, etc. “They have interesting choices,” she says. “The Carnatic music scene is changing. It requires proficiency in sound engineering, videography, communication skills, and so on,” the Vice-Chancellor says, explaining why a variety of options are given.
Four music colleges, three fine arts colleges and a college of architecture and sculpture are affiliated to Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University. They are: the Music Colleges in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruvaiyaru, all run by the State government; the privately run Kalai Kaveri College of Fine Arts in Tiruchi; the Government Colleges of Fine Arts in Chennai and Kumbakonam; and the Government College for Architecture and Sculpture in Mamallapuram.
The Government Fine Arts College in Chennai not only teaches fine arts but offers courses in ceramics, textiles and visual communication. The university will also offer postgraduate diploma or certificate courses in digital photography, sound engineering, multimedia, two-dimensional animation and three-dimensional animation.
About her priority areas, Gayathri, an accomplished veena player who was a child prodigy, says, “I want to showcase the richness of our traditional music. I want to introduce folk arts as a course in the university.”
“The Chief Minister has allotted us 12.70 hectares of land at Sholinganallur. We will move to a spacious campus there,” says Gayathri.